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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Pumpkin Ales
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default Pumpkin Ales

I've never tried one, but I loveee anything pumpkin. I'm curious how they are? I'm thinking of doing one for my 3rd brew, don't want to go off a recipe just yet, still want to stick with a kit for now. The midwestsupplies kit looked decent, any opinions?

Also, what's the difference between the propagator yeast, activator, and pitchable tube?

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Old 03-15-2009, 10:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by arover View Post
I've never tried one, but I loveee anything pumpkin. I'm curious how they are? I'm thinking of doing one for my 3rd brew, don't want to go off a recipe just yet, still want to stick with a kit for now. The midwestsupplies kit looked decent, any opinions?

Also, what's the difference between the propagator yeast, activator, and pitchable tube?
Activators and vials are equivalent products from different manufacturers. Propagators are like tiny activators that contain something like 1/4 of the yeast cells. I always go with vials or activators - they are only about $1 more. It would cost more to build the larger starter required to build up the cell count of the propagator to sufficient levels.

To use pumpkin in a beer, you have to mash it with some base malt to convert its starches into sugars - otherwise you'll get a starchy, hazy mess. But most pumpkin beers don't contain any pumpkin at all (they don't have much of a taste or aroma), but rather pumpkin pie spices.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:59 PM   #3
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The kit itsself calls for canned or fresh pumpkin...What I'd really like to know is, if it's difficult to make (or rather, easy to make mistakes with), and if it even gives off any pumpkin flavor?

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:06 PM   #4
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Well, what you can do if you don't want to (or can't) mash it, is it bake the fresh or canned pumpkin on a baking sheet in the oven to caramelize it, which brings out some of its fairly elusive flavor. Then add that to the wort late in the boil. Doing that wouldn't be any more difficult than any other extract batch (assuming you don't burn the pumpkin if you bake it). Your final beer will probably be hazy from the starch though.

You'll still need spices (which probably come with the kit) to get much flavor, since pumpkin by itself doesn't have a strong taste.

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Old 03-15-2009, 11:24 PM   #5
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I've had some really good ones and made a really bad one. I'm planning to try the punkin porter recipe from extreme brewing.

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Old 03-16-2009, 06:53 AM   #6
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I did a pumpkin ale this fall. I used 2 30oz cans of spiced pumpkin pie mix, purchased at walmart. I absolutely LOVED the beer and my family loved it.

I used the kit from Midwest Brewing.

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Old 03-16-2009, 07:11 AM   #7
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kirscp, thank you very much for the feedback. I'm very tempted to try it, but everyone I've spoken to thus far hasn't had the greatest opinion of it...so I'm hesitant...

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Old 03-16-2009, 03:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Coastarine View Post
I've had some really good ones and made a really bad one. I'm planning to try the punkin porter recipe from extreme brewing.
It's a good one, its been the favorite for roommates/friends from what I've made so far. My GF's uncle could not stop asking me to open em up on Thanksgiving and said that it overshadowed the ice wine he had brought...

Totally use fresh pumpkin though...I boiled and then blended and added to wort!
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