Author Topic: Pumpkin technique help  (Read 645 times)

Offline CroceBrewing

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Pumpkin technique help
« on: October 25, 2014, 05:25:26 PM »
OK, so my constant companion, against my will :), finally talked me into a pumpkin beer we want ready in time for Thanksgiving. So ... after watching my Pats beat the Bears tomorrow, the brew kettle will get going at 4.

She wants to use our American stout recipe as our base, which I feel will work fine. But here's where I'm looking for advice:

-- We're using sugar pumpkins. Do I use them in the mash, in the boil, or both? If in the mash, what's the best way to avoid a stuck sparge?

-- Spices. This is the part that concerns me most. I know that spice doesn't really dissipate in the boil, so how much is enough? How much is too much? We plan to use: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. And maybe some vanilla bean later in the fermenter. When would you add the spices? 15 min before knockout? At knockout?

Here's what our grist looks like (5 gal batch): 80% American 2-row, 5% roasted barley, 5% Crystal 60L, 5% Chocolate malt, 5% flaked oats. Going for a 1.050 OG. Using WLP001 with a 1.5L starter. Hops: Willamette and Fuggle. Last time we brewed this as a straight out stout with some added coffee, and ended up with a 1.012 FG and a 4.99 ABV, which is what we were shooting for.

Your help would be greatly appreciated!
 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2014, 05:32:40 PM by CroceBrewing »
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Pumpkin technique help
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2014, 06:11:15 PM »
If you boil the pumpkin, you'll end up with a mess in the kettle, and haze that might never go away. I use canned pumpkin, and I add it about a pound at a time, stirring constantly for 5+ min to get it uniformly distributed through the mash. If your tun is prone to sticking, some rice hulls might help.

For a 6 gal batch, I use 15 g grated dried ginger, 15 g cloves, 10 g coarsely broken cinnamon, and 10 g coarsely crushed nutmeg. I add it at flameout and leave it in for the entire 30 min whirlpool.

I'd probably dial the dark grains back to less than 10% to account for the astringency of the spices. Although if you added coffee last time and liked the balance, maybe not.
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Offline CroceBrewing

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Re: Pumpkin technique help
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2014, 06:20:47 PM »
We did get a little bit of astringency last time, which we thought might be due to the fact that we added a pot of hot brewed coffee with some fresh mint with 5 minutes left in the boil. It wasn't overwhelming, but it was there.

Do you think it was because of the % of dark grains? We're not using coffee this time, but someone else suggested we cold brew the coffee next time and skip the mint. But I'm wondering now if it was the higher percentage of dark grains in conjunction with the mint in the coffee that caused the astringency. Maybe less roasted barley and chocolate this time?


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Offline goobersan

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Re: Pumpkin technique help
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2014, 08:57:33 PM »
check out Zymurgy vol.36, no.5.  There's a nice article on pumpkin beers in there
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Offline CroceBrewing

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Re: Pumpkin technique help
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2014, 10:35:11 PM »
Thanks for the advice. What we've decided to do is forgoe the pumpkin and just use pumpkin spices. We'll add the spices with a tincture technique, and do it at time of bottling. That way, we can control the amount of spice.

Also, we've gone with an un-husked (thanks to advice from Jeff at Woburn (MA) Beer and Wine Hobby) roasted barley in an effort to eliminate any astringency issues with the stout.

I'll definitely let everyone know how it works out.

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Offline dcb

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Re: Pumpkin technique help
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2014, 11:42:41 PM »
And don't forget this on our very own site:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/5-tips-brewing-pumpkin-beers-elysian-brewing-co/

Elysian's Dark O' the Moon was the first pumpkin beer I really enjoyed. 

Offline dcb

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Re: Pumpkin technique help
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2014, 11:44:56 PM »
If you boil the pumpkin, you'll end up with a mess in the kettle, and haze that might never go away.

I can't speak to the mess in the kettle, but haze in a stout wouldn't worry me much.