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Old 10-10-2012, 01:07 AM   #1
sogrady10
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Default Pumpkin Pale Ale... Where's the pumpkin?

I recently brewed a basic American Pale Ale (extract, basic recipe from The Brew Hut in Co and pulled the pumpkin component of a pumpkin golden ale: 2 cans of pumpkin pie mix added to the boil, 1 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice.

When I racked it into it secondary, it definitely had a strong hop aroma. I just bottled last night and took a few tastes and there's definitely no taste of pumpkin, but some great pale ale flavors... So it's not like I have 5 gallons of swill, I just want to know what happened to the pumpkin.

Is it simply because the amount of hops overpowered the pumpkin flavor? I didn't add anything in secondary and left a majority of the solids at the bottom of the first carboy.

Any advice? I'm starting branch out to more flavored beers (just finishing up the watermelon wheats left over from the summer!) and would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks!

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Old 10-10-2012, 01:34 AM   #2
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too early in the boil? could add a can to secondary for better flavor and aroma retention

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Old 10-11-2012, 12:43 PM   #3
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I think, too, that maybe you added too early and whatever pumpkin is left got covered by the hops. Did you do the brewer's best pale, or the breakwater? I am going to to a half batch of reno envy's pumpkin. Thought about doing dry dock's half moon pumpkin, but decided against it. If you are doing extract, I would just say, buy the half moon kit from brew hut... Let the pale ale shine on it's own!! Not sure I have ever had a pumpkin pale, though... I think it is because pales are often on the bitter side, while pumpkins are kinda sweet/malty. But if you can make a hoppy pumpkin work...I'd try it!

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Old 10-11-2012, 02:49 PM   #4
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Pumpkin itself really has no taste. The issue is the pumpkin spices. You can always add more spices at bottling time in the future to fix the issue.

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Old 10-11-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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The pumpkin doesn't add much flavor as DonMagee mentioned. It really adds mouth feel from what I've read. My pumpkin ales, I leave out the pumpkin all together and just adjust the spices for that pumpkin flavor. It has turned out nice every time I've done one.

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Old 10-11-2012, 03:38 PM   #6
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Agreed with most everyone here - pumpkin leaves an exceedingly subtle flavor, and contributes more to mouthfeel than anything else. The spices contribute more to the flavor than anything else, and I find I get much more effect if I add a spice tea late in primary (or in secondary, if you do that sort of thing) than if I add them in the kettle. Also, depending on how heavily you hopped your pale ale, those hops can pretty easily overpower a subtle spice character. Or they can clash in a pretty weird, and sometimes unpleasant way if the spice character is more pronounced.

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Old 10-11-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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In my (admittedly limited) experience, seems like any fruit you add into (or before) the primary fermentation gets "lost in the ferment", so to speak. Plus, I added a banana slurry (with 99 Bananas Liquor to kill the bugs) to a Hefeweizen primary (after initial ferm had died down) and didn't ultimately get much from it in the final product. I think most of the fermentables will do just that, once the yeast get ahold of them.
There are some good threads on racking on top of fruit of various kinds in a secondary, but here I think the amount you add is important as well. Personally, I find that these type of beers add a hint of flavor but always leave me wanting more.
For more overt flavor, I think you need to add extract before bottling. I know thats heresy for alot of people, but I find I enjoy the beers that do this more. (e.g. Wells Banana Bread beer says it has both bananas and banana flavoring. Southern Tier's Pumpking not so much for the pumpkin flavor but for the Graham Cracker extract they are adding to it. )
At the end of the day, I suspect doing a little of both (real fruit combined with extract) is a good way to get flavor that is more than just subtle.

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Old 10-11-2012, 04:47 PM   #8
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Also, with pumpkin specifically, there are plenty of different ideas on how to go about it. I've read that working with the canned pie stuff is tricky. I have a pumpkin pie ale in the bottle right now. I haven't yet quite made the partial mash step yet, so for that one I baked some pie pumpkins that I had cubed with a little bit of PP spice; steeped the cubes in a bag along with my specialty grains as the water came to a boil, and also added a reduction that I derived from the fluid left over from the baked pumpkin at flame-out. I read that would give you more of the 'gourdy' pumpkin taste. (I also added more PP spice at flame-out as well.)
Its in the bottle now, and I'll report back on it for sure. I'll say that it tasted pretty good at bottling, and the steeped pumpkin chunks made a great orange color. I tasted a little pumpkin at the time (more than most commercial pumpkin beers), but I added 4 oz of Natures Flavors Pumpkin Pie extract at bottling just to be sure. (oh, and I had a 1/2 lb lactose in the boil as well).

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Old 10-11-2012, 04:50 PM   #9
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Did you roast the pumpkin at all? I used 60 oz of Libby's Pumpkin in my last batch, roasted at 350 for an hour, added it to the 60 minute boil and it had surprisingly great pumpkin flavor after. I'm adding the spices today.

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Old 10-11-2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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Like others have said, pumpkin will not add much flavor as pumpkin itself doesn't have a strong flavor. It will add color and a little mouth feel. You will get all the "pumpkin" flavor from the spice. If you put it in the boil to soon you will lose some of the flavor. The flavor does go away kind of quickly too. I just made a pumpkin ale and will be adding the spice to my keg. This will give me more time to let it sit without worrying that the flavor is going away.

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