NB's Smashing Pumpkin Ale

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lmarkis

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I am always happy with Northern Brewers products, so I'm really excited to brew my first pumpkin ale. I have some thoughts on it and I would like your feedback if possible.

I want to do the all-grain, but I don't think I have enough time to invest into roasting the pumpkin (even though I would really like to). If I can't do this, can I just use the pumpkin in a can and add it to the mash rather than going through the whole pumpkin roasting process?

I noticed a lot of people talking about adding the whole spice (not ground spices), such as a whole cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, nutmeg, clove, etc... and that it should be soaked in vodka? is this to bring out the spice flavour?

In addition to the pumpkin added during mash, I think I am going to add 2 cans of Libbys pumpkin at 5 minutes left in the boil to give it a little more pumpkin kick, then add spices at flame out, then at spices (if needed) in secondary.

Any thoughts? Does anyone swear by their own Pumpkin ale recipe?
 

UofMontanaAlum

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I use Libby's canned pumpkin purée and it works great. 2 large cans added at the beginning of the mash for a 5 gallon batch. Just make sure it's the pure pumpkin purée and not the pre-flavored pie filling.
 

tooldudetool

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Keep in mind, adding all that pumpkin into the boil will put a whole bunch of goopy trub into your fermenter. I'm no pumpkin ale expert (although I strive to be), but the consensus seems to be that the pumpkin spices are what really contribute the "pumpkin pie" flavor we are all looking for. Also, be careful with the spices! It is very easy to overspice, and then you are stuck with it. I have seen recipes that suggest using half of the recommended spices at flameout, then saving the rest to steep in a tea that is added at kegging or bottling time. That gives you much more control over the spice flavor because can add a bit at a time, gently swirl and then taste. I would think using whole spices would contribute less flavor because the surface area is smaller than ground spices. Also, you can actually roast the canned pumpkin as well, which will cause some of it to caramelize, bringing new sweet pumpkin flavors into the mix.
 

StoutattheDevil

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I've never been happy using pumpkin In a beer. The spices they add to commercial "pumpkin ales" are 99.9% of the flavor In these beers anyhow. Pumpkin ends up being a sloppy mess weather you roast it, purée it, blow it kisses, or filter it through angel tears. To me it's a niche beer. If you want a good fall style, brew an octoberfest, an alt bier, a robust porter, a mild, or a brown. If you MUST brew a pumpkin beer, try using yams(sweet potatoes) in place of pumpkin and add pumpkin pie spice to the last 15mins of your boil. Yams at least provide some flavor. Pumpkin has little to no taste unless it is spiced....sounds like a style I want to line up for. Leave the pumpkin for the pie pans and the front porch on halloween boys.
 

USAFSooner

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Brewed it last year. Added two cans of plain pumpkin that had been baked in a glass dish for 45 min at 350 into the mash. Be sure to use rice hulls!!! It turned out decent but I recommend doubling their spices. I would add the vanilla to secondary as well.
 

JoshB314

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I made this kit about a month ago. I added 45oz of canned pumpkin to the mash after roasting the pumpkin with 1/2tsp of pie spices for an hour. I added the recommended extra 6row and then added 1.5tsp of spices at flameout. Bottling it tomorrow but it tasted great when I transferred to secondary so I imagine it will continue to get better.
 

JGowls

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I did the extract version of this brew last year. It was only my third brew so it could of been inexperience that produced the results but I wasn't a fan. After reading some of the comments on NB's website I decided to double the amount of spices at flameout, the beer came out very sweet and it was tough to pick out the pumpkin characteristics of the beer. I also wasn't using yeast starters or swamp coolers to control fermentation temp so idk if that had anything to do with it. This is just my experience by the way, by no means am I saying don't do it. I've been contemplating doing another pumpkin beer but this time with real pumpkin. Let us know how it turns out!
 
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I've never been happy using pumpkin In a beer. The spices they add to commercial "pumpkin ales" are 99.9% of the flavor In these beers anyhow. Pumpkin ends up being a sloppy mess weather you roast it, purée it, blow it kisses, or filter it through angel tears. To me it's a niche beer. If you want a good fall style, brew an octoberfest, an alt bier, a robust porter, a mild, or a brown. If you MUST brew a pumpkin beer, try using yams(sweet potatoes) in place of pumpkin and add pumpkin pie spice to the last 15mins of your boil. Yams at least provide some flavor. Pumpkin has little to no taste unless it is spiced....sounds like a style I want to line up for. Leave the pumpkin for the pie pans and the front porch on halloween boys.
I agree that you don't really get a noticeable flavor from the beer, but I've noticed an increase in the texture of the beer.

I would recommend roasting and smashing up the pumpkin the night before if time is a concern. It doesn't take that long; about one hour at 350F. The pumpkin comes out extremely soft and can be mashed by hand (after cooling!) or with a fork, and the skin peels off like a wet paper towel. If you have a significant other or young ones, it can be a lot of fun for them to help you out. It probably isn't necessary to use a real pumpkin but it's a lot of fun, especially if you make a day of it...going out to find the right pumpkin at a pumpkin patch or farmers market, roasting the seeds up, picking out pumpkins to carve later on, etc.

Edit: I just wanted to add a side note as far as this particular kit. If you're kegging you can have the whole thing done in less than 30 days. If you're planning on doing it for Halloween or something there's no need to rush.
 

jbhistory

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USAFSooner said:
Brewed it last year. Added two cans of plain pumpkin that had been baked in a glass dish for 45 min at 350 into the mash. Be sure to use rice hulls!!! It turned out decent but I recommend doubling their spices. I would add the vanilla to secondary as well.
Not to hijack the thread, but how much rice hulls did you use for a 5 gall batch?
 

USAFSooner

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1# of rice hulls in a 5 gallon all grain batch. I have a 10g mash tun with the toilet braid set up.
 

jbhistory

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USAFSooner said:
1# of rice hulls in a 5 gallon all grain batch. I have a 10g mash tun with the toilet braid set up.
Would you be willing to elaborate how you used the hulls... Did you later bottom then add water and grains or did you mix them all together
 

USAFSooner

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Dumped em in the mash water first then added grain, then pumpkin and stirred it enough to make sure everything was wet.
 
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