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Old 08-18-2013, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Pumpkin - can vs fresh

I am going to attempt my first pumpkin beer and I need some advice. In you experience, what is better: canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin. I am leaning towards getting fresh pumpkin and roasting it myself, then puréeing it. Please provide some feedback.

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Old 08-18-2013, 04:36 PM   #2
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The only drawback that I've seen to using fresh is that I want to start drinking pumpkin beer around the same time that local pumpkins are ripe -> October. That's why I use canned.

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Old 08-18-2013, 04:49 PM   #3
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It really depends.on how much work you want to do for the beer. I just made a pumpkin beer yesterday using six 29oz cans. I used to buy fresh but I doubt the difference is noticeable especially in a stout. Last time I did it with fresh it was a multiday process so I wasn't all rushed on brew day. I do suggest using whole/crab ked or coarsely ground spices though. I use whole cinnamon sticks and some fresh ground nutmeg in a metal tea ball. The spicing is there but its not in your face like so many pumpkin beers.


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Old 08-18-2013, 04:53 PM   #4
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I've used canned twice now. The first time I just went right from the can into the mash. Clogged the crap out of my mash tun. What a mess and the beer sucked.

Second time I poured the canned pumpkin onto a baking tray and baked it first then put it into the mash. Beer turned out awesome and didn't clog either.

Not sure if the clogging thing is related to the baking or not, I kind of doubt it, but i thought the beer was better because of it.

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Old 08-18-2013, 05:51 PM   #5
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I am currently finishing off the first 'pumpkin' ale I have ever attempted. I used 3.5# butternut squash in a 6.5 g batch (that I grew last year- I still have some- I can't believe it kept) that I cut into 2" cubes and roasted at 350 for an hour and a half (cooked down to 3#) It is quite delicious, unspiced and I used a brown/ robust porter malt bill. The pumpkin flavor is very prominent from start to finish and is quite aromatic. You could use half the amount that I did and still get significant pumpkin flavor.

I just stirred the cubes in on top of the mash and used .5# rice hulls- I doubt it was really necessary.

I am biased toward dark ale but I do feel that the amount of sweetness that the pumpkin/ squash lends to the beer can be balanced by darker malts or mashing low, dry because the body will still be there- too much lighter crystal malt (< 60L) will likely be cloying.

It's worth noting that most canned pumpkin is actually hubbard squash. IMHO the winter squash all taste similar with varying degrees of sweetness/ fruitiness and orange pumpkins are bland compared hubbards and buttercup (my fav.) I think it would be interesting to try 1# butternut and 1# acorn (closer to pumpkin) to mix the flavor characteristics just like we do with all of our other ingredients.

Also worth noting: squash is high in magnesium so you can forego yeast nutrient unless you want a metallic twang. I think.


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