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Autumn Seasonal Beer Punkin' Ale

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CodeSection

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Unnecessary extra step. Libby's canned "pumpkin" comes already cooked. Just dump it in. 8oz per gallon. Transfer all of it to the fermenter.
You have been a great help and I appreciate it. Maybe you can help here as well. I'm considering brewing this or a recipe from BYO (Liquid Pumpkin Pie).

Would you suggest pouring the canned pumpkin into a hops bag and put it into the BK rather than pouring it directly into the BK?

I was thinking about mixing and making my own pumpkin spice by using this recipe https://www.dessertnowdinnerlater.com/homemade-pumpkin-pie-spice/. Have you tried making your own spice mix or do you have a suggestion what might work best?

This recipe has you adding the spices at the five minute mark of the boil. BYO's recipe adds it at flame out. When I brew my Christmas Ale (from a recipe on HBT), spices are adding to the priming sugar and the are put into a French press for 20 minutes. Then it is poured into the bottling bucket. Will adding the spices to the BK for the Pumpkin Ale at or near flame out diminish their flavor as opposed to adding them via the priming sugar/French press as described above?

Have you tried adding any other ingredients to the recipe like honey?

Have you changed the grain base in any way from the original recipe? I was thinking of splitting 50/50 with GW 2-row and Golden Promise.

I'm considering multi step mash as opposed to a single infusion. Have you tried that?

I realize I just typed and asked several questions directed toward you. That was not fair to ask you to answer them all. So, if any others want to post their experiences or suggestions, I would appreciate that as well.
 

RPh_Guy

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Would you suggest pouring the canned pumpkin into a hops bag and put it into the BK rather than pouring it directly into the BK?
It's pureed. I'm pretty sure it won't stay contained, but you're more than welcome to try and report back. :)

Have you tried making your own spice mix or do you have a suggestion what might work best?
I'm having trouble organizing all my thoughts on this, so bear with me...

I've brewed a bunch of spiced ales, ciders, and meads, and I've never used a pre-blended spice mix. I use individual spices, and usually purchased in whole form. In various brews I've used [Saigon] cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg that I grate myself, whole cloves, ginger that I grate myself, molasses, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla beans, as well as pre-ground spices back when I started brewing.

It's been very hard to nail down the exact spice profile I want when adding spices in the boil. Freshness of the spice makes a HUGE impact on the amount of flavor it contributes. For example, freshly ground nutmeg has waaaaay more flavor than pre-ground nutmeg, like WOW. Therefore I'm pretty sure following spice recipes is completely pointless because results will vary dramatically. Combine that with the fact that we all have different tastes... In my opinion, you're better off controlling the the amounts yourself judging by your palate using the particular spices you have.

So, if you're like me and want to go through the effort to tune the spice profile to your preference, I'd strongly suggest making hot spice teas and dosing the beer at packaging. Otherwise it's a total crapshoot.

Individual spices:
I've used straight molasses, and it's really good right up until it ferments out, and then it's quite terrible. Brown sugar seems like it contributes good flavor though, which doesn't seem logical. Maybe only very small amounts of molasses are ok.

For vanilla I cut up the beans into small pieces with scissors, put those in a jar, and cover with bourbon. Apply the lid. That gets gently stirred on a stir plate for a couple days, just enough speed to keep it all moving.

For ginger, the length of the boil affects how spicy it is. If you like the heat, use a shorter boil, otherwise boil it longer.

Heat seems to bring down the spicy hotness of cinnamon also.
There are several types of cinnamon, so make sure you have the one you want. You can break up the sticks to increase the fresh flavor without needed to grate them.

Be very conservative with freshly grated spices. They are very potent. I learned that the hard way by adding fresh ground spice in the boil based on a previous non-fresh spice amount.

Spice flavor in general does seem to hold pretty well through fermentation, with the exception of molasses, honey, and probably vanilla.

Have you changed the grain base in any way from the original recipe? I was thinking of splitting 50/50 with GW 2-row and Golden Promise.
Not trying to derail the thread, but I use a completely different grain bill than the OP.
Article:
https://beerandbrewing.com/brewing-the-perfect-pumpkin-ale/
Recipe:
https://beerandbrewing.com/perfect-pumpkin-ale-recipe/
I obviously don't follow everything he suggests exactly (I can't even find the particular pumpkins he recommends), but the grain bill, yeast, gravity, and IBU in the recipe are excellent imo. I'm sure this would be a great beer even without the pumpkin and spice.

I'm considering multi step mash as opposed to a single infusion. Have you tried that?
I've only done 2 step mashes ever, so I can't really comment on that.

Hope that answers everything! Cheers
 
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CodeSection

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It's pureed. I'm pretty sure it won't stay contained, but you're more than welcome to try and report back. :)


I'm having trouble organizing all my thoughts on this, so bear with me...

I've brewed a bunch of spiced ales, ciders, and meads, and I've never used a pre-blended spice mix. I use individual spices, and usually purchased in whole form. In various brews I've used [Saigon] cinnamon sticks, whole nutmeg that I grate myself, whole cloves, ginger that I grate myself, molasses, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla beans, as well as other pre-ground spices back when I started brewing.

It's been very hard to nail down the exact spice profile I want when adding spices in the boil. Freshness of the spice makes a HUGE impact on the amount of flavor it contributes. For example, freshly ground nutmeg has waaaaay more flavor than pre-ground nutmeg, like WOW. Therefore I'm pretty sure following spice recipes is completely pointless because results will vary dramatically. Combine that with the fact that we all have different tastes... In my opinion, you're better off controlling the the amounts yourself judging by your palate using the particular spices you have.

So, if you're like me and want to go through the effort to tune the spice profile to your preference, I'd strongly suggest making hot spice teas and dosing the beer at packaging. Otherwise it's a total crapshoot.

Individual spices:
I've used straight molasses, and it's really good right up until it ferments out, and then it's quite terrible. Brown sugar seems like it contributes good flavor though, which doesn't seem logical. Maybe only very small amounts of molasses are ok.

For vanilla I cut up the beans into small pieces with scissors, put those in a jar, and cover with bourbon. Apply the lid. That gets gently stirred on a stir plate for a couple days, just enough speed to keep it all moving.

For ginger, the length of the boil affects how spicy it is. If you like the heat, use a shorter boil, otherwise boil it longer.

Heat seems to bring down the spicy hotness of cinnamon also.
There are several types of cinnamon, so make sure you have the one you want. You can break up the sticks to increase the fresh flavor without needed to grate them.

Be very conservative with freshly grated spices. They are very potent. I learned that the hard way by adding fresh ground spice in the boil based on a previous non-fresh spice amount.

Spice flavor in general does seem to hold pretty well through fermentation, with the exception of molasses, honey, and probably vanilla.


Not trying to derail the thread, but I use a completely different grain bill than the OP.
Article:
https://beerandbrewing.com/brewing-the-perfect-pumpkin-ale/
Recipe:
https://beerandbrewing.com/perfect-pumpkin-ale-recipe/
I obviously don't follow everything he suggests exactly (I can't even find the particular pumpkins he recommends), but the grain bill, yeast, gravity, and IBU in the recipe are excellent imo. I'm sure this would be a great beer even without the pumpkin and spice.


I've only done 2 step mashes ever, so I can't really comment on that.

Hope that answers everything! Cheers
Thank you so much! You gave me a lot of great suggestions and additional reading material! I appreciate it very much!
 

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The best pumpkin beer I have ever tasted was entered in competition by SGT. Scott Jackson.
It was brought to my attention maybe 6-8 years ago during compitition. A grand Master judge handed me a sample and said " What do you think?" I thought it was fabulous. I contacted Scott that night and we made arangements to brew this beer at Staiton 26. There will be more photos later
 

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Sorry, I guess I removed those pictures from my phone.
Anyway, the recipe was published in Zymurgy. If you are a member of AHA you can find it here: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipe/saison-dpotiron-pocahontas-pumpkin-ale/

It uses a combination of 2 row and 6 row with canned pumpkin in the mash, along with biscuit, melanoiden and some light crystal. There is maple syrup and honey added at the end of the boil.

The MOST important part was to use ONLY McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice in it. Scott tried different brands and blending spices himself. He says the McCormick give the best, traditional pumpkin pie aroma and flavor.

This recipe was also discussed here on HBT some time ago: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/zymurgy-pocahontas-pumpkin-ale-2013.429819/

Scaling up from 12 gallons to 500 gallons was interesting. Trying to find 250 lbs of canned pumpkin was a challenge. It was also an expensive beer to make as I used 120 lbs of wildflower honey and 120 lbs of Very Dark Strong Maple Syrup from Bascom Farms.

It did turn out very, very good. Scott ended up with a 5 gallon keg of it each year we made it.
 
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Gonna brew this up tomorrow. I can appreciate a simple recipe. I've seen a lot of Pumkin Ale's with super complex malt bills and I'm just not a fan. I'll report back later after the brew (maybe).
p.s. subscribed.
 

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Gonna brew this up tomorrow. I can appreciate a simple recipe. I've seen a lot of Pumkin Ale's with super complex malt bills and I'm just not a fan. I'll report back later after the brew (maybe).
p.s. subscribed.
I promise you won’t be disappointed. Definitely let it age as others have said and it will be perfect.
 

CodeSection

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...It uses a combination of 2 row and 6 row with canned pumpkin in the mash, along with biscuit, melanoiden and some light crystal. There is maple syrup and honey added at the end of the boil.

The MOST important part was to use ONLY McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice in it. Scott tried different brands and blending spices himself. He says the McCormick give the best, traditional pumpkin pie aroma and flavor.

This recipe was also discussed here on HBT some time ago: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/zymurgy-pocahontas-pumpkin-ale-2013.429819/
I had family visiting over the weekend and last night we went to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse and I had their Pumpkin Spice Ale.....it was delicious! Tonight, I finally was able to read the article and recipe. I'm going to brew this recipe instead. Thank you to you and @RPh_Guy for providing the recipe!

Just a couple of quick questions:
1) the recipe calls for 6 Row; have you tried it with GW 2 row? Or should I stay with 100% 6 Row? I have plenty of GW 2 Row. I believe 6 Row has DP 160 vs GW DP 141.
2) I have WLP001 and US05 on hand; did you stay with WLP008 or have you tried using others?
 

Wayne1

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I used Rahr 2 and 6 row standard. Mashing the pumpkin does require a bit more DP. Cost is the same. I split it 50/50. I used US-05 with good results. I subbed Biscuit for Victory as that is what the distributor closest to me carries. Same for Rahr.
 

CodeSection

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I used Rahr 2 and 6 row standard. Mashing the pumpkin does require a bit more DP. Cost is the same. I split it 50/50. I used US-05 with good results. I subbed Biscuit for Victory as that is what the distributor closest to me carries. Same for Rahr.
Thanks for the info. Just got off the phone with my LHBS. They have limited amounts of 6 Row and Victory. They are going to pull from other stores in the Phoenix area. I told them if they did not have enough Victory, to substitute Biscuit. I should have everything by Thursday afternoon.
 

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I promise you won’t be disappointed. Definitely let it age as others have said and it will be perfect.
Ugh, but I'm not very patient! The wort was SO tasty, and I'm really itching to try this one. I'm sure I'd end up saving just enough to regret not saving more ha!
 

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I've brewed a 1.075 Pumpkin Ale a few years ago, putting the canned, then baked puree (for 2 hours!) in the mash, as in the OP and Zymurgy article. I'm ready for a new batch.

It yielded a really nice deep orange color, good mouthfeel, but very little if any pumpkin flavor. I kept my spices very low, on purpose, well below anything in recipes. All I want is just a hint of that spice, no more. I actually had added too much already and it took almost a year in the keg (~65F) to "age out" and come into its own. It was very yummy at that point, wish I had made a double batch.

Now I had used 75 oz (5 small cans, or nearly 5 pounds) per 5 gallon, almost double that of the 3 pounds in the recipes, and it was still barely tangible. My notes actually say I may want to double that, so 8-10 cans/pounds per 5 gallons.

Aside from a huge trub load, what benefit would adding the puree to the boil offer? Added 10 minutes before flameout, or earlier? Should some pectin enzyme be used in that scenario and when? If so, before adding the puree to the boil I guess?
 

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I've brewed a 1.075 Pumpkin Ale a few years ago, putting the canned, then baked puree (for 2 hours!) in the mash, as in the OP and Zymurgy article. I'm ready for a new batch.

It yielded a really nice deep orange color, good mouthfeel, but very little if any pumpkin flavor. I kept my spices very low, on purpose, well below anything in recipes. All I want is just a hint of that spice, no more. I actually had added too much already and it took almost a year in the keg (~65F) to "age out" and come into its own. It was very yummy at that point, wish I had made a double batch.

Now I had used 75 oz (5 small cans, or nearly 5 pounds) per 5 gallon, almost double that of the 3 pounds in the recipes, and it was still barely tangible. My notes actually say I may want to double that, so 8-10 cans/pounds per 5 gallons.

Aside from a huge trub load, what benefit would adding the puree to the boil offer? Added 10 minutes before flameout, or earlier? Should some pectin enzyme be used in that scenario and when? If so, before adding the puree to the boil I guess?
I have only been brewing for a little over 6 months, so what I have to say doesn’t really apply to brewing. Having said that, I consider myself an above average home cook and I do know that Pumpkin is used in many dishes but it does not impart much flavor. Anything with pumpkin in it is usually accompanied by something else to provide flavor.

I believe in most brews, including this recipe, the pumpkin is used for color and you could even say authenticity in calling it a pumpkin beer. I can’t even believe that after roasting it that it provides much in the way of fermentable sugars.

That’s just my .02 and I have nothing but anecdotal experience to back it up.
 

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@RPh_Guy and @Wayne1 just got into the office after an all nighter brewing the Pocahontas Pumpkin Ale. What a workout! After reading problems others were having with using Libby's Pure Pumpkin, I increased the rice hulls by 1.5 times and reduced the pumpkin to three cans (5lbs 7oz) rather than six pounds for my 10 gallon batch. I recirculated a trickle and even then that did not prevent getting a stuck sparge every 8-10 minutes.

This was not an enjoyable experience as my body is aching all over. I am so grateful I had a 36" SS paddle! It felt as if I was rowing a boat all night. Man that pumpkin is gooey! While this was the longest brew for me ever, I kept saying I had to experience it and that I would not brew this recipe again. That was until I tasted the wort.... Perhaps next time I will try even less pumpkin.

EDIT: @IslandLizard, thank you for pointing that out. I guess you can tell I haven't slept in 29 hours.....it should be 10 gallons, not 1 gallon.
 
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RPh_Guy

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I feel your pain, CodeSection.

The first time I made the Pocahontas Pumpkin Ale Recipe, I also used canned pumpkin.
This was a 15 bbl batch so there was a bit more to add in.

upload_2019-11-16_8-28-42.jpeg


It did take some time to add all that to the mash tun. Lauter also took a bit longer.

The next year I used https://milnefruit.com/pumpkin.html a pumpkin juice concentrate.
 

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^^^^Wow!.....and here I thought I had it hard! Good tip on the concentrate.

My body is definitely still feeling the effects of the brew. Going up and down a long staircase several times to get coffee to stay awake didn't help much either.

Today should be less stressful as I'm going to put on labels on eight cases of bottles so that I can start handing them out to clients starting next week.
 

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Hi HBT, first post here. So I brewed this recipe today. Brewed it twice last fall and loved it so I figured Labor Day would be a perfect time to repeat. I only deviated from the recipe a little by cutting back to 8oz of brown sugar, added 4oz of flaked oats, 6oz of carapils and threw another ounce of hops in a whirlpool.

The pumpkin I added to an old brew bag and steeped in the brew kettle while getting the strike water up to temperature. Pulled the bag and drained for a few. I hit target of 156f but oddly enough was down to 149f after the hour mash. I typically only lose 3 - 4 degrees so not sure what that was about or how it may affect my FG.

Planning to leave it in primary for 3 weeks, cold crash for a few days and hopefully leave the keg alone until Halloween, not sure if that’s going to happen though. Thanks Reno for the recipe and all of the HBT crew for the very informative thread.
 

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Hi HBT, first post here. So I brewed this recipe today. Brewed it twice last fall and loved it so I figured Labor Day would be a perfect time to repeat. I only deviated from the recipe a little by cutting back to 8oz of brown sugar, added 4oz of flaked oats, 6oz of carapils and threw another ounce of hops in a whirlpool.

The pumpkin I added to an old brew bag and steeped in the brew kettle while getting the strike water up to temperature. Pulled the bag and drained for a few. I hit target of 156f but oddly enough was down to 149f after the hour mash. I typically only lose 3 - 4 degrees so not sure what that was about or how it may affect my FG.

Planning to leave it in primary for 3 weeks, cold crash for a few days and hopefully leave the keg alone until Halloween, not sure if that’s going to happen though. Thanks Reno for the recipe and all of the HBT crew for the very informative thread.
I'm actually brewing the original recipe today, but I'm intrigued by your processes. Let us know how it works out! Been making it for Thanksgiving e for years and this year the in laws requested it!
 

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I’m going to have to go back and read this whole thread. Just brewed mine on the 5 and kegged this morning. I’ll have to compare my recipe to ones posted here
 

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Think i'll brew this on Columbus day.
my oven is broke so i need to use the toaster oven to cook one can at a time. lol!

should be ready by November.
 

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this is cooling now.
my pumkin pie filling was allready spiced and it seemed somewhat strong so I only went with half a teaspoon of pie spice.
I tossed the roasted pumpkin in with the mash BIAB and mixed it in.
it smelled like a pumpkin pie in my back yard for the last hour.

though over shot the OG a tad.
came in at 1.079. :eek: hope the FG is on the high side.
 
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So brewed this a little over a month ago and it is now carbed up. I used 3 29oz cans of oven roasted Pumpkin Purée and Crystal 90 instead of 60

Using a first generation Grainfather, mashed real high at 157. The mash was a real mess, spent most of the time stirring to keep it from turning into a doughball

Added 1.5 ounces of EKG at 60 min
SafAle 04 at 63 F

There was almost a gallon of trub.

Added after fermentation complete
.5 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
.5 Teaspoon Kroger Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Vanilla Bean chopped up

Clocked in at 1.061
Final Gravity 1.011
So 6.5%

Very clear with subtle pumpkin, spice and vanilla on the nose and in the beer, I think the 90 Crystal gives the impression of pumpkin in the beer a lift. More body than you would expect from a beer that finished at 1.011, based on the comments I would attribute that to the pumpkin

Definitely a great autumn brew
Malt Bill
Malt NameWeightPPGSRMType
Maris Otter– 4°L11.00 lbs1.0384.00Mashed Grain
Pumpkin Puree5.50 lbs1.0045.00Mashed Grain
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 90L1.00 lbs1.03390.00Mashed Grain
Biscuit Malt1.00 lbs1.03623.00Mashed Grain
Rice Hulls1.00 lbs1.0000.00Extract/Adjunct
 

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ok,
OG 1.079
FG 1.010

ABV% higher than expected.
I wonder if letting the mash sit for a few hrs while I left the house for an errand has something to do with the increased efficiency.

I have to say though, the hydro sample tasted amazing.
the pumpkin and spice is there but not overly.

I'll keg this and let it naturally carb for the next few weeks on my basement floor.
 

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so, just tapped this keg.
it's still a little flat but this is tasting like a very dangerous beer.
it's so easy drinking you would never guess it was 9%.
 

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Just kegged my last patch of punkin. I keep trying to get a great recipe and just tasting what was in the tube when I took the FG... I think I may have a winner!!
I burst carb’d it so I’ll know in an hour or so.
This is the first time I added vanilla and graham extract. So fingers crossed
 

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Going for a double post!!
I tried it about 2 hours after force carbing and it was a little under carbed.
but I tried it tonight and it is a WINNER!
I don’t know where I read or seen it but they said to add graham extract. And that’s what I’ve been missing.
any pumpkin I’ve tried to make the past 5 - 6 years have always been missing something. All I could really taste is cinnamon and pie spice.
Using the graham leaves a little sweet caramel aftertaste once the cinnamon fades.
I will be adding this to my rotation year round it’s that good.
it was just a basic recipe but I got distracted while mashing and missed my numbers and it only came out at about 4%. So instead of calling it a lawnmower beer I’m calling this one a leaf raking beer.
50C27FDE-4B18-43EB-8F37-C58A070426EF.jpeg
 
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