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Old 10-21-2008, 05:15 PM   #1
Brett3rThanU
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Default Pumpkin Ale Questions

I'm going to do my first all grain batch this weekend and I figured why not try Thunderstruck Pumpkin Ale. The MLT I'm building is going to use a stainless steel braid and and I'm going to be batch sparging. With this, I'm afraid the pumpking may cause an extremely slow sparge as I read some people exerienced, but to help I'm going to add 1 lb. of rice hulls.

My first question is, what is the advantage/difference between putting the pumpkin in the mash vs. only adding it to the boil? Would mashing the pumpkin possibly convert more of the starches in the pumpkin to sugar? Is there a big flavor difference?

Second, if I do mash the pumpking do I want to try to keep the pumpkin on top or dough it in with the grain and water?

Any advice on my first AG batch is welcome too, I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew by doing a pumpkin ale.

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Old 10-21-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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I'm going to do my first all grain batch this weekend and I figured why not try Thunderstruck Pumpkin Ale. The MLT I'm building is going to use a stainless steel braid and and I'm going to be batch sparging. With this, I'm afraid the pumpking may cause an extremely slow sparge as I read some people exerienced, but to help I'm going to add 1 lb. of rice hulls.

My first question is, what is the advantage/difference between putting the pumpkin in the mash vs. only adding it to the boil? Would mashing the pumpkin possibly convert more of the starches in the pumpkin to sugar? Is there a big flavor difference?

Second, if I do mash the pumpking do I want to try to keep the pumpkin on top or dough it in with the grain and water?

Any advice on my first AG batch is welcome too, I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew by doing a pumpkin ale.
I boiled my pumpkin, and my result is not my best brew, however definitely drinkable. There are a lot of things that might be the reason for this though.

Next time I might try mashing. Rice hulls should help. Don't try to keep the pumpkin on top of the grain; vigorous mixing after dough in, after adding sparge water, and before any time you drain the mash tun helps you get as much efficiency as you can.

I know you didn't really ask about how much pumpkin to use, but I'll say this. With everything, start light. You'd rather have a batch that is a little easier on the pumpkin but still delicious, then you can increase next time. It is better than an beer that is overpowered.

You might consider getting your AG legs on something simple, but as long as you don't let this batch discourage you if it doesn't go the way you want it to.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:00 PM   #3
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+2 on the rice hulls. The sparge went slower than usual but not dribbling slow. I've been doing a lot of research on pumpkin ales and have decided to brew a pumpkin beer next year WITHOUT pumpkin to see how it compares with this years mashed pumpkin.

If you ever eat some pumpkin straight up (Libby's Canned Pumpkin) it tastes exactly like squash. When you "think" pumpkin pie nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, etc come to mind

I know that Basic Brewing Radio did a bit with Randy Mosher about fruit beers.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that its important that you go light on the spices. Mine has been sitting in the primary for 3 weeks and it has a hint of pumpkin spice. It seems that most people have a tendency to over do it.

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Old 10-22-2008, 09:25 PM   #4
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i mashed the canned pumpkin for my pumpkin wheat recipe at a rate of 1 15oz can of pumpkin per gallon of finished wort. used over a lb of rice hulls in a 10lb grain bill and the mash was slower than usual but i didn't have any problems. you've got some big one to try this as your first AG beer, good luck!

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Old 10-23-2008, 12:26 AM   #5
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If you mash your pumpkin, be sure to raise your strike water temp way up. Pumpkin will suck a lot of heat out of the water. BTW this is going to be a tough first time beer.

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Old 10-23-2008, 12:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by FishinDave07 View Post
+2 on the rice hulls. The sparge went slower than usual but not dribbling slow. I've been doing a lot of research on pumpkin ales and have decided to brew a pumpkin beer next year WITHOUT pumpkin to see how it compares with this years mashed pumpkin.

If you ever eat some pumpkin straight up (Libby's Canned Pumpkin) it tastes exactly like squash. When you "think" pumpkin pie nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, etc come to mind

I know that Basic Brewing Radio did a bit with Randy Mosher about fruit beers.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that its important that you go light on the spices. Mine has been sitting in the primary for 3 weeks and it has a hint of pumpkin spice. It seems that most people have a tendency to over do it.
Couldn't agree more. I was at a local brewpub, thinking I was drinking a pumpkin ale, and it was one of the best I've ever had! I asked them how they made it....

The cook poured a pitcher of their blonde ale, and mixed pumpkin spices in with it!

Ha!
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:56 AM   #7
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personally, if you use fresh pumpkin and don't puree it, i don't think you need rice hulls. i made a pumpkin ale two days ago. first, i roasted three pie type pumpkins at 325 deg. for about a little over an hour (until they're soft and easy to peel). then, i mashed the meat somewhat (it was pretty chunky) and added it, still warm, on top of the grain when i doughed in (using no rice hulls) and stirred well. sparging was no problem at all.
i did this same recipe, one of my creation, 2 years ago. as stated above, BE CAREFUL WITH THE SPICES! back then i overdid the nutmeg, and it was nearly undrinkable for the first 8 months and many a bottle got dumped after a few sips. i thought it was a goner, but it suddenly mellowed out, came around, and was delicious. this time i was way conservative on the spices. for 10 gallons - a few blades of mace, 6 allspice beans, 6 whole cloves, and a stick of cinnamon at knockout. i'm hoping it will be drinkable for thanksgiving and christmas.
good luck.

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