Pumpkin Spiced Ale

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craig_reed

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So I brewed my first batch of Pumpkin ale last weekend. I cut up a whole pumpkin (9lbs) that yielded about 5lbs of meat. I cubed, and baked them in the oven at 350 for a little over an hour with a 1/2 of water in the pan. Pumpkin turned out great!

Steeped my grains, and boiled all of my ingredients accordingly (if interested I can post my recipe as well!) but I put the chunked up pumpkin directly into the boil during the last 45 minutes of it.

Upon boil completion and transfer to primary, I strained out the pumpkin along with my hops. The color was phenomenal! A golden, burnt orange color that looked great.

Do you think I will have a strong enough pumkin flavor? I can't wait until this weekend when I rack it to my secondary to taste. I am toying with the idea of possibly adding some canned pumpkin to the secondary and racking on top of it. Any ideas?

I forgot to add my aroma hops to the last 10 minutes of my boil as well, so I just threw them into my primary- will leave them behind when racking to secondary (through strainer).
 

BarronVonCharron

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The guys I know that have made a pumpkin beer with real pumpkin, put it into the primary and some in the secondary. I think if you put some canned pumpkin into the secondary that would be a good thing for a couple reasons, the first being canned pumpkin is easier to use than real (but might not taste as good), the second and more important reason being that since it's canned it's serile so your risk of infection should be much lower. I wouldn't sweat the hops too much (i'm not big on the hop flavor though). Did you put in any pumpkin spice? For what it's worth, very rarely does a pumpkin beer come out bad, and if you haven't added the spice you could put it in when you drink it, might be a nice touch if serving at a party.
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Yes, I added fresh nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, and ginger all with my vanilla extract (secret ingredient) with 10 minutes left in the boil. I plan on tasting it after the first week in the primary before racking to secondary to see how much/little pumpkin flavor there is.

The color was spot on lending me to believe pumpkin definitely got into the boil, how much flavor remains after fermentation however, is yet to be determined. Will keep you updated. Entered recipe into Beersmith today
 

DoctorB2B

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You're pumpkin sounds like mine .... only difference .... I used about 5lbs pumpkin meat and an entire butternut squash ... and instead of vanilla extract, I threw an entire vanilla bean in .... bottled it tonight ... I'm pysched to try it in a couple of weeks!!!

Cheers to ya!!
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Doctor - that sounds good. Not exactly sure what the squash would add to it (never really eat squash!) but I know it has similar flavor profile. I did want to use a vanilla bean, but wanted to make sure there was enough vanilla background to the beer.

Have you tested out your beer yet? Do you get a good vanilla flavor or can you even tell? Did you add the bean to the boil or fermenter? I can't wait to try mine either - probably around Halloween it'll be ready. Going to do the 1-2-3 method. What did you do?
 

DoctorB2B

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Doctor - that sounds good. Not exactly sure what the squash would add to it (never really eat squash!) but I know it has similar flavor profile. I did want to use a vanilla bean, but wanted to make sure there was enough vanilla background to the beer.

Have you tested out your beer yet? Do you get a good vanilla flavor or can you even tell? Did you add the bean to the boil or fermenter? I can't wait to try mine either - probably around Halloween it'll be ready. Going to do the 1-2-3 method. What did you do?
I got the squash idea from Williamsburg Alewerks ... their pumpkin ale (going to be viral this year along with their Cafe Royale) was actually brewed with butternut because of the pumpkin shortage. So, instead of just using one, I justed both. Raw vanilla beans are pretty potent. I definitely detect it in the nose and it seems to have balanced itself well with the spices.

I tasted it .... and I'm satisfied with my first brew. I kept the brew in the primary for 2 weeks and it'll bottle condition for 2-3 weeks ...
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Interesting. Sounds great! But you didn't secondary ferment at all? I think I am going to so I end up with a clearer beer in the end. I hope I get the vanilla background nose you are talking about with yours. I don't want it to be prominent, but I would like to have that slight "ooooh what's that" taste.
 

BarronVonCharron

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Raw vanilla beans are pretty potent. I definitely detect it in the nose and it seems to have balanced itself well with the spices.
So how potent are vanilla beans? I put 6 of them into a very strong tasting and ABV (11.5%) beer during the boil to smooth out the flavor between the chocolate, cherry and sherry, but it wasn't even detectable when I sampled it on it's way into bottles a couple weeks ago. I guess I'll try it again in a few weeks to see how it's going.
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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So how potent are vanilla beans? I put 6 of them into a very strong tasting and ABV (11.5%) beer during the boil to smooth out the flavor between the chocolate, cherry and sherry, but it wasn't even detectable when I sampled it on it's way into bottles a couple weeks ago. I guess I'll try it again in a few weeks to see how it's going.
Well if you want the vanilla flavor you should add them after fermenting or else the yeast will eat that too! Which may be why you don't have a vanilla flavor. I plan on putting one or two tbsp vanilla extract into my secondary fermenter and racking on top of it.
 

BarronVonCharron

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Well if you want the vanilla flavor you should add them after fermenting or else the yeast will eat that too! Which may be why you don't have a vanilla flavor. I plan on putting one or two tbsp vanilla extract into my secondary fermenter and racking on top of it.
That would definitely explain the lack of vanilla:(... but now I know, and knowing is half the battle:mug:
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Just racked my Vanilla Pumpkin Spice to the secondary - yielding just less than 5 gallons so far. Great burnt orange/brown color and the sample I had at the end was great! Well, as great as a warm, flat beer can taste.

I didn't add more vanilla like I thought I would. I figure I will take a taste out in a few weeks before bottling and if I want to add some more vanilla/spice I will just combine it with my DME I have for priming.

Thoughts?
 

BarronVonCharron

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I like your method, if tastes how you like it don't add stuff just to add stuff. I think if more people did this with their beers they would be a lot happier with the results. It's funny you mention how good a warm flat beer can taste, one of mine was pretty good too at the secondary to bottling time and amazing after a month of conditioning. Keep us posted on how strong or weak the vanilla and spice get, I'm very curios about this because I think my next brew will be a cherry vanilla stout and I want the vanilla to really be there using beans instead of extract.
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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That sounds great. It's funny you mention that because my next beer I think is going to be a Vanilla Stout. I would have used beans, but here in WA they are currently at like $14/$15 for ONE vanilla bean. CRAZY!

I think my LHBS has some there, but they are like flash frozen or something - so decided on this to just use PURE vanilla extract. I will keep you posted. Posting my recipe for my Simtra IPA (Sly PA) under extract in a few minutes. Good grapefruity hops taste and smell
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Damn - I did find some at my LHBS for $5 for one bean so I think my local grocery store is just trying to pull a fast one on us locals because I couldn't bring myself to do that! Here is the recipe I used:

7lb Pale Malt Extract
1lb 20 Lovibond crystal malt (to keep it as lighter color)
2 oz Willamette hops (60 min) 10 HBU
1/2 oz Cascade hops (60 min) 2.5 HBU
1 oz Mt. Hood hops (15 min)

10 lb Whole Pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract (substitute 1-2 vanilla beans) (10 min)
1/2 tsp freshy ground nutmeg (10 min)
1/4 tsp ground allspice (10 min)
1/2 tsp ground dried ginger (10 min)
1/2 tsp (1g) irish moss (15 min)

WLP001 (California Ale Yeast)

OG: 1.069
FG: 1.018

Gutted pumpkin as if I were carving a jack o lantern. removed skin from pumpkin and cubed up the entire pumpkin yielding about 5.5lbs of clean pumpkin meat. Put on a baking sheet with 1/2inch water and baked at 350degrees for an hour (or until tender to touch). Put into a straining bag (for easy removal) and put directly in the boil at the 40 min mark (40 minute remaining) and essentially let steep. Pumpkin was so soft that some of it would escape through the bag (desired) and the rest just emitted a beautiful burnt orange color and flavor.

After the boil I removed the pumpkin from the boil and let drain (like specialty grains) poured hot water through it and even mashed a little more out of it using my boil spoon. Discarded pumpkin.

It looks like it is going to be a wonderful brew. Looks beautiful in the carboy and would post pictures but am not a premier member. Great burnt orange color and like I mentioned the taste was great. Not overpowering pumpkin flavor, which is what I was going for, with a creamy but light finish due to the vanilla. The spices worked well to create a terrific overall profile, but nothing overly spicy. Excited to try this one at its prime -

Let me know if you have any questions!

Enjoy!
 

jgod4520

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I'd really like to make this beer. I've been looking around for an extract pumpkin ale recipe for a while now and this sounds like exactly what I was looking for, but did you use whole hops or pellets? I just typed your recipe into qbrew and it came out at 53 IBU's. That seems pretty bitter. I'm new to homebrewing, so I hope I'm not missing something obvious, but that number is higher than I was expecting for a pumpkin ale.

I hope you're excited for that tangelo hefe. I'm about to bottle a tangelo wit and the hydrometer samples taste fantastic.
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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:off: The tangelo hef I have in my primary in my bathtub of my spare bathroom. My entire bathroom smells like HEAVEN! I can't wait to give that bad boy a try!

Back the the pumpkin - I used whole leave hops, no pellets. It really was not overpowering at all! I love me a good IPA, probably my favorite style, especially, the extra hoppy dry versions we have here in the Northwest, but that was not what I was going for on any level.

They are balanced out by all of the spices, the pumpkin, and the vanilla, and to be honest, there is no bitterness at all.

As I have posted, I am giving a little more time in the secondary (probably 10 more days or so, just to mellow out as one big batch) and then will rack to my bottling bucket, where I will taste again to see where the vanilla stands. I did not want an overwhelming PUMPKIN taste, and I think I have achieved just that with this beer.

Plan on addining maybe 2 oz of extract to the priming solution, if I want more of that full "pumpkin pie with whipped cream" flavor - I will update. :mug:
 

Wetgoat54

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Just as clarification since I you said you add the pumpkin at 20 minutes in (40 left on boil), do you add the spices you listed at 10 minutes (50 left) or at 50 minutes (10 left)?
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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50 minutes (10 minutes left) you could even add them ad the end of the boil if desired.
 
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craig_reed

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Updated: I just bottled this on Saturday, and boy was it delicious! I decided to use brown sugar as my priming sugar and couldn't be happier with the flavor! When it is cold and carbed - this will be one of the best beers I have made.

Will update with pictures in a few weeks
 

Loudog

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Hey Craig, I have a few questions... How much brown suger did you add to your batch? I'm assuming it's 5gals. was the vanilla over powering? and Last I was thinking about adding pumpkin to my winter spiced ale when I rack to the secondary but not sure how much, any thoughts... I'm kinda looking for that same Pumpkin pie beer too.

Any help or thoughts would be a great.
 
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craig_reed

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Did you add anything to the Secondary like you where planning on?
Hey sorry for not getting back to you sooner! No I ended up keeping it as is, because it had the perfect "cream" taste I was going for.

I included it in a pumpkin beer tasting panel, and have had 5-6 people wanting to buy sixers off of me!

Thinking about brewing this up again this weekend, because I cannot keep enough on hand!
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Hey Craig, I have a few questions... How much brown suger did you add to your batch? I'm assuming it's 5gals. was the vanilla over powering? and Last I was thinking about adding pumpkin to my winter spiced ale when I rack to the secondary but not sure how much, any thoughts... I'm kinda looking for that same Pumpkin pie beer too.

Any help or thoughts would be a great.
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner Lou, been working on starting a new business venture!

This pumpkin beer is the best I have had. If I had any complaints, there is not enough "spice" flavor. I can definitely taste it, but it is probably mellowed out by the vanilla I added. As I mentioned, I didn't add any additional vanilla to the secondary, and it has been in the bottle now for 3 1/2 weeks.

To answer your questions, I used 2/3 cup brown sugar with 2 cups water, brought to a boil and added to bottling bucket. This was the best thing I could of done to this beer in my opinion - it brings out a remarkable flavor and as I have mentioned friends of mine are willing to buy this beer off of me because I can't bring it to myself to give more than a beer or two away to them!

2nd - if you do add pumpkin to the secondary. I would recommend skinning the pumpking, chunking it into cubes, and baking it before adding it into the secondary.

I can't speak to keeping it in the secondary, as I only used the pumpkin meat in my boil, and it has just enough pumpkin flavor, without the pumpkin PUNCH in the face I was trying to avoid.

Probably the best beer I have brewed, and planning on making more this weekend (if I can find the pumpkin around - they removed pumpkins from all grocery stores the day after Halloween here! Might try canned (blah!)

Not sure!

Let me know if you have any other questions. I paid a little more for the freshest of all ingredients- :mug:
 

Loudog

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Hey Craig, thanks for the reply. So I went ahead an added 3 cans of pumpkin on Sunday it seems to have lost some sweetness and not sure why?? The clove is still there but it seems to be a bit better. I'm planing on bottling this batch to see how it comes out over time , So if I decide to do it again next year I will know what I want to change or keep the same. I'am going to try the brown suger and see if that sweet-ins it up.
..
Thanks again for the Help
 

mike_23us

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Brewed this Sunday, Can't wait to taste it. I cut the recipe in half and only made 2.5 Gallons now I think I should of made a full batch!!! Maybe next year.
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Brewed this Sunday, Can't wait to taste it. I cut the recipe in half and only made 2.5 Gallons now I think I should of made a full batch!!! Maybe next year.
You will be sorry you only did a 1/2 batch! People are banging down my door for me to brew more. It's a local treasure!

Did you use fresh pumpkin?
 
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craig_reed

craig_reed

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Hey Craig, thanks for the reply. So I went ahead an added 3 cans of pumpkin on Sunday it seems to have lost some sweetness and not sure why?? The clove is still there but it seems to be a bit better. I'm planing on bottling this batch to see how it comes out over time , So if I decide to do it again next year I will know what I want to change or keep the same. I'am going to try the brown suger and see if that sweet-ins it up.
..
Thanks again for the Help
When you say you added 3 cans of pumpkin, did you add it to the boil? Primary? Where?

When did you taste it to notice it has lost it's sweetness? Did you use the exact recipe as I did?
 

Loudog

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I added the pumpkin to the seconary, and I noticed the the loss of sweetness yesterday.
 

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Just a note. I did a pumpkin porter yesterday. I took an actual Jack-O-Lantern (It was refrigerated outside in my neck of the woods) and just hacked it up and baked it with the peel on. The peeling comes off easily after it is baked for a while.

Then I boiled it down mashed it with a potato masher and used one of these hand held food processors to get it broken up really fine.

I poured it on top of my grain bed at sparge and used that as a filter to keep the pumpkin mush from getting all the way to the wort kettle.
 
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craig_reed

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Curious if anyone has updates on this beer they brewed? I still have 4 or 5 22oz bottles remaining from my second batch. Now they have been aged for 9 months or so, and are amazing. The spices have died down a bit, but the creamy vanilla pumpkin flavor is still there.

Thick creamy head on it!

As soon as fresh pumpkin becomes available here, it will be time to brew again! :ban:
 

DoctorB2B

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I actually do still have about 4 12oz bottles left .... I've had a few over the past few days ... still good surprisingly. I figured by this point that they would taste like cardboard, but nope ... delicious!!!
 

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There are a couple of bottles of this left at a friend's house. It has mellowed, but is still delicious. I was thinking that it will soon be time to brew this recipe again for the holidays...
 

NCBeernut

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The guys I know that have made a pumpkin beer with real pumpkin, put it into the primary and some in the secondary. I think if you put some canned pumpkin into the secondary that would be a good thing for a couple reasons, the first being canned pumpkin is easier to use than real (but might not taste as good), the second and more important reason being that since it's canned it's serile so your risk of infection should be much lower. I wouldn't sweat the hops too much (i'm not big on the hop flavor though). Did you put in any pumpkin spice? For what it's worth, very rarely does a pumpkin beer come out bad, and if you haven't added the spice you could put it in when you drink it, might be a nice touch if serving at a party.
Why do you think that canned pumpkin is sterile?

Pumpkin is best added to the mash so that you are not adding a bunch of unconverted starch to your beer, and it will then go through the boil so that infection is not a factor. I honestly can't think of a worse spot to add pumpkin that secondary. Yeah, I am sure people have had their pumpkin ales turn out ok doing it in secondary, I am just saying that there is a better way to do it.
 

pkananen

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Why do you think that canned pumpkin is sterile?

Pumpkin is best added to the mash so that you are not adding a bunch of unconverted starch to your beer, and it will then go through the boil so that infection is not a factor. I honestly can't think of a worse spot to add pumpkin that secondary. Yeah, I am sure people have had their pumpkin ales turn out ok doing it in secondary, I am just saying that there is a better way to do it.
canned food is cooked in the can...so anything living will be dead.
 

NCBeernut

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canned food is cooked in the can...so anything living will be dead.
Is that true for all canned food? I'm definitely not arguing with you, I have just never heard of that. What about canned fruits or uncooked canned stuff?
 

motleybrews

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man, i'm sure glad you guys bumped this back up to the top. i've been looking for a good pumpkin brew. i think i'm going to start this one once i bottle my current (first) brew.

hey Craig, after tasting the beer 9 months (and i'm sure at least a few more brews) later, is there anything you would change? i saw you mentioned the only complaint was people wanted more spices.

cheers
 

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