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Pumpkin Pie Stout Critique

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Brewtard16

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Hi all!

Pretty new to posting, but I read a lot of information on this forum. excellent resource!

Would like some help with critiquing this recipe. Fairly new to all grain brewing, so please go easy on me, I love constructive criticism. thanks for your help!

I wanted to go big with this one. Full bodied, sweet, full of flavor. I am shooting for a good desert beer to sip on.

Pumpkin Pie Imperial Stout (Imperial Stout)

Original Gravity (OG): 1.110 (°P): 25.9
Colour (SRM): 35.8 (EBC): 70.5
Bitterness (IBU): 53.4 (Average)

65% Pale Ale Malt
10% Biscuit
7.5% Flaked Barley
5% Crystal 90
5% Munich I
2.5% Chocolate, Pale
2.5% Flaked Oats
2.5% Roasted Barley

0.2 oz/Gal Columbus (14.4% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
0.2 oz/Gal Horizon (12% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil)

17.4 oz/Gal Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin @ 60 Minutes (Boil)
0.0 oz/Gal Irish Moss @ 15 Minutes (Boil)
6.4 oz/Gal Lactose @ 10 Minutes (Boil)
0.1 oz/Gal Pumpkin Spice @ 0 Minutes (Boil)
0.0 oz/Gal Cinnamon @ 0 Days (Primary)
0.0 oz/Gal Nutmeg @ 0 Days (Primary)
0.1 oz/Gal Pumpkin Spice @ 0 Days (Primary)
1.0 oz/Gal Vanilla @ 0 Minutes (Bottling)

Single step Infusion at 155°F for 60 Minutes. Boil for 60 Minutes

Fermented at 68°F with Wyeast 1084 - Irish Ale

Notes: Mash water volume: 6.5 gallons
Mash Water Temp: 167 F
Mashout water volume: 2.85 gallons
Mashout water temp: 212 F
Sparge water volume: 3.5 gallons
Sparge water temp: ~190 F

Total water volume added: 12.85 gallons
Total water volume to boil kettle: 10.35 gallons
Boiling time required to bring volume to 6.35 gallons: 4 hrs

Mash water per pound of grain ratio: 1.33 qt/lb
2.5 gallons of boiling water for mashout is required to raise the temp of the mash to 168 F
Grain absorbtion ratio: 0.13 gallons/lb
Total water loss due to grain absorbtion: 2.5 gallons

Pumpkin will be topped with 1.5 cups of dark brown sugar. Baked @350F for 35 minutes.
 

indigi

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My only critique would be that your grain bill seems overly complex, a problem I very often have. I find that questioning every ingredient will often reveal that I'm adding things just because they sound good or I like their flavor description.

Exactly what flavors are you going for? What will 2.5% flaked oats give you specifically that will be noticeable in taste or texture from, say, the flaked barley (especially at that small amount)? Why only 5% roasted malts in a stout split between pale chocolate and roast barley? What do you want from the Munich and the biscuit that you need both in there?

Here's my take on it:

65% Pale Ale
10% EITHER Munich/Biscuit
10% EITHER Flaked Barley/Flaked Oats
10% Roast Barley
5% Crystal 90L

If you go flaked oats, I'd toast them in the oven until golden and let them vent in a paper bag for a week before brewing. I'd also add the pumpkin to the mash instead of the boil unless you're fine with boiled pumpkin and starch haze in the final product - probably not too noticeable in a stout, though. Baking the pumpkin first sounds like a great idea - maybe even mix some of the spices in with that.


edit: also keep in mind that vanilla extract has some residual sugars in it. One ounce shouldn't give you bottle bombs, but if you increase the amount at some point it's good to keep that in mind.
 
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Brewtard16

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My only critique would be that your grain bill seems overly complex, a problem I very often have. I find that questioning every ingredient will often reveal that I'm adding things just because they sound good or I like their flavor description.

Exactly what flavors are you going for? What will 2.5% flaked oats give you specifically that will be noticeable in taste or texture from, say, the flaked barley (especially at that small amount)? Why only 5% roasted malts in a stout split between pale chocolate and roast barley? What do you want from the Munich and the biscuit that you need both in there?

Here's my take on it:

65% Pale Ale
10% EITHER Munich/Biscuit
10% EITHER Flaked Barley/Flaked Oats
10% Roast Barley
5% Crystal 90L

If you go flaked oats, I'd toast them in the oven until golden and let them vent in a paper bag for a week before brewing. I'd also add the pumpkin to the mash instead of the boil unless you're fine with boiled pumpkin and starch haze in the final product - probably not too noticeable in a stout, though. Baking the pumpkin first sounds like a great idea - maybe even mix some of the spices in with that.


edit: also keep in mind that vanilla extract has some residual sugars in it. One ounce shouldn't give you bottle bombs, but if you increase the amount at some point it's good to keep that in mind.
Thanks for the help!

I was sure someone would say something about the complexity of the ingredients. I had them all there so i could see what the people would say about each of them, your help was perfect.

truth is, i dont have much experience with these grains very much. When I read descriptions about them, some look so similar, but they must be different in some way... right? or not.

I had the biscuit because I wanted to mimic the crust of a pumpkin pie. I had munich because I read it was sweeter and toasty, with more aroma. I thought they may complement each other well.

Flaked oats and flaked barley... I was hoping to get input from experienced users on preference... I was leaning towards flaked barely to begin with.

I didnt have much roasted barley because I wanted it more for its color, than its flavor. Does it not have much flavor to begin with? so is cutting back useless.

Thanks for your input, i appreciate it
 

CaptKiRkLeS

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Let us know how it comes out. My pumpkin ale came out well this year but I may do the same recipe next year and something else a bit different...this sounds like it could be good. Are you going to age it until next fall?
 
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Brewtard16

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Let us know how it comes out. My pumpkin ale came out well this year but I may do the same recipe next year and something else a bit different...this sounds like it could be good. Are you going to age it until next fall?
I will certainly check back and let you know. I guess I should come back to this thread instead of making a new one?

My initial thought was that it will need to be aged, so yes, it will age until fall 2011. Im sure I will give it a taste when it is finished though. :D
 
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Brewtard16

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One other question....

I see a decent number of people have viewed the thread, but there are not many replies. Does this generally mean, for this thread anyway, that the recipe generally looks good so no one is commenting on it?

Thanks!
 

EBloom97

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I didnt have much roasted barley because I wanted it more for its color, than its flavor. Does it not have much flavor to begin with? so is cutting back useless.
If you're trying to design a beer that looks like a stout but lacks the strong roasty flavor, you might try replacing some of the darker malts with carafa III, which is dehusked/debittered black malt. It seems like your recipe is not trying to showcase roastiness, and that flavor would really just get in the way, so why not take it out of the picture?
 
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Brewtard16

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If you're trying to design a beer that looks like a stout but lacks the strong roasty flavor, you might try replacing some of the darker malts with carafa III, which is dehusked/debittered black malt. It seems like your recipe is not trying to showcase roastiness, and that flavor would really just get in the way, so why not take it out of the picture?
good idea! so replace the roasted barley and pale chocolate with caraffa III?
 

flabyboy

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The OG (1.110) seems a little too intense for my idea of a stout. What do people think of a little bit of Lactose in this recipe. I'm in the same boat as the OP. Looking for ideas
 
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Brewtard16

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The OG (1.110) seems a little too intense for my idea of a stout. What do people think of a little bit of Lactose in this recipe. I'm in the same boat as the OP. Looking for ideas
I have lactose in this recipe.

OG is high, but i wanted to go big with this. Nice to know im not the only one looking for ideas. Have you thought about how you are going to ferment? How long in the primary? secondary? I know there is an ongoing debate about the need for a secondary, but what is normal for a stout? I was thinking at least 4-6 weeks of primary... possibly even 8, then bottle age for many months.
 

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I actually just tapped my keg of pumpkin stout ( Black Lantern Stout, a play on my Jack's Lantern Ale ) I made back at halloween. I used a basic recipe for export stout out of 'brewing classic styles' as my base and tweaked it a bit.

Just a couple of thoughts on your recipe. I have found that making an extract of spices, using vodka and the pumpkin pie spice, and using it at kegging time really works well in keeping the flavors around without any bitterness or other off flavors. Adding it at the boil time always seems to end up with not enough flavor coming through, or too much bitterness in overcoming the fade. Plus it is very easy to adjust the amount of spice by adding it a little at a time and tasting it as you go along.

The other thing I did differently, albeit a bit extreme, is to start with real pumpkin. I utilized a couple of pie pumpkins, roasted them in the oven for a couple of hours to free up the starch, and actually put them into the mash. I figure some of the sugars from the pumpkins must play out in the mash a bit. I've noticed that the beers that do this carry the 'weight' of the pumpkin more. You really get both the flavor, and a bit different mouth feel, with it. I'm not going to say it is definitively 'better', but it does make a difference that several people have enjoyed.

It was my first time brewing a pumpkin stout. I've brewed regular pumpkin ale on numerous occasions. After having a pumpkin stout at Cape Ann Brewing in Gloucester MA, and talking to the brewer, I figured I would give it a try. My girlfriend is a huge fan of pumpkin beer, so I am obligated to brew a few batches a year. Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome.

Jim
 

flabyboy

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I have lactose in this recipe.

OG is high, but i wanted to go big with this. Nice to know im not the only one looking for ideas. Have you thought about how you are going to ferment? How long in the primary? secondary? I know there is an ongoing debate about the need for a secondary, but what is normal for a stout? I was thinking at least 4-6 weeks of primary... possibly even 8, then bottle age for many months.
Sorry I missed the Lactose in there

wonder if anyone has racked on top of canned pumpkin in the secondary and let it sit there for a couple weeks??
 
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Brewtard16

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I actually just tapped my keg of pumpkin stout ( Black Lantern Stout, a play on my Jack's Lantern Ale ) I made back at halloween. I used a basic recipe for export stout out of 'brewing classic styles' as my base and tweaked it a bit.

Just a couple of thoughts on your recipe. I have found that making an extract of spices, using vodka and the pumpkin pie spice, and using it at kegging time really works well in keeping the flavors around without any bitterness or other off flavors. Adding it at the boil time always seems to end up with not enough flavor coming through, or too much bitterness in overcoming the fade. Plus it is very easy to adjust the amount of spice by adding it a little at a time and tasting it as you go along.

The other thing I did differently, albeit a bit extreme, is to start with real pumpkin. I utilized a couple of pie pumpkins, roasted them in the oven for a couple of hours to free up the starch, and actually put them into the mash. I figure some of the sugars from the pumpkins must play out in the mash a bit. I've noticed that the beers that do this carry the 'weight' of the pumpkin more. You really get both the flavor, and a bit different mouth feel, with it. I'm not going to say it is definitively 'better', but it does make a difference that several people have enjoyed.

It was my first time brewing a pumpkin stout. I've brewed regular pumpkin ale on numerous occasions. After having a pumpkin stout at Cape Ann Brewing in Gloucester MA, and talking to the brewer, I figured I would give it a try. My girlfriend is a huge fan of pumpkin beer, so I am obligated to brew a few batches a year. Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome.

Jim
Thanks Jim, great info.

Ill have to seriously think about how to deal with the pumpkin, adding at the mash sounds like a good idea. I have seen people do it both ways, but I have not seen much feedback on either method... so thank you.

Thanks for the heads up on the spice addition, I wasn't aware of the possible negatives of adding them to the boil. could you elaborate a little more on how to make a proper extract using vodka and spice? how much spice? how much vodka? etc. any info would help.

How did you ferment your pumpkin stout? how long did you primary? did you secondary?

lastly... how does your brew taste???? :D
 
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Brewtard16

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Sorry I missed the Lactose in there

wonder if anyone has racked on top of canned pumpkin in the secondary and let it sit there for a couple weeks??
No worries...

That is an interesting idea, would love to hear some thoughts on that!
 

clifwlkr

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Ill have to seriously think about how to deal with the pumpkin, adding at the mash sounds like a good idea. I have seen people do it both ways, but I have not seen much feedback on either method... so thank you.
Well adding it at the mash, if nothing else, makes dealing with it a lot easier. With the whole pumpkin chunks there is no chance of a stuck mash, as I cube it into like half inch cubes. Canned pumpkin might cause a stuck mash, but that seems like it could be avoided. Definitely something to keep in mind, though.

Thanks for the heads up on the spice addition, I wasn't aware of the possible negatives of adding them to the boil.
These are just my experiences with it. I know others have been successful adding it at all phases, I just like the very tight control I have of the levels of spice by adding it at kegging time.

could you elaborate a little more on how to make a proper extract using vodka and spice? how much spice? how much vodka? etc. any info would help.
Basically I used one of those whole rectangular metal spice box things ( The generic store brand kind ) in one of the normal size mason jars. Dumped the spices in, and filled almost all of the way up with vodka. I shook it well, let it sit about a week, shaking it every day until ready to use. I then filtered it through a fine mesh into another bottle. The spice will turn into this alien like goop that you definitely don't want in the beer. Odd enough, it is like gelatin at that point, so it is easy to prevent. I then use the vodka a little at a time. I used most of what I made on the stout.

How did you ferment your pumpkin stout? how long did you primary? did you secondary?
I have a conical, so no secondary for me. I believe it took about a month to settle down and hit the final gravity. I don't have my notes with me right no, but I know it was around that much. I let it sit in the keg, in a cool basement ( 55F ) from around halloween to last week.

lastly... how does your brew taste????
I am quite happy with it, as is my girlfriend. Has a nice roasted flavor that balances out the spices well. Almost like a flavored coffee does. Just a bit of sweetness from being an export stout, and adding a bit of dark crystal ( 120L ) to it. A cloying taste and mouthfeel of the pumpkin rounds it out pretty nice. Next time, however, I think I was a little heavy handed on the roasted flavor and could back off a bit on that. Clarity on these is never that great, as not all of the starches of the pumpkin convert, but that is to be expected. I will likely make a few minor tweaks, but it is definitely one to brew again next year. If nothing else, my girlfriend demands it :).

Jim
 
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Brewtard16

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Well adding it at the mash, if nothing else, makes dealing with it a lot easier. With the whole pumpkin chunks there is no chance of a stuck mash, as I cube it into like half inch cubes. Canned pumpkin might cause a stuck mash, but that seems like it could be avoided. Definitely something to keep in mind, though.



These are just my experiences with it. I know others have been successful adding it at all phases, I just like the very tight control I have of the levels of spice by adding it at kegging time.


Basically I used one of those whole rectangular metal spice box things ( The generic store brand kind ) in one of the normal size mason jars. Dumped the spices in, and filled almost all of the way up with vodka. I shook it well, let it sit about a week, shaking it every day until ready to use. I then filtered it through a fine mesh into another bottle. The spice will turn into this alien like goop that you definitely don't want in the beer. Odd enough, it is like gelatin at that point, so it is easy to prevent. I then use the vodka a little at a time. I used most of what I made on the stout.


I have a conical, so no secondary for me. I believe it took about a month to settle down and hit the final gravity. I don't have my notes with me right no, but I know it was around that much. I let it sit in the keg, in a cool basement ( 55F ) from around halloween to last week.



I am quite happy with it, as is my girlfriend. Has a nice roasted flavor that balances out the spices well. Almost like a flavored coffee does. Just a bit of sweetness from being an export stout, and adding a bit of dark crystal ( 120L ) to it. A cloying taste and mouthfeel of the pumpkin rounds it out pretty nice. Next time, however, I think I was a little heavy handed on the roasted flavor and could back off a bit on that. Clarity on these is never that great, as not all of the starches of the pumpkin convert, but that is to be expected. I will likely make a few minor tweaks, but it is definitely one to brew again next year. If nothing else, my girlfriend demands it :).

Jim
Thanks Jim, I appreciate the time you took to share your ideas.
 

TheMan

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I have not done a pumpkin stout, but have brewed a couple pumpkin ales. Definately go with the pumpkin in the mash. I believe even the commercial brewers favor this option. As for real vs. canned, I found real pie pumpkins made it better as well. I diced up the pumpkin and baked at 350 for 1 hour.

I like the spices added at about 1 minute left in the boil. It doesn't overpower the beer. I don't think you need the cinnamon and nutmeg if you are using pumpkin pie spice. Those are included in the pumpkin pie spice.

You don't need the biscuit for the "graham cracker crust" taste...that taste is in the spices and pumpkin in my opinion (spices only, in some people's mind). Good mouthfeel and nice spicing is the most important part of the recipe to get this effect.

Anywho, that's my $0.02...I will say the spiced recipes take a couple batches to get right where you want it. You'll have to experiment to find what you think works best.
 
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Brewtard16

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I have not done a pumpkin stout, but have brewed a couple pumpkin ales. Definately go with the pumpkin in the mash. I believe even the commercial brewers favor this option. As for real vs. canned, I found real pie pumpkins made it better as well. I diced up the pumpkin and baked at 350 for 1 hour.

I like the spices added at about 1 minute left in the boil. It doesn't overpower the beer. I don't think you need the cinnamon and nutmeg if you are using pumpkin pie spice. Those are included in the pumpkin pie spice.

You don't need the biscuit for the "graham cracker crust" taste...that taste is in the spices and pumpkin in my opinion (spices only, in some people's mind). Good mouthfeel and nice spicing is the most important part of the recipe to get this effect.

Anywho, that's my $0.02...I will say the spiced recipes take a couple batches to get right where you want it. You'll have to experiment to find what you think works best.
Thats 2 for pumpkin in the mash. Sounds like pumpkin in the mash it is. thanks
 
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Brewtard16

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What would anyone have to say about switching pale ale malt for maris otter... would that be too much "bready" flavor? sounds like maris otter may be a good choice for the stout that I am going for.
 

indigi

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truth is, i dont have much experience with these grains very much. When I read descriptions about them, some look so similar, but they must be different in some way... right? or not.
They are different in ways, but that usually only comes out if you're using them in larger amounts unless you've got a very refined palate.

I had the biscuit because I wanted to mimic the crust of a pumpkin pie. I had munich because I read it was sweeter and toasty, with more aroma. I thought they may complement each other well.
Toasting the oats will bring some of that baked, crumbly cookie/pie flavor over by itself, and the sweet bready notes from the Munich malt will compliment it nicely. Biscuit malt is great, too, and if you want to use that in place of the Munich it'd be fine.

Flaked oats and flaked barley... I was hoping to get input from experienced users on preference... I was leaning towards flaked barely to begin with.
Flaked barley is traditional in stouts, so you can't go wrong with that, but oats are also a common ingredient in sweet/specialty stouts. I haven't experimented with toasting flaked barley, though, so I don't know if you'd have the same results in terms of flavor as toasting oats.

I didnt have much roasted barley because I wanted it more for its color, than its flavor. Does it not have much flavor to begin with? so is cutting back useless.
You need some roastyness in stouts. 5-7% will give great color and won't be assertively roasty, I find that ~10% in a dry stout is nice. In a sweet stout the bitter roasty notes probably won't be as noticeable.
 
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