Author Topic: Real or canned pumpkin?  (Read 4993 times)

Offline kharn74

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Real or canned pumpkin?
« on: September 30, 2011, 01:37:58 AM »
I have been wanting to make a pumpkin ale this coming week.  Some recipes call for canned pumpkin and others call for using real pumpkin.  Anyone have any experience with either one.  I know the smaller "pie pumpkins" have more flavor and are sweeter but canned seems to have a more consistent flavor.  Any thoughts ???
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 02:47:54 AM »
I have been wanting to make a pumpkin ale this coming week.  Some recipes call for canned pumpkin and others call for using real pumpkin.  Anyone have any experience with either one.  I know the smaller "pie pumpkins" have more flavor and are sweeter but canned seems to have a more consistent flavor.  Any thoughts ???

Personally, for the contribution (or lack thereof) of the pumpkin (which should be added to the boil and not the mash, IMO) to the finished beer, I'd say use whatever is cheapest. In my neck of the woods, canned pumpkin pie filling is about $6 a can, whereas I have squash and stuff in the garden for free. Guess which one I use :-)

And no, I don't think there's a noticeable difference between using big squash versus pumpkin. If you've only got butternut squash, use it, there's no huge flavor difference really.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2011, 07:47:22 AM »
Phil is correct.  It's sort of a toss-up.  I've done it both ways, but out of sheer laziness I've mostly used canned pumpkin.

Most of the "pumpkin" flavor you get will come from the spices anyway (some commercial examples actually have no pumpkin).

Squash, yams, sweet potatoes can all be used.

One recommendation I've seen frequently, which I've never done, is to toast the pumpkin (whether canned or not) to bring out more flavor.

If I ever do a pumpkin beer again, I'll try toasting the pumpkin.  But I've come to the recent realization that 5 gallons of spiced beer is too much.  Maybe I'll come back around to it, but for my efforts, I'd rather have a nice tripel.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2011, 07:56:21 AM »
The other gotcha - canned pumpkin pie filling isn't necessarily pumpkin. :) (You have to make sure to grab the 100% pumpkin cans)
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Offline zackster1

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2011, 08:02:00 AM »
I recommend real pumpkin. I used canned pumpkin for a batch of a pumpkin porter. The down fall is I found out that the canned pumpkin likes to reconsitute itself back into an ooze. After the boil make sure you have a great filter screen or you will be pulling out chunks of liquid pumpkin. Trust me its not fun. So after that I only use real stuff now.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2011, 08:10:58 AM »
Ah, but that begs the question of mash or boil.  Which I believe is equally a toss up as people do it both ways.

My preferred method is to put it in a mini-mash, in a grain bag with base grains.  That way, it's pretty much strained from the start and it doesn't cause any nasty clean-up problems.
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Offline zackster1

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2011, 08:12:30 AM »
I've tried both, mini mashing and on the boil. Seems as though when that canned pumpkin boils up it breaks down just enough in my attempts to clog everything in a nice orange puddle of goo.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2011, 11:44:22 AM »
Use the smaller pie pumpkins, cut in to quarters, and bake at 350F for 1 hour.  Place in to the mash. 

Add spices for the last 10 minutes of the boil.  You'll like the result!   ;D

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Offline jivetyrant

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2011, 05:43:13 AM »
I did a pumpkin porter this year.  I went with about 2 lbs of sugar pumpkin (pie pumkpin, w/e it's called in your neck of the woods) I cubed and briefly boiled it, then put it through the food processor until it was roughly the consistency of a chunky mashed pototo.  I then did a mini-mash with 6-row and some other specialty grains.  I had read that the extra enzymes in the 6-row would help to convert what sugars there were in the pumpkin.  I didn't bother straining it, all the pumpkin dropped out after primary.  It came out great!

Offline bo

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2011, 06:05:03 AM »
I did a pumpkin porter this year.  I went with about 2 lbs of sugar pumpkin (pie pumkpin, w/e it's called in your neck of the woods) I cubed and briefly boiled it, then put it through the food processor until it was roughly the consistency of a chunky mashed pototo.  I then did a mini-mash with 6-row and some other specialty grains.  I had read that the extra enzymes in the 6-row would help to convert what sugars there were in the pumpkin.  I didn't bother straining it, all the pumpkin dropped out after primary.  It came out great!

I'm having a real hard time imagining a pumpkin porter. Not passing judgement without trying it first, but it just sounds strange to me.

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2011, 09:08:42 AM »
My thoughts are...

If you use canned, get canned pumpkin and not "pumpkin pie filling" which may contain spices and other ingredients, even eggs and milk. Add any spices it yourself.

If you have any kind of screen in your kettle to filter hops, or you use a counterflow chiller, then canned pumpkin in the boil may clog it - leading you to say terrible things about your kettle. Your relationship will never be the same.

I'd say canned in the mash or real in the mash or boil.
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Offline Gribble

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 12:52:56 AM »
I do my pumpkin in the mash, 1#/gal.  roasted at 350 for an hour on a cookie sheet, carmelizes and brings out a little more flavor and breaks down the pulp. just make sure to mash it last so it stays on top.  then the spices get tossed in the last 5 of the boil.  i use cinnamon, nutmeg and clove
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Online gmac

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 07:25:04 AM »
I used two 3 lb pumpkins roasted for an hour or so and added to the mash. 

I entered my pumpkin in a competition and every judge commented on the "lack of pumpkin flavour".  Not sure if canned would have been any different.  I think that the judges had no idea what they were talking about since it seems like most people don't get any pumpkin flavour (there was lots of spice, just no "pumpkin" flavour).  I will say that the colour was excellent, beautiful orange hue but that's about all I got out of the pumpkin.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 08:54:34 PM »
I recommend using at least 10lb roasted and spiced pumpkin per 5 gal batch in the mash and the boil. Using canned pumpkin won't hurt either. The more pumpkin you can get in the mash and boil the better. Be easy on the spices but definitely use them (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and clove)
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Real or canned pumpkin?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 06:01:12 AM »
Made a Pumpkin Ale this weekend by popular demand.  Used the canned instead of whole pumpkin for the first time.  Came out great and broke my efficientcy record because the pumpkin slowed the sparge so much.  It never got stuck thanks to a pound of rice hulls.  I used 4 cans to equal 7.25# of pumpkin.  OG:  1.083, Efficiency:  92.5%!

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