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shattstar03 08-14-2012 05:16 AM

Making my first pumpkin brew
Hi guys,

I'm going to attempt my first pumpkin ale, I want to make a beer honoring the new upcoming season of fall. Fall is my favorite season, football and hockey is starting (I hope at least), The Walking Dead comes back on and weather seems to be more enjoyable. I never added any type of fruit or veggie to a beer, so I have some questions.

I'm still deciding which kit I'm going to go with, I'm debating between MW pumpkin ale kit, Austin Homebrew's pumpkin kit, and NW Smashing pumpkin kit. If any of you guys have any suggestions which kit works best let me know. I'm looking for something really pumpkin spicy, with lots of pumpkin flavor.

So I have a few questions, I just bought 3, 29oz cans of Libby's pumpkin puree, I've been doing some research and people have all kind of suggestions. Some people roast the puree at 350 degrees, while others just throw it in straight from the can.

My first question is: should I bake the pumpkin puree? If I do decide to bake, how long should I bake it for?

Second question: Do I add the pumpkin puree directly in the kettle? or should I put it in a gain bag? I always strain my batches, so I'm not worried about the goop going in the pot because it'll be strained.

Third question: Do I sparge the pumpkin puree, then remove before boil? or do I boil it for 60 mins? or add it at the last 20 mins or last min of the boil? This is where I'm totally lost..

Also, would oak bourbon cubes be a nice addition to the beer during fermentation? Thanks guys.

iskuse 08-14-2012 01:01 PM

I have never used canned pumpkin. I use hole pumpkin cut into cubes, then cover in brown sugar and bake at 350 for an hour. I add the cubes to the last 15 minutes of the boil.
The first time I did it, I boiled the pumpkin in water after baking it, then strained out the pumpkin and used the liquid as my base. I steeped the grains in the pumpkin mixture, and then proceeded with recipe as usual. I guess you could boil the canned mix in water and strain it. The reason I boiled the pumpkin alone was because I had no idea how much liquid loss I would get.

As for the oak cubes, you would want to add those after initial fermentation is completed.

TommyTaps 08-14-2012 01:28 PM

Add you canned pumpkin to your strike water and bring to temperature together. Use rice hulls in your grain mixture (1lb per 5 gal) to prevent stuck sparge from your mash/pumpkin mixture, its going to be thick. Steep your spices 5-15 mins before the end of the boil. I use pumpkin pie spice and turbinado. If you like more flavor add additional spices to your secondary fermenter. Happy brewing

joyceman 08-14-2012 01:33 PM

Im doing a pumpkin ale next batch, an extract version based on a recipe I found on this site. It calls for baking the puree for an hour and adding directly to the boil for the full 60 mins. I dont think you need a grain bag, but from what I understand this will stay cloudy for a while. Fining agents are probably a good addition. Im considering a secondary for the first time in a while, maybe a tertiary?

phiberoptik 09-08-2012 09:08 PM

iskuse - how did you feel about the outcome of boiling the pumpkin separate and using that as a base? Did you get color AND flavor? Was there any unwanted vegetal flavor? Did you actually get any sugar from it?

iskuse 09-10-2012 01:42 PM

2 Attachment(s)
It came out really nice. Nice orange color with light pumpkin flavor and light spice. It really started to shine after about 1 month in the bottle. Found one in my stash about 10 months later and it was really good.

iskuse 09-10-2012 01:44 PM

I actually prepped, baked, and boiled the pumpkin the night before. stored the liquid in the fridge.

husker 09-10-2012 06:39 PM

+1 on The Walking Dead. Such a good show!

sidepart 09-10-2012 09:52 PM

I just cleaned, skinned and cubed up some raw pumpkin and then doused it in some everclear to sanitize. Sprinkled some sugar on top and then torched it.

Not that this is the correct way...in fact it could very well be the most wrong way to do it. I'll let you know if it works or not in another day or so.

Next time around I might consider throwing it in the oven as someone else recommended, and then mashing with it.

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