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Help - Pumpkin Ale questions

I’m preparing for my first ever Pumpkin ale this weekend and have questions…

I plan on using 6lb of pumpkin in the mash (I was going to roast the pumpkin puree in the oven for 30 mins with honey drizzle don top then add it to the mash)

here are my questions…

  1. I’m using pumpkin pie spice at the end of the boil - how much should I use (5gallon batch) and when?

  2. Many of the recipes I’ve seen online use brown sugar in the boil as well…any recommendations on how much and when to add that as well?

Thanks!

Just some suggestions from my pumpkin ale last fall. I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin beer, but others that are gave me pretty good reviews of mine. I thought the spice was a little heavy, but again it’s not exactly what I like in a beer, but others loved it.

For the pumpkin:

I used 4 of the big cans of organic pumpkin (15oz I think). 3 went in the mash. 1 went in with 10min left in the boil. The color was perfect but the pumpkin flavor was very light. Could have used anther few lbs. So I think going with 6lbs like you suggest is a good idea. I also like the idea of roasting it ahead of time. I did not and learned later this can really help bring out the pumpkin flavor.

Brown Sugar:

I added 1lb of light brown sugar at the beginning of the boil. It will ferment out so you’ll get little to no flavor from it, but you will get some color.

Spices:

I bought whole dried spices and ground my own mixture using a coffee grinder. I used allspice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger. I added 3 tbsp with 10min left in the boil. For me, the spices were too strong. Others really enjoyed it. I would recommend using 1 to 2 tbsp in the boil and then trying the beer after fermentation. You can always add more later. If you like a lot of spice use 2-3 tbsp and if you want it toned down, I’d go with 1.

Hope I could help you out!

I made the NB’s Smashing pumpkin Ale for Thanksgiving on labor day last year.
I used pie pumpkin that I had roasted on the grill until tender, put it in a blender, and mashed it with the specialty grains. I don’t know if it added anything, but I really enjoyed the beer.
I added 1lb. of brown sugar at the end of the boil, why I don’t know, I thought it might boost the OG a couple points.
I used their spice packet which seemed to be a couple teaspoons of spice,but no more than a tablespoon.
First taste prior to bottling was like a cinnamon red hot, not what I wanted. Bottled and let it age 4 weeks. The bottle aging really helped to mellow the spice at 8 weeks(Christmas) it was really outstanding.
I hope this helps.

I’ve found that adding spice post fermentation, at the time of bottling/kegging, gives me much more ability to fine tune the end result. For example, I can pull a small sample and slowly add spice to get the exact beer I’m looking for. Then all I have to do is scale up for the full batch. In my sweet potato barleywine, I generally use between 1/8tsp and 1/4 tsp depending. For my tastes it doesn’t need much.* You may feel differently. Good luck!

*Nothing gets scrubbed out in the boil or during fermentation since I’m adding at the end.

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