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Adding vodka to a low OG beer?

Hey guys! So I made the switch to AG last year, and on my last brew used my own grain mill for the first time. As I’ve had happen any time I switch equipment, my numbers were a bit off. I made the smashing pumpkin ale extract kit last year and while it tasted like a decent beer, it tasted nothing like a pumpkin ale.

So this year I opted for AG and used real pumpkin plus more spices, but my OG was supposed to be about 1.054 and ended up about 1.040. Being the first time I used my grain mill I’m not sure if my crush was a little too thick or if it was caused by the stuck sparge I got from the pumpkin goop…or both.

I read a review for the Smashing Pumpkin Ale where a guy used an entire bottle of Pinnacle Whipped vodka at bottling, and thought this might help me out with a possible flavor and alcohol boost since I’m looking at about 4% alcohol at this point if even that.

If I go this route what are some things I might not be aware of that I should be? I keg vs bottling- would I just dump all 750ml in at kegging and call it a day? Any thoughts?

750 ml of vodka will leave your ale tasting like vodka.

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I’m not sure why you want to alter a brew with a distilled liquid… This is where you refigure your grain bill… Do some research and make this brew again… It’s a hobby. You want to find out as much as you can about it. What makes it good or how to improve upon a result… Quite a few of us here have had some less than mediocre turn outs… Just drink it as it is… And go looking for answers… 4% isn’t a bad brew at all. Sneezles61

Adding vodka won’t help the taste/ flavor. Just do a shot and a beer if that’s the point. Why did you put the pumpkin in your mash?

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Sounds like you need to close the gap on your mill a bit. You’ll want to experiment with that on simple grain bills that don’t include things like pumpkin glop in the mashtun.

A word to the wise…when changing any single part of your equipment or process do just that…only change one piece. Then you can isolate issues to that single change rather than changing process and equipment AND complicating the grain bill all at the same time…or…just be you…your choice…haha

Mmm love vodka. But besides a pint of beer. Dont add to the brew. Your beer will taste like vodka. Try to set your grainmill gap to o.23. You can use feeler gauge or a bank card. This seems to work for me to get the right crush of the malt. The stuck sparge. Proberly due to the pumpkin. Me do add the roasted pumpkin to the boil. This works perfect. Leaves a pumpkin. Taste.

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Never made a pumpkin beer but if I did and wanted pumpkin and spice flavor I’d treat it like fruit and add it to the secondary after roasting. Probably get more bang for the buck. The spice probably add to taste in the finished beer. The few pumpkin beer I’ve had didn’t have spices and couldn’t really taste pumpkin for that I would add to the boil.

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Me do add the pumpkin 15 min before end of boil. Spices 5 min before flame out. But still dont have lots pumpin flav. But i taste the spices

My uncle used to take a shot of vodka with a beer.

I do a modified Smashing Pumpkin every year from our hosts. I take 4 pie pumpkins, skin them and chunk them, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake them at 350 for an hour. I add two to the mash and two for the last 15 mins of the boil. I also add some biscuit and a little extra caramel 40L to the kit. I don’t know that the pumpkin adds a ton of flavor, but it adds some fermentables and gives it a nice orange color. I enjoy the process and the house smells amazing on pumpkin brewday.

See this post

When I keg it, I make a tincture with vanilla beans (typically 2-3) and used to soak them in vodka, but now I’ve converted to using bourbon and like the results much better.

See this post

I definitely wouldn’t dump a full fifth of any spirit into a keg. If you want to add something, the best way to do it is to pour a sample prior to kegging and then add measured amounts of the spirit you want to add until you get the flavor you are looking for. Then you can math it up to figure out the ratio to add to the full volume.



I worked with a old guy for a while that had to stop for breakfast at the same diner. Every time he went to the bar next door to “check his numbers”. Check his numbers meant a shot of Corbys and beer chaser. I finally told him he didn’t need to BS me, just go get one. I at least waited for lunch. No shots though :astonished:

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Oh man that’s too funny!!!

I sometimes add some vodka while brewing pumpkin ale. It is when you add it, your brew won’t taste entirely like vodka, though it will be very easy to tell the difference. I personally prefer the (moderator edit) my wife bought me as a present, don’t really know if I’m gonna add any vodka when it will be depleted.

I do extract brewing, but at times, when I get an OG that is too low, I will boil a quart of water and put a pound and a half of DME in it, boil it for 20 minutes or so and dump it into the fermentor… it you do the math, you can save a weak beer. #Algebra

At 42 points per pound… Sneezles61

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