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Old 10-07-2011, 03:43 PM   #1
Keb
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Jan 2011
Frederick, Maryland
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Hey guys it's fall and my first shot at pumpkin ale didn't go all that well. It's finished and carbed in the keg and now I am faced with a dilemma. It seems to have little pumpkin or spice flavor. Overall it's a decent brew, but you really have to reach to taste any of the things I added (pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, sweet orange peel).

I'm trying to decide between waiting and hoping stuff pops more with age, adding spices to keg, or just saying F it and call it a "harvest" ale. It was brewed on August 21st.

I have a party where it needs to be served in 2 weeks. Any suggestions?

 
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:08 PM   #2
rodisian
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Mar 2011
hartford, connecticut
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I found myself in a similar position when I was bottling my most recent pumpkin beer. I had brewed two pumpkin beers before, both which ended up with varying intensities of flavor. So for my third, I wanted to ensure a level of flavor I was happy with - so I made a tincture of spices and vodka and let it sit for a week (you can probably get away with less), shaking every day. Come bottling day, I added small amounts of the vodka-infused spices to the brew, stirred with a sanitized spoon, and tasted. Then repeated until I hit the ideal flavor profile, and added a tiny bit extra for insurance for the time it will sit in bottles (~8weeks+? it's a 9% abv)

This gave me a ton of control, much more than guessing how much aromatics would disappear after boiling / fermenting / secondary / etc. Plus, if the flavor begins to fade more than you would like, you can always add a bit more to the keg.

(disclaimer: as you can tell I, I bottle rather than keg, so I'm making the assumption it'll work for your setup.. but can't be sure)

 
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
Keb
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Jan 2011
Frederick, Maryland
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Hmm. Well I'm not bottling so it would be straight in the keg. I'm also a bit worried about getting crap stuck up in the dip tube from adding spices direct.

 
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:50 PM   #4
rodisian
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Mar 2011
hartford, connecticut
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In my experiences, after an hour or three of leaving the tincture alone, the spices drop out of suspension and you can easily decant the vodka on top.

 
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:28 PM   #5
Keb
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Jan 2011
Frederick, Maryland
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So your putting the spiced vodka in, not the actual spices?

 
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:16 PM   #6
DrinkNoH2O
 
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Yes, that's what a tincture is. You're extracting the essential oils out of the spices into the vodka and leaving the fibrous matter behind.

The small volume of vodka compared to the large volume of beer won't make a detectable difference in terms of ABV % or taste.

 
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:20 PM   #7
Keb
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Jan 2011
Frederick, Maryland
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I gotcha. So I have another pack of spices from AHS. It includes

1 tsp. Cinnamon
3/8 tsp. Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Mace
7 g Sweet Orange Peel

Any recommendations on how much to add? I'm thinking remove the sweet orange peel from this addition.

 
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Old 10-08-2011, 02:15 AM   #8
Keb
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Jan 2011
Frederick, Maryland
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another question. what about adding more actual pumpkin flavor while in keg. any ideas? and no i cant rack to a new keg all are full. sorry about poor format im on mobile.

 
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:21 AM   #9
Dr. Francois
 
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Okemos, MI, Michigan
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Forget about pumpkin flavor...not much to be had there. Consider boosting the body with maltodextrine or lactose. Also, I have heard that vanilla extract can be a nice addition.
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