Follow-up on Pumpkin Ale

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Thanks to everyone for all the advice.  I guess my town is not big
enough (pop.~4,000) or else it's too early before Thanksgiving, but I
counldn't find any canned pumpkin in town, and not having time to drive
to the BIG city, I postponed my pumpkin ale and just brewed an Oatmeal
Stout and an IPA (experimenting with both of them because I used 10% of
Gambrenus Honey Malt in each).  Anyway, a brewer in another forum opined
that he thought the flavor for pumpkin ales is primarily from the spices
and that the pumpkin itself adds very little if anything; I've heard
that before, but have also read opinions about how much better fresh
pumpkin is than canned (and vice versa), which suggests that if enough
pumpkin is used, that it really does impart a flavor.  Anyway, I am
still planning to brew a pumpkin ale in the next week or two, and if
either the Oatmeal Stout or the IPA would make a suitable base, I could
conduct an experiment here.  My thoughts are to add spices to one of
these brews WITHOUT pumpkin, and then brew an identical batch WITH
pumpkin next week, and then compare the two.  First I'd like to know
whether the Oatmeal Stout or the IPA would be best to use; I had
originally planned to use a Pale Ale base so that specialty grains and
extra hops wouldn't interfere with the pumpkin flavor, but I can't help
that now.  If either the OS or IPA would be appropriate, my next
question is which would be the best way to add the spices.

Both of my brews are now in high krauesen; would it be better to wait
until all fermentation has stopped since CO2 production might tend to
scrub some flavor and/or aroma. Or would it be better to rack to
secondary?... which I usually don't bother with, but I do have an empty
carboy to use if that would be better. Or maybe add the spices to the
bottling bucket, maybe boiled with the priming sugar?  My thoughts are
that I can boil them in a little bit of water in a very small sauce pan
and either add directly or filter the water through a coffee filter, or
else I can let them soak in a shot of vodka for an hour or however long
would be appropriate (or soak in pure grain alcohol if that would be
better than vodka). Any thoughts on these ideas and which methods would
be best.


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Re: Follow-up on Pumpkin Ale

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I steeped a tablespoon of ground cinnamon and a half-tablespoon each of
freshly-grated nutmeg and ground cloves in two shots of vodka while my
pumpkin ale was fermenting.  The mix was in a pint mason jar so it could be
shaken thoroughly every once in a while.  At kegging time, I decanted the
infused vodka off of the top and threw away the solids.

I wasn't sure going in if that would be too much or too little, but I like
how it turned out.  It's kinda like liquid pumpkin pie. :-)

I'd think that boiling the spices with the priming sugar or the wort would
drive off a fair bit of aroma, which is why I didn't go that way.

 / v \ Scott Alfter (remove the obvious to send mail)
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Re: Follow-up on Pumpkin Ale

<snip>  My thoughts are to add spices to one of
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I've never brewed one so I can't help you with the what you really asked but
I can point out that it all depends on what you are going for as an end
result. Pumpkin alone will have a very different flavor than "pumpkin pie."
Most of the flavor in pie comes from the spices. So if you are looking for
that pie flavor, I'd do as others have suggested and just add the spices.

Mark R

Re: Follow-up on Pumpkin Ale


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I might as well drop in here.  I did that experiment a few years ago and
noticed no difference.  If you were mashing the grains, the pumpkin would
basically add starch you could convert to sugar, but it won't contribute to

Re: Follow-up on Pumpkin Ale

Adam Preble wrote:

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I'll chime in, too, with the same results for the same experiment.

Life begins at 60...1.060, that is.

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