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Old 08-22-2011, 03:25 PM   #1
Gilbey
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Default Fresh Pumpkin - Mash or Not??

I have about 5 pounds of processed fresh pumpkin ready for a Pumpkin Ale. To prepare I chunked the pumpkins, roasted it at 400F for about an hour until soft and caremelized, then removed skinand ran it through a food mill. In essence this is just what you get when you open a can of processed pumpkin. My wife uses the same stuff to make homemade pumpkin pie.

So, I see some pumpkin ale recipes that call for the pumkin in the mash, others just add a can of processed pumpkin into the brew kettle with 10 minutes left. Is there really any starch to covert in my pumpkin?? Can't I just dump it into the BK??

On a related question I have a cannister of "Pumpkin Pie Spice". Is 4 teaspoons too much to add to BK in the last few minutes? Too little?

Thanks.

Alan

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:37 PM   #2
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I'm still waiting for my own Pumpkin Ale to ferment out, but here's what I can tell so far, based on mine and the one brewed at a buddy's place last summer:

1) Last summer, we added pumpkin during the boil. I don't remember smelling much of a pumpkin aroma in the wort, and I _know_ we could only barely taste any pumpkin in the finished product. Note, we also did NOT roast the canned pumpkin prior to boiling, so this could have also played a role.

2) A couple weekends ago, I roasted up 4 cans of pumpkin (again, the roasting could be a difference maker too) and mashed with it. If mashing, definitely use rice hulls; a lot of people complained of slow sparges with large amounts of pumpkin in the mash tun - I used 2lbs of hulls and my batch sparging was plenty quick. While chilling the wort, we all agreed it smelled just like pumpkin pie - and a taste of the sample for OG definitely had a lot of pumpkin flavor in it.

On the spices, I think 4 teaspoons would be too much. I found one recommendation to use 3 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, but I haven't tried it myself. It seems that pumpkin pie spice itself contains a higher proportion of things like cloves and nutmeg than you probably want; when I noticed a container in our spice cupboard of pumpkin pie spice, SWMBO informed me that she's never liked a pie made with the stuff, that it was always wrong in some way - if it won't make a good pie, I doubt (on its own at least) it'll make a good beer.

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Old 08-22-2011, 03:57 PM   #3
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I put fresh pumkin in my mash but did not run it through the food processor - I just cut it into chunks and threw them in the mash - turned out great.

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Old 08-23-2011, 06:25 AM   #4
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Your best option is to add the pumpkin in the last five minutes of the boil. There are some fermentable sugars in the pumpkin and allowing it to sit through primary would ensure that you get a maximum amount of pumpkin flavor.

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Old 08-23-2011, 07:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonrosenbloom View Post
Your best option is to add the pumpkin in the last five minutes of the boil. There are some fermentable sugars in the pumpkin and allowing it to sit through primary would ensure that you get a maximum amount of pumpkin flavor.
But then you wind up with so much mess.
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #6
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Last night was brew night for my pumpkin ale, and it was a REAL challange. But I muddled through. Now I just wonder if the beer will survive .

I decided to mash the pumpkin with my grain. I didn't have any rice hulls, but I figured that since the pumpkin had been processed through my food mill that I wouldn't have a problem. Oh how wrong I was. I mash in a 54 quart rectangular coleman cooler with a copper pipe manifold. When I opened the valve to vorlouf I got exactly one cup of wort before I got stuck. I added some sparge water, stirred, tried again.....same thing.

Well crud, it was decision time. Ditch the whole batch and re-run it on the weekend? Or try to make it work?

I was already committed to brewing, so I improvized. I got my giant metal colendar from the kitched, set it atop a plastic bucket and slowly laddled the mash into it. When it was full I poured sparge water over the top to hopefully get some of the sugars out before I dumped that and repeated until I rinsed all the mash and had collected about 7 gallons.

Into the keegle it went. I boiled it out, added hops, pumpkin seasonings, wirfloc, cooled, pitched and into the carboy. As of 8:00 AM I had good fermentation activity. Amazingly I was only off about 1/2 gallon on my finished volume, and the OG was pretty close 1.058 estimated, 1.054 actual.

Now I wonder what effect the rag tag sparge method I used will have on the finished product. It does smell pretty nice though, and even by this morning there was a LOT of settling out noted.

What do you think?

Alan

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Old 08-24-2011, 03:15 PM   #7
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Good effort on saving it! I'm doing a pumpkin ale soon, might end up using a butternut squash though as I can't find pumpkins yet.

Not sure how I'm going to do it, maybe mash, maybe in the boil, maybe in strike water as I heat it... then whether or not to bake it.

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Old 08-24-2011, 03:44 PM   #8
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I did use butternut squash from my garden. The flavor and aroma was very nice. I sliced them in half, 4 of them, and baked them at 400F for about an hour and 15 minutes. I let them cool, then ran through my food mill.

As mentioned above, if you plan to put the pumpkin/squash in your mash you probably need a better plan than mine, although frankly I am not sure how I would have done it differently. Maybe the squash in muslin bags and a couple pounds of rice hulls???

I still wonder if it is neccessary to put the pumpkin in the mash?? What purpose does it serve???

Good luck to you and your brew day!

Alan

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Old 08-24-2011, 05:36 PM   #9
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Well, when I mashed mine, I simply tossed in 2 lbs rice hulls (overkill? maybe a little), my grains, and my pumpkin, and just mixed everything together. Never had an issue with flow rates...

As for why to mash - well, Pumpkin is pretty starchy, isn't it? I'd imagine there's at least a small amount of conversion going on there in the mash.

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratslinger View Post
As for why to mash - well, Pumpkin is pretty starchy, isn't it? I'd imagine there's at least a small amount of conversion going on there in the mash.
I am no chemist by ANY stretch, but wouldn't baking the pumpkin first convert/release the sugars? Isn't that why squash gets all sweet and carmelized when you roast it??

Alan
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