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Old 09-28-2009, 12:18 AM   #1
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Default Pumpkin ale: pumpkin necessary?

My wife has ordered me to brew a pumpkin ale, which I had intended to do tomorrow. Only issue is 3 grocery stores did not have the canned pumpkin I was looking for.

I know there is much debate as to whether pumpkin actually adds anything to pumpkin ale. Its character is largely in the spices, in my opinion. So, what say you, should I go without pumpkin or wait a few days and see if I can find some?

I'm leaning one way but would like some input, please. Danke.

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Old 09-28-2009, 12:20 AM   #2
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lose the pumpkin. the trouble that the trub can cause is not worth the minimal-to-nonexistant flavor contribution.

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Old 09-28-2009, 12:22 AM   #3
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I brewed a pumpkin ale yesterday with 29oz of canned pumpkin in the mash. I added the pumpkin to the mash water while it was heating to strike temp and even then it was pretty subtle flavor. Just a background of gourdy-ness. By the end of the mash, it was nearly impossible to pick out. Then I added the spices during the boil and they pretty much dominate the flavor and aroma now.

Especially if you're using a fair bit of specialty grains, crystal, etc, I think you can definitely leave it out. The spices are where it's at.

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Old 09-28-2009, 12:30 AM   #4
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You can also substitute other gourds and just roast them in the oven until tender. Actually, you might boost the flavor profile by doing so. Try a butternut squash, delicata squash, or even acorn squash. If you roast them with the skins on, you might even get a nice nutty characteristic which IMO would be pretty badass in a pumpkin ale. What about a swap with some sweet potato or "yams"?

Personally, i'd go butternut. That creamy and nutty squash flavor with the pumpkin pie spices would be really good. Also, if it were me, i'd incorporate some chile pepper in the spice blend to really boost the flavor profile.

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Old 09-28-2009, 01:25 AM   #5
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I brewed the Thunderstruck Pumpkin Ale four days ago and I roasted 60oz of pureed, canned pumpkin for a bit and then added to the boil. This was from extract. I just took an SG and it's 1.015 so I'll be racking it tomorrow. I haven't added the spice tea yet, but the pumpkin flavor definitely comes through in the beer for me. If you can't find canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes should work equally well.

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Old 09-28-2009, 01:26 AM   #6
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I would go sweet potato or just skip it. I am not sure the pumpkin adds any flavor.

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Old 09-28-2009, 01:29 AM   #7
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Skip it and don't tell anyone. I bet they won't notice.

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Old 09-28-2009, 01:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opteek View Post
I brewed the Thunderstruck Pumpkin Ale four days ago and I roasted 60oz of pureed, canned pumpkin for a bit and then added to the boil. This was from extract.
I did the same last year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerrific View Post
I would go sweet potato or just skip it. I am not sure the pumpkin adds any flavor.
Nor am I.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pickles View Post
Skip it and don't tell anyone. I bet they won't notice.
Ah ha, you've stumbled on my evil plan. Well, my wife will know but she's promised to be quiet about it.

Thanks all for the suggestions. I gained a couple of interesting ideas to try down the road, but because I have no other gourds or sweet potatoes on hand, I'll go with pickles' idea.
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shecky View Post
Only issue is 3 grocery stores did not have the canned pumpkin I was looking for.
Seriously? http://www.stopandshop.com/our_stores/locator/store_details.htm?storeNumber=0657 I guarantee you there is canned pumpkin at the Stop & Shop.

However, agree with other comments that any flavor from the pumpkin is minimal.
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd View Post
Seriously? http://www.stopandshop.com/our_stores/locator/store_details.htm?storeNumber=0657 I guarantee you there is canned pumpkin at the Stop & Shop.
I'll take that bet. Stop and Shop shelves were empty. Collecting dust. Nada. Zilch. That was also the case with the two IGA places I visited.

How much were we betting?
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