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Old 09-12-2013, 03:38 AM   #1
Doliss
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Default Questions about pumpkin ales

I've been wanting to try one for a while and I read different recipes ask for actual pumpkin to be added, while some don't bother with it.

Just curious as to what are the pros and cons to add pumpkin to the brewing process or not? Anyone have any insight?

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Old 09-12-2013, 07:25 AM   #2
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I really don't see any cons when it comes to adding actual pumpkin in your beer except for potential infection, but if you manage to take the correct steps for sanitation purposes, I see no issue. I'd recommend using the pumpkin in secondary and managing the amount of flavor you want by pulling samples periodically until it's where you want it. Also, I usually go with a little more predominant flavor when secondarying as the flavors from oak, fruit, etc. will start to fade since it blends with the beer as it ages.

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Old 09-12-2013, 12:32 PM   #3
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I wanted to try putting actual pumpkin in mine but decided to keep it simple and add the spice to the wort at the end of the boil. I am getting ready to bottle the beer this weekend (maybe tonight) and so far I am not seeing a lot of the flavor I expected but I am told it will change when the beer is carbonated.

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Old 09-12-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
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Pumpkin itself does not really add that much flavor, the spice does that. It does seem to help with the beautiful orange color and affect the mouthfeel a bit in my opinion. I add it to the mash water (AG) but you do have to account for what wort it takes up. If you do Extract w/ steeping grains or PM you can add it with the grains, but definitely account for the mess and added sediment in your BK/Fermenter. Sanitation is not really an issue when it is added prior to the boil.

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Old 09-12-2013, 02:30 PM   #5
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Pros:
- You can call it a pumpkin beer (w/no pumpkin it's just a spice beer)
- Flavor is subtle but present if you go easy on the spices
- Mouthfeel is unmatched. Silky smooth
- Color is bright orange
- Adds a minimal amount of sugar; I do 6ppg as an estimate

Cons:
- Sparging. Pumpkin is sticky. Use rice hulls and it goes ok.

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Old 09-12-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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I plan to add 8-10 pounds of pumpkin meat to my mash. I have never had a stuck sparge but wonder if this would make one likely? No rice hulls on hand. Guess I will get some before brewint this.

I don't want too much flavor so if I add the spices there will be very little. I generally do not like spiced or fruited beers. I did try a pumpkin craft beer that was excellent though.

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Old 09-12-2013, 02:32 PM   #7
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I agree with DrunkleJon. Pumpkin is primarily for mouth feel and color. My last pumpkin ale I brewed last year only had spices with no pumpkin and it received excellent reviews from those that drank it. I've been asked to brew that annually for Halloween parties now. I think you're good either way. I personally feel pumpkin is more trouble than worth because of the tremendous amount of trub you have to deal with (if you add it to the boil and not the mash). It's just plain messy for not a lot of benefits in my opinion. It does however provide amazing color though!

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Old 09-12-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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I used 60 oz that I baked for an hour at 350 in the boil. I thought it added some flavor and certainly mouthfeel. I added nothing else until a week into the fermentation, when I dropped in 1.5 tsp of pumpkin pie spice into the fermenter. I had people who don't even like pumpkin beers sucking them back.

EDIT: I did have a good hunk of trub in the fermenter though

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