Coldbreak Brewing Giveaway - Open to All!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Pumpkin Ale question
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-31-2013, 04:22 PM   #1
Senorsauza03
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 8
Default Pumpkin Ale question

Question for the group. I am doing my first pumpkin ale and I've been following the recipes through many threads. After stopping at my lhbs, the clerk told me it was not even worth putting pumpkins in at all- no flavor profile. He said just add pumpkin spice at the end of the boil for flavoring. Is there a need or what are the flavor benefits from using pumpkins vs just the spices? Some of the recipes sound awesome, but can anyone tell me what is the best practice or opinion?

Jorge


Senorsauza03 is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 04:35 PM   #2
zachattack
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: , MA
Posts: 2,653
Liked 266 Times on 228 Posts
Likes Given: 157

Default

IMO the pumpkin adds something, but not what you'd think. Pumpkin itself is rather bland; think of plain butternut squash before you add butter/salt/brown sugar or anything like that.

If you can brew all grain or partial mash, you'll get a couple gravity points by mashing the pumpkin. Other than that, you can expect to get a little bit of the pumpkin's "squashy" texture in the beer's mouthfeel, and maybe a very slight squash flavor. The spices certainly dominate.

I add pumpkin to mine, just so that I can call it a pumpkin ale. But I bet if I left it out, nobody would notice. It's really not much work (especially if you use canned pumpkin) and if you're already doing AG/PM it doesn't add much to the process, so you might as well use it.


zachattack is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 07:34 PM   #3
bobbrews
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sierra, Nevada
Posts: 4,020
Liked 423 Times on 341 Posts
Likes Given: 72

Default

Real pumpkin can add body and a roastiness if a Maillard Reaction is attained when cooking the pumpkin. The Pumpkin Ale will be more complex and to style if real pumpkin is used. I would only recommend brewing an All-Grain Pumpkin Ale. That way, you have better control over FG, body, and character mashing grains that will highlight the pumpkin.

The spices will dominate if you add too much, or if the ratio is off. Cinnamon should be about 3-4x than the amount of Nutmeg, which is a very dominant spice. Other options are Ginger, Allspice, Clove, Vanilla, and Green Cardamom.

zach, IMO unseasoned butternut squash has way more flavor than unseasoned pumpkin. Probably one of the reasons why Schlafly uses both for their Pumpkin Ale.
bobbrews is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 07:47 PM   #4
zachattack
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: , MA
Posts: 2,653
Liked 266 Times on 228 Posts
Likes Given: 157

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbrews View Post
Real pumpkin can add body and a roastiness if a Maillard Reaction is attained when cooking the pumpkin. The Pumpkin Ale will be more complex and to style if real pumpkin is used. I would only recommend brewing an All-Grain Pumpkin Ale. That way, you have better control over FG, body, and character mashing grains that will highlight the pumpkin.

The spices will dominate if you add too much, or if the ratio is off. Cinnamon should be about 3-4x than the amount of Nutmeg, which is a very dominant spice. Other options are Ginger, Allspice, Clove, Vanilla, and Green Cardamom.

zach, IMO unseasoned butternut squash has way more flavor than unseasoned pumpkin. Probably one of the reasons why Schlafly uses both for their Pumpkin Ale.
Well put. The mouthfeel/body from the pumpkin is the most noticeable addition for me. And by "the spices dominate" I meant that the spices are usually what most people look for in a pumpkin ale, not the squashiness. So they generally tend to dominate over the actual pumpkin for most commercial pumpkin beers that I've tried. Though I have found a few where that's not the case. I'll second the use of a small amount of cardamom in your pumpkin spice blend, I've used it in mine but I don't think it's something that's normally found in commercial pumpkin spice blends.

You're probably right about pumpkin being more bland than the butternut, I just figured that would be a more accessible example. I've heard of a few other breweries that also use butternut in their pumpkin ales.
zachattack is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 07:56 PM   #5
bobbrews
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sierra, Nevada
Posts: 4,020
Liked 423 Times on 341 Posts
Likes Given: 72

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
the spices are usually what most people look for in a pumpkin ale, not the squashiness.
Eh, but that's still kind of misleading.

When you transform the ingredient with spices, it becomes something new. You would not have the same result just using spices... or just using pumpkin for that matter. You need both for that something "missing" which you mentioned earlier.

I've always preferred beers brewed with real pumpkin added to "pumpkin spice" beers... and I can usually tell the difference. That does not mean that all beers brewed with real pumpkin are superior. Some breweries still find a way to mess it up somehow.
bobbrews is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 07:57 PM   #6
Senorsauza03
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 8
Default

Thanks for the feedback. I will definitely add some as a baseline.
Senorsauza03 is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 08:19 PM   #7
zachattack
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: , MA
Posts: 2,653
Liked 266 Times on 228 Posts
Likes Given: 157

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbrews View Post
Eh, but that's still kind of misleading.

When you transform the ingredient with spices, it becomes something new. You would not have the same result just using spices... or just using pumpkin for that matter. You need both for that something "missing" which you mentioned earlier.

I've always preferred beers brewed with real pumpkin added to "pumpkin spice" beers... and I can usually tell the difference. That does not mean that all beers brewed with real pumpkin are superior. Some breweries still find a way to mess it up somehow.
Fair enough. I don't really disagree with you, and I don't mean to be misleading.

But I do think that most consumers think of pumpkin spice, not the pumpkin itself, when they think of "pumpkin" flavor. Look at all the pumpkin crap they sell this time of year: pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cider, pumpkin-scented candles, lotions, etc. There's no pumpkin in any of those things. I've made a sweet potato pie that everyone thought was pumpkin pie because it had the same spices and was the same color, even though if you gave them a bowl of mashed sweet potatoes and a bowl of mashed pumpkin they'd obviously know the difference.

Many of the mass-produced, commercially successful (Shipyard...) pumpkin ales don't use pumpkin, like you mentioned. I'm not saying that's what I prefer, and I'm certainly not suggesting that's what you or OP (or anyone else on the forum) prefers. I enjoy the slight starchy mouthfeel and "squashy" flavor as much as the next beer lover. But if you made a beer with pumpkin but no spicing and called it a pumpkin ale, a lot of people would be confused; on the other hand, if you made a beer with spicing but no pumpkin and called it a pumpkin ale, a lot of people wouldn't even notice.

Again, I'm a huge advocate of adding real pumpkin. But some people aren't. There are all kinds of opinions in this thread:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/pump...umpkin-268463/
zachattack is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2013, 08:19 PM   #8
DaveHunter5
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 26
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

I recently brewed my first pumpkin ale and wanted something a little different than your typical batch. I bought about 3 lbs of canned pumpkin and about 1 lb of sweet potato, spread it out on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for 45-60 mins with a glaze of maple sugar followed by a quick broil for just a touch more maple caramelization. I added the mixture to the mash. I used sweet potato because it has more starches per gram than pumpkin (which barely has any so you really aren't adding any gravity points to your beer) and also had spices in the boil. I just bottled this yesterday and there was a perfect amount of pumpkin aroma with some mild spices lingering in the background. I think you should definitely add it to your mash, you will be happy with the result.
DaveHunter5 is offline
KYHoosier Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2013, 05:35 PM   #9
bobbrews
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sierra, Nevada
Posts: 4,020
Liked 423 Times on 341 Posts
Likes Given: 72

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
Look at all the pumpkin crap they sell this time of year: pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cider, pumpkin-scented candles, lotions, etc. There's no pumpkin in any of those things.
True, but you can't really compare a pumpkin candle or artificial Dunkin' Donuts syrup to Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
I've made a sweet potato pie that everyone thought was pumpkin pie because it had the same spices and was the same color
A lot of people's palates suck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
I enjoy the slight starchy mouthfeel and "squashy" flavor as much as the next beer lover.
That's not what you get from pumpkin beer. If you got starchy, you failed. Squashy... eh... Not so much. The spices blended with pumpkin bring out the pumpkin flavor more... Just as salt does with bacon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
But if you made a beer with pumpkin but no spicing and called it a pumpkin ale, a lot of people would be confused; on the other hand, if you made a beer with spicing but no pumpkin and called it a pumpkin ale, a lot of people wouldn't even notice.
For optimal results, you wouldn't really do either. If you served salt without bacon, a lot of people would be confused; on the other hand, if you served bacon without salt, a lot of people would still realize it was bacon (and a lot of them would notice that something is missing).
bobbrews is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2013, 05:52 PM   #10
GrogNerd
mean old man
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
GrogNerd's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sterling, VA
Posts: 4,329
Liked 1284 Times on 843 Posts
Likes Given: 144

Default

for my imperial pumpkin ale, I spread 2 cans of pumpkin on a cookie sheet, baked for an hour, then put it in a strainer bag and steeped it with the heating strike water

it added a nice orange hue to an otherwise copper-colored wort, maybe got some sugars out of it, hopefully some mouthfeel. added some spices at flameout

still in primary now, but the sample I took when adding some simple sugars, additional yeast and some nutrient was heavy on the spice. hopefully that will mellow out after bottle conditioning until next Halloween


__________________
#redbully

"Why must it always be pandemonium?" - George Mueller/Nelson Van Alden

"Beer. Good." - Words of House Grog

drinking: Wojtkowiak Piwo, CLB's Barleywine, 8Hearted Pale Ale, O'Rob's Dry Irish Stout, DB8PT Session Ale, Wojtkowiak Grodziskie - bottle conditioning: Otto M. Gourd Pumpkin Barleywine, Jewel Thieves Apple Wine, CLB's Barleywine 1.2
GrogNerd is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pumpkin ale question... Add pumpkin to the boil, mash or both? earwig General Beer Discussion 19 10-27-2012 01:09 AM
Pumpkin ale boiling pumpkin question Zokfend All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 8 09-05-2012 04:04 AM
Harvest Pumpkin Ale - Pumpkin Spice Question tswea1 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 4 08-13-2012 03:45 AM
Not the same pumpkin question again BakerStreetBeers Recipes/Ingredients 2 10-01-2009 09:37 PM
question about pumpkin ale JamesJ Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 09-19-2008 02:46 PM


Forum Jump

Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS