Pumpkin Beers and Brewing with Spices

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Zak2428, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. Zak2428

    Zak2428 New Member

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    Hey guys, I plan on brewing my first Pumpkin Ale next week and have been researching the best ways to add Spices to it. I'm sure it's been discussed extensively on here, but curious what the best route to take is for the best flavor.

    Right now, my thought is to add Ginger and Cinnamon Spice with 10 min left in the boil - I heard both of these spices need longer to really impart good flavor. Both would be the powder form - sounds like the more these spices are broken down, the stronger their flavor is.

    Then thinking of adding Nutmeg and Allspice right before cooling the wort.

    My questions are:
    Cinnamon Sticks vs. Cinnamon Powder?
    For a 2 gallon batch, what amounts have you had success with?
    Is it better to add Cinnamon at the boil, or to drop some sticks into the Secondary? Or both?

    Curious what ya'll have had success with in brewing Pumpkin style beers.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Best way to add pumpkin spice to a beer? Wave the packet over the kettle, dunk the can of pureed pumpkin in the wort and call it good. Yes, I'm in the Pumpkin Spice Haters Club! Of course I've done the brew, it seems to be a brewer's rite of passage. That said, I generally add my spices at 5 mins or less, preferably to the whirlpool unless there is a good reason to add them earlier (or later). I've always used the pre-made pumpkin spice, where did you get your recipe for it? I ask because ginger sounds somewhat strange.
     
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  3. Zak2428

    Zak2428 New Member

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    Haha, I appreciate the input - it'll be that time of season by the time it's done so figured why not, i'll try a batch. Ground Ginger is actually in pumpkin spice. I could try using Pumpkin Spice for my first batch before trying to individualizing the spices/amounts. Generally when I eat pumpkin pie, I'm not a big fan of the overpowering Nutmeg, Ginger, and Allspice flavors - so I wanted to tweak the amounts to make it more cinnamon forward, but still have that subtle pumpkin flavor.
     
  4. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Good advice from @Nosybear and I think I say this every year, but I have never tasted pumpkin in beer or any other beverage touted as pumpkin. I'd skip it's addition altogether and I can bank no one would ever know. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some of these breweries making pumpkin beer don't just add a tablespoon of pumpkin for the entire batch just so they can say "it's in there!"

    And great article in the latest Brew Your Own @Nosybear
     
  5. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    I plan on doing a pumpkin ale soon, and have been doing some research on homebrewtalk.com (if you search this forum for pumpkin beer, there are many answers similar to Nosy's above...lol) Dogfish Head adds their spices during the whirlpool for their Punkin Ale (which is one of my favorites of the style). Seems like actual pumpkin (canned or roasted) doesn't add much to flavor or fermentable sugars, but will contribute to mouthfeel, up to a certain point. Too much pumpkin is a thing. Also some brewers add brown sugar for more gravity points and the molasses flavor (dark brown is more flavorful). Good luck, and keep us posted! I've been debating using premade Pumpkin spice mix, or going whole hog and weighing out individual spices, so I'm curious what your experience will be like!
     
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  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, sir!
     
  7. Zak2428

    Zak2428 New Member

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    Just an update if anyone's following - I decided to go with 1/4 TSP of Cinnamon 10 min left in the boil, then 1/2 TSP of Pumpkin Spice with 5 min left. Figured this would bring out more cinnamon and mask some of the stronger spices. It smelt great. Gravity reading was 1.060. I'm going to let it sit for 7-10 days in primary - I hydrated 2 packs of Safale 05 for this batch, i've been having issues with yeast lately and i've read anything above 1.060 is sometimes best to toss in 2 packs so hoping this wont ruin it. I've also read the more yeast you throw in, the cleaner the beer will end up (to an extent), but that'll also lower the esters remaining. We'll see what happens.

    I'm tossing around the idea of racking this onto cinnamon sticks in the secondary for another 2 weeks (total ferm of ~1 month) - anyone have thoughts on that? (pumpkin beer haters please keep your comments to yourself lol). Might be overkill on the cinnamon? Also, is that too long for a 2 gallon 1.060 OG batch to ferment or is that pretty standard?
     
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