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Old 09-13-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
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Default Pumpkin Ale without the pumpkin?

Been trolling my local grocery stores trying to find pumpkin for the pumpkin ale I am really wanting to brew today (I know I am going to want to brew another batch this season). No pumpkin anywhere. I know, I know, its still early in the season for pumpkin pies, but I wanna brew gad-durndit!

Went into myLHBS (in 7 corners for those in the Alexandria VA area) and asked if they knew where I might find some. He tells me that pumpkin does not contribute much to the beer and that the spices are all that matter. In other words that all they contribute is a 'vegetable' flavor and that I should just skip the pumpkin. In my opinion that sounds like it would go against the fact that it is a PUMPKIN ale. Thoughts? Should I hold off for some pumpkin and then do a double batch, or just skip it and give it a try? To take his advice or not? I trust you all to help me keep it a decent beer.

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Old 09-13-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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Can you get sweet potatoes? Bake some of those up and add to mash and they will do just the same thing as far as flavor and startches (maybe mouthfeel and slight flavor). With spices, baked sweet potatoes look and taste just like pumpkin pie. Most of the flavor comes from the spices anyway, but I feel like you gotta put some vegtable in there. This year I cut back to one can of Libby's (about 2#'s) for my 6 gallon batch, just to have it in there, baked it at 300 for about 40 mins, and the batch smells great.

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Old 09-13-2011, 06:21 PM   #3
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I use sweet potatoes in mine, and I can get pumpkin.

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Old 09-13-2011, 06:36 PM   #4
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I ran into the same problem a few weeks ago. I went to all four grocery store chains in my area, and no pumpkin. I dropped by my local whole foods store and they had pumpkin galore, althrough it was organic pumpkin at a premium price. I paid $2.99 for each 15 oz can, recipe called for 56 oz, I threw in 60 oz, $12.00 for the pumpkin.

I know there are a lot of whole foods stores in the DC area, so try there.

As far as the flavor, pick up a small container of pumpkin pie spice in the spice section of the grocery store. About 2-3 table spoons in the last 10 minutes of the boil. The spice will do the heavy lifting when it comes to the pumpkin flavor in the final beer, but there is something about the pumpkin meat that makes the spice blend and balance better and taste more like authentic pumpkin and less like just separate spice in the final beer, so definitely go with the pumpkin meat as well if you can find it. Either way is good beer, though.

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Old 09-13-2011, 10:53 PM   #5
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I will check out the hippie nothing-but organic stores tomorrow after work and if I am unable to locate any punkin, will go with the sweet taters. I just can not see blaspheming a beer by not including one of the ingredients that is in the name. If I go sweet potato it will just be a tater ale instead of a pumpkin. I will let you all know what I think if I try taters.

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Old 09-13-2011, 11:46 PM   #6
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Don't rule out the canned pumpkin.

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Old 09-14-2011, 12:06 AM   #7
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Read the label on the can of pumpkin. Make sure that there are no preservatives in there or it will mess up the beer.

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Old 09-14-2011, 12:34 AM   #8
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Why not make your own homemade pumpkin puree? It's far superior to the canned stuff, and it really doesn't take that much effort. I'm not really into pumpkin ale, but I make puree for pie, and it was a hit with the family last Thanksgiving. I've seen some farms locally already advertising them available at their stands.

Here's a guide on the number of ways to make it: http://www.pickyourown.org/pumpkinpie.php

The only thing is that you'll probably need to adjust is your water since the homemade stuff contains more water. It might help using a cheesecloth to get rid of the excess liquid.

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Old 09-14-2011, 12:35 AM   #9
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Also, frozen butternut squash is a decent substitute for pumpkin.

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Old 09-14-2011, 12:35 AM   #10
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Dont skip the pumpkin,brew with squash or sweet potatoes if you can,im probably going to try them in my next one.Its not a pumpkin without one or something similar to it,it would just be a "pumpkin spiced" beer.

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