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Old 05-24-2009, 07:35 PM   #1
sneakypete
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Default oktoberfest style ale question

I know, I know, it's not an oktober fest if it's an ale. I am trying to come up with ideas for my fall brews this year, and am wondering if there is an oktoberfest with slight pumpkin flavor to it? If so, I was wondering if I should go with an oktoberfest style ale if I was to add pumpkin since ales are a little more forgiving flavorwise and more flaws can be hidden (since I'm still a rookie brewer).

Any help would sure be appreciated.

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Old 05-24-2009, 07:59 PM   #2
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For an O'fest Ale I would look to make a malty amber ale then spice it in the secondary.

I find that most pumpkin spice recipes recommend too much spice. I'd cut back by 1/3 or so and give it time to meld before tasting. If you think it needs more you can always add it.

If you overspice you can blend it with almost any other beer out there to thin out the flavor a bit without thinning out the brew.

Correcting overspicing can also get you some good results. You can split the batch in half and blend one half with a lighter brew (pale ale) and the other half with a stout. Go lightly on the stouts as the roasted grain may overtake the flavor of the spices. I would probably mix the 1/2 batch with about 1 pitcher of the other beer to blend in. For stouts I'd recommend closer to 1 pint to start.

I've made Pumpkin brews in the past and while they were tasty, I'll never make another (at least that's what I keep telling myself)...

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Old 05-24-2009, 08:38 PM   #3
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I say go for it. I'm planning on making a pumpkin brew based on an oktoberfest-style beer later this year too. What I would do is go with a basic oktoberfest grist (pils, vienna, and munich malt) with maybe a touch of melanoidin malt for some good orange color. Then do a decoction mash that includes the baked pumpkin flesh. I feel like the advantages to this method are twofold. First, you are boiling the pumpkin with the grain to extract as much pumpkin flavor as possible. Second, the vorlauf should effectively filter out all pumpkin goo so that you can have a clean boil and easy transfer to carboy. I've heard horror stories about all the trub pumpkin added to the boil creates. I would also spice very very subtly. The rich malt flavors in an oktoberfest should blend really well with the pumpkin, and the spices should just be a very faint layer in the background. If the spices dominate, the mild pumpkin flavor will be covered.

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Old 05-24-2009, 09:58 PM   #4
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Which part of the pumpkin do I add for the flavor. Do I use the stuff just on the inside of the peeling, or do I use the stringy stuff and the seeds?

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Old 05-24-2009, 10:07 PM   #5
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Just the stuff on the inside of the rind, not the stringy stuff or seeds. Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom, scoop out all the stringy stuff and seeds, then lay the cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about an hour. Allow to cool, then you can scoop the flesh right off the rind. Or you could buy the canned stuff.

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Old 05-26-2009, 06:41 AM   #6
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Here is what I have come up with for a recipe. Any critiques out there would sure be appreciated.

malts
3 lbs. Alexanders Amber Extract
3 lbs. Extra Light Dry Extract
1 lb. crystal 80L
8 oz. munich malt
8 oz. german 2-row pils

hops
60 min. 1.5 oz hallertau
30 min. 1.0 oz tettnanger
5 min. .5 oz saaz

other
pumpkin (steep for 30 min?)
irish moss in boil with 2 min. left

White Labs - German Kolsch

I ran it through the beercalculus thing and here is some info. it came up with
OG 1.056 (1.050 to 1.058)
FG 1.017(1.015 to 1.019)
13 SRM COPPER TO RED/LT BROWN
22 IBU
5.2 ABV
4.0 ABW
CLOSE TO THE MALTY SWEET SIDE ON THE FLAVOR GRADIENT

Does this look good to you? Also if I used canned pumpkin, do I cook that before I put it in the mash (or steep), or do I just dump it in?
Also should I use a secondary on this probably, and how long do you think this will need to be in the primary and secondary?

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Old 05-26-2009, 12:42 PM   #7
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You need to spoon it out of the can onto a cookie sheet and bake it.

You know some pumpkin beers don't even have pumpkin in them.

I've tried it both ways and I have to tell you that IMO "without" is better.

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Old 05-26-2009, 06:31 PM   #8
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any critiquers of the recipe out there?

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Old 05-27-2009, 01:17 AM   #9
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The canned pumpkin sound like it might work, and I would definitely secondary as you will probably have more trub. I would be careful on how much pumpkin you use, and that I have no answer for how much

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Old 05-27-2009, 05:40 AM   #10
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I was thinking about putting in 1 small can of pumpkin. If they have small or regular sized cans of it. How does the malt list look?

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