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Author Topic: Pumpkin Ale  (Read 1760 times)

Offline jth138

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Pumpkin Ale
« on: December 29, 2010, 09:30:31 am »
I will be starting to brew within the next month, although i will start off with some type of basic Pale Ale, in the future i would like to make Pumpkin Ale or possibly different beers with fruit. 

My question is what Ingredients would one use to make Pumpkin Ale if pumpkins are not readily available.   i live in Pennsylvania and it has pretty much been a tundra lately. 

also any tips / hints brewing with fruit would be greatly appreciated!   thank you

Offline ryang

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  • Indian Hills CO
Re: Pumpkin Ale
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 10:05:58 am »
for pumpkin ales, if you can't get the pie pumpkins, just get the canned 100% pumpkin and roast it in the oven till is smells right and is getting nicely browned (I've done about an hour at 350, flipping the pumpkin a few times throughout).

I've done between 4 and 12 lbs of pumpkin for a 5 gal batch.  search the site for more info as there is a wealth of info out there about this very topic.

Offline thcipriani

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Re: Pumpkin Ale
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 10:03:59 am »
There are people who would argue that the pumpkin in a pumpkin beer is not what gives it its characteristic flavor/aroma but the spices. I would be inclined to agree after having tasted my one attempt at pumpkin beer (although that limited experience is hardly a representative subset of data). I used a spice tea rather than add any spices to the boil so I was able to try the beer pre- and post-spicing and I would not have thought pumpkin was an ingredient until the spices were added.

I used the pumpkin in the mash, but I've seen a few people recommend using the pumpkin in the boil to get the right flavor/color/mouthfeel/whatever from the pumpkin. The pumpkin in the boil method may make the pumpkin flavor difference more evident - I plan to try it next fall (or maybe sooner if my girlfriend has her way). In any event I have yet to see someone not recommend roasting the pumpkin in the oven at 350F until it's soft and a little caramelized so that seems like a must-do.

Other tips - go lightly on the late hopping and very light on the end of boil spices - you can always add more spice. What I did to get spice character (and this worked really well) was I used some of my pressure sterilized water, about a cup, brought it to a boil in a tea kettle and then dumped it over 3 or 4 tablespoons of Penzey's pumpkin pie spice and some vanilla bean in a french press. I then pulled a few 200mL samples of the un-spiced pumpkin beer and added the tea one mL at a time until I had a level I thought was right then I scaled up and used 75% of what I calculated. Worked perfectly.
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
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  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
Re: Pumpkin Ale
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 11:06:38 am »
I use canned pumpkin for my annual pumpkin ale.  Typically, I use the solid pack 100% pumpkin cans.  I have in the past used the pie filling cans and it was surprisingly one of the best pumpkin ales I've made.  I had a hard time finding canned pumpkin this year and it may or may not still be available.

Alternatively, you could try using sweet potatoes or yams.  I did this many years ago and cannot recall if it was noticeably different in flavor from pumpkin ale.

As mentioned above, much of the character of pumpkin ale comes from the spices.  Lately, I've been making a tincture with vodka and spices and using that to flavor the base ale before kegging.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline andrew

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  • Lake Charles / Sweet Lake, LA
Re: Pumpkin Ale
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 11:19:42 am »
Butternut Squash will work about like pumpkin. You should be able to find that in a grocery store since it is a winter squash.
Andrew Tingler

In bottles or on tap: porter, quad, and wit
Secondary: empty
Primary: empty
On Deck: Blackberry Stout and Irish Red