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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Pumpkin Ale advice
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:17 PM   #1
crushnbugs
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Default Pumpkin Ale advice

I just purchased a "Smashing Pumpkin Ale" kit from Northern and this is going to be my first attempt at adding an actual vegetable to my brew for flavor.

I'm curios for any tips and or tricks you may have learned through trial and error. My goal is to NOT make any errors.

I also purchased 3 pounds of 6 Row to add to the pumpkin mash. Have any of you tried roasting a 10 pound pumpkin or am I better off going with canned? I would much rather go with the real thing even though its a little more work.

Northern added 1 tsp of pumpkin spice into the recipe and after reading the reviews I think I would like to add more spices to my recipe. Does anyone have any thoughts on that or past experiences you may have had?

Im planning on brewing at the end of August for a 6 week turnaround as the directions suggest. Is there any thoughts on the timing?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 07-21-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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Hi I have done it before but I have found with experience that the pumpkin does not impart much flavor if at all. The spices you add are what give the flavor. If you are making a 5 gallon batch 10lbs seems like a lot. Either way, rather if you go canned or real make sure you use LOTS of rice hulls to prevent a stuck sparge; the pumpkin will gum up your tun with some seriousness! Roasting the pumpkin in the oven is absolutely essential to help in caramelizing the sugars.

If you go canned, this is exactly what you need: http://www.verybestbaking.com/Libbys...mpkin29oz.aspx

Any other specific questions I'd be happy to help....

Cheers!

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Old 07-21-2012, 04:49 PM   #3
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I've done it both ways, but the can just seems to be easier. A lot of people talk about getting a stuck sparge when they do a pumpkin beer, but my fix is to put the pumpkin into a five gallon paint strainer bag and then basically steep the pumpkin in my strike water as it heats up. You still get the color and flavor and aroma from the pumpkin without near as much of a mess. As for doing a whole pumpkin, cut it up into chunks, add a little water to your pan and let it roast at 400 for about 45 minutes, or until you can stick a fork through it. Then scrape all the pumpkin off, and smash it all together. Put it back on a cookie sheet, and roast at 400 for another 45 minutes to an hour to get some caramelization going on there.

As for the spice, I added one tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice to mine and after 1.5 months in the bottle it was honestly the best pumpkin beer I've ever had.

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Old 07-21-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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Brewmaster12, thanks for the great info. Would you be willing to share your recipe using canned pumpkin? Thanks!

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Old 07-21-2012, 05:24 PM   #5
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I just throw the pumpkin into the boil, you end up with alot more trub but its better then a stuck mash which i have dealt with twice, it a PITA!

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Old 07-21-2012, 06:14 PM   #6
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A friend of mine made an imperial pumpkin ale and used a pound of pumpkin per pint in the recipe. The beer was phenomenal. The pumpkin has to be mashed for the same reasons your grains do if you want it to contribute to body and mouthfeel. I'm actually brewing myself a pumpkin in about a week to have ready for September. Don't forget the rice hulls!!

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Old 07-21-2012, 07:05 PM   #7
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Just don't overdo the spices. If you are thinking about adding more than what the recipe calls for wait until it's finished fermenting or when transferring to secondary. You can add more then after tasting it.

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Old 07-21-2012, 09:39 PM   #8
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I like to use half to mash and half of it in the boil.It makes it a little easier both ways of straining.It still is kinda messy.Roast your own sugar pumpkin if you can get one.Ive only used canned ,ive used spiced cannned once it has Pumpkin spice/sugar only in it but didnt have other junk in it-account for the sugar for gravity. Prepare for some volume loss also because of all the trub and settleing.
My experience is the more you use the more veg/pumpkin flavor you get,then spice how you want but watch out for overdoing the spices.

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Old 07-22-2012, 01:53 AM   #9
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Thank you all for the words of wisdom and advice. I will take it all into account as I prepare to make this one. Im still trying to find a sugar pumpkin this time of year is becoming quite difficult. Canned may be my only option right now unless I used another gourd type of pumpkin.

I am making a 5 gallon kit and letting it ferment in a 6 gallon fermenter taking into account for the addition of the pumpkin.

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Old 07-22-2012, 02:21 AM   #10
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I think 1 16 oz can per gallon is a good start for canned 100% pumpkin. As far as spices well youll have to skim through recipes or have a recipe or get advice. Because spices can get out of hand. Perfect time to make a pumpkin too,i think they age well best for 3+ months.Depending,i guess. Fun beer to make its pretty versatile as far as style too. Cheers!

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