First Brew -- Pumpkin Ale Question

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by MrBIP, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    So, after a couple of months of research, reading, video watching, etc. I'm finally going to dive in and do my first brew this weekend... (assuming the stuff I ordered shows up!)

    It's an pumpkin ale extract kit and I'm going to put real pumpkin in it (because pumpkin ale should include pumpkin, right?)... and, well, it just doesn't seem all that complicated.

    Anyway, watched the video on Northern Brewer, I have the six row that is needed, etc. .....

    But, now wonder:

    Best to put the pumpkin in the steeping grains "mash" or in the boil ?? ... I read both ways, not sure what the difference would be?

    If it was to go in the boil, I really don't need the six row in the steeping process?

    Probably oughta just follow the instructions, but when I get into something, I have to research and understand the "whys" of the matter. ..

    Thanks,
    MrBIP
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I just made a Pumpkin Spice Ale using canned pumpkin. I mashed it - my procedure is a large mash augmented with malt extract - with the grains. Great pumpkin flavor that way and if you're going to mash anyway, mash the pumpkin with the grains. If you aren't using enough base malt - can't see because you didn't post the recipe but I'd guess about a half-pound of base malt per pound of pumpkin minimum, boil the pumpkin. You'll get the pumpkin flavor from the boil. If you're going to steep the six-row, steep at or below 155°. That'll give you a temperature that will allow the enzymes in the malt to convert the starches, both in the malt and in the pumpkin. Without the recipe, there's no easy answer.
     
  3. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback...
    Here's the recipe per the kit and additional information from northern brewer:

    Steeping / "mash"
    1/2 pound caramel/crystal 40, 6-8 pounds pumpkin meat, 2 pounds six row
    60 minutes, 150-152
    (I kinda thought rather than just pull the bag and let it drip, I'd heat up some water and sorta "sparge" thru a colander to try to the best of use of it) ....

    Boil 60 minutes:
    3.15 Amber LME
    1.0 Pilsner DME
    Late addition Amber LME, 15 minutes

    1 oz Cluster hops (full 60)

    1 tsp pumpkin spice at the end of boil

    Yeast is American Ale II 1272, Wyeast.

    I have well water and don't really know the composition, so I'm going to buy bottled/purified water.

    I'm going to do a primary and secondary and have also purchased a clarifier.

    Thought that maybe some maris otter and/or belgian biscuit malt might add some nice flavor; complimenting the pumpkin, so have a pound of each of those (thought using 1/2 pound of each); but haven't decided on that yet. First time out, I got "I thinks" and ideas, but I've not done this yet, so I might not really know what I think I do. :)

    When I put this in the calculator here, including the maris otter and biscuit malts at 1/2 pound, I get 1.058 OG, 1.015, 5.61 ABV, 22.3 IBU, 11.56 SRM (not sure how the pumpkin will affect those numbers)

    Brew Day is Sunday and I'm jacked about it.

    MrBIP
     
  4. JAMC

    JAMC Member

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    Pumpkin Ale isn't something I've come across being in Britain but looking at your recipe I can see how it would work.

    The thing that stood out in your post is the fact that you have access to well water. Feel free to disregard this suggestion if you want, but I say use that instead of going to the trouble and expense of buying large volumes of bottled water.

    Some of the famous European breweries (including my personal favourites, the trappist monestaries) sunk wells on the site of their breweries and have been using well water for centuries as the basis of their beer. At the very least, you can be reasonably confident that the water composition will be consistent.

    Hope it goes well.
     
  5. BrewHop

    BrewHop New Member

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    If you are trying to convert some of the suagrs in the pumpkin to be fermentable I would steep the 6 row with the pumpkin in the boil between 150 and 155F. This will allow the enzymes in the 6 row, as mentioned before, to convert the sugars in the pumpkin (although to my understanding there really isn't that much to be converted in the pumpkin).

    Since you will be steeping the grains and pumpkin together I would just throw it all in the boil. Some pumpkin might get into the fermenter but oh well...

    This beer might not be too clear with the pumpkin and 6 row but if you don't care about that then don't worry about it.

    Clarity doesn't impact flavor at all unless it's yeast from the bottom of the bottle :)
     
  6. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    You mean just the pumpkin in the boil, correct? Not the 6 row grains. ... If I've read correctly, boiling grains would extract the tannins in the hulls of the grain and be not good beer flavor.. ???

    Anyone with a thought on adding the Maris Otter and or Biscuit malts? Maybe I should just not be screwing around too much until I've at least followed the directions once?

    The idea of boiling up some syrup with some hops and tossing in the spices typically used in a pumpkin pie and calling it pumpkin ale just seems very simplified to me. Without the pumpkin, wouldn't it just be amber ale with pumpkin spice? <<<< says the guy who has yet to actually brew a batch and won't be the least bit put off if anyone with more experience issues a major correction.

    Thanks,
    MrBIP
     
  7. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    As this is your first beer, try to keep it as simple as possible. I have sampled "pumpkin spice" beer without actual pumpkin in it, and It is pretty good. I don't know if I could tell the difference. Perhaps in a side by side, but who knows. James Spencer had a triangle test a few years ago, and while some could taste a difference, when prompted to pick the beer w/ actual pumpkin in it, most got it wrong.The important thing is to make some beer, get familiar w/ the process, and get some fermentation started. Then start planning your second beer, then your third, and before you know it you will be drinking your first pumpkin beer, and then you can critique and modify your recipe.
     
  8. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    .. and you're probably right, best to just follow the directions and go thru the process and don't be screwing around.
     
  9. BrewHop

    BrewHop New Member

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    You mean just the pumpkin in the boil, correct? Not the 6 row grains. ... If I've read correctly, boiling grains would extract the tannins in the hulls of the grain and be not good beer flavor.. ???

    Anyone with a thought on adding the Maris Otter and or Biscuit malts? Maybe I should just not be screwing around too much until I've at least followed the directions once?

    Yes I meant just the pumpkin in the boil. The 6 row in the boil would cause problems like tannin extraction and scorching the grain also.

    I think you gave yourself some good advice and I agree with other posts in here that you should just keep it simple the 1st time. It took me a few brews to get the process down before I started trying different things. I can understand, however, the urge to go all out but the more things you try to do the more problems and questions can arise.

    As for pumpkin spice vs actual pumpkin in the beer I have heard similar things as far as diffuculty telling if the beer actually has pumpkin in it or not. I recently just made my 1st pumpkin beer and put real pumpkin in it but I haven't made an only spiced version so I don't have much to compare it to.

    If you want to keep it simple then I would just pass on the pumpkin and add the spices in the last 5min of the boil. Really up to you though...

    Just a reccomendation too since it's your first beer, I would write out your process (if you have time) before you brew which might help you develop any questions before you dive in and give you a guideline to follow so you, in the head of the moment, forget to do something.

    Happy Brewing!
     
  10. BrewHop

    BrewHop New Member

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    well just saw your efficiency post, so some of my previous post doesn't matter... oh well, hope the brew went well :D
     
  11. MrBIP

    MrBIP Active Member

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    I think it went well ... no major issues along the way and it's fermenting the way its suppose to. Guess I'll find out in a few weeks. I disregarded advice from several and went ahead and did the real pumpkin and also put in the biscuit, cuz I'm just so freakin' rebelious I guess ... so if it's nasty, well I guess I just learned a lesson (again).
    ;)

    Planning to transfer this to secondary and have some clarifier to put it in ... my schedule I should be able to sample this 11/17 ... assuming I don't get a chance to transfer next week and have to wait until the following weekend.
     
  12. BrewHop

    BrewHop New Member

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    I'm sure it will be fine, hope it turns out great.
     

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