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Pumpkin beer (winter warmer)

I wanted to do a pumpkin beer last year for thanksgiving but never got around to it. I am doing it this year! That being said there seems to be so much controversy as to use real pumpkin or just skip it. From what I have read it seems like real pumpkin doesn’t contribute much flavor. Has anyone used pumpkin extract for baking? I have only seen a few sources for this online with one being oil based. The beer I make will be a big beer. Five gallons wont get drank on Thanksgiving in my family; unfortunately. So I want it to be big ABV as I plan to do a whole “Winter Warmer” series of beers. I plan to do a beer with almond extract soon and will get some first hand feed back then on extract use. Recipe as of now is-

12 lb rahr 2 row
4 lbs munich malt
1 lb crystal 80
1 lb flaked oats, toasted golden/brown
.5 lb crystal 60
1 0z cluster 60 min

1-2 tsp pumpkin spice
.5 oz pumpkin extract? - This is the amount of extract Jamil list for a hazelnut brown/porter I cant remember so I’m just putting the number down as a starting point. I think Spice and extract should just be added when I keg it and start with half of what I have listed; taste then add the remainder plus more if I need to. Thanks

If you’re putting in the pie spices, might as well skip the pumpkin. Haven’t used pumpkin extract but you could add a drop to a glass of the finished beer and see how it tastes, then dose the whole batch if you like it.

I will have to get some of the extract and play around with it. Do you think toasting one pound of oats will contribute a kind of pie crust taste to the beer? I thought about buying some of the pre made pie shells and baking them and adding to the mash but I’m not sure if it will contribute much flavor after the boil and fermentation.

I would say either add pumpkin & spices or just stick with the spices. The extract doesn’t seem necessary, to me. I have heard some people say to make a “real” pumpkin beer you have to use pumpkin. I just made one a week ago and put pumpkin in the mash. I also seasoned it with cinnamon, all spice and pumpkin pie spice. It looks like I’ll get a bit of an orange hue from it. That may be all I’ll get from the pumpkin.

I’m not sure about the pie crust, but that would be pretty cool if you could figure that out! Maybe there is a specialty grain that would contribute the flavor you want?

The idea behind the extract was to hopefully add actual pumpkin flavor; just theory right now though. I was thinking maybe by using biscuit malt and toasted oats I might be able to get close to pie crust. I think if you have a big toasted flavor in there along with the spices your mind might make the connection even if its not spot on.

Let me start with “I have not yet done this,” but in speaking with a brewer from Schlafly in St. Louis whose AMAZING pumpkin ale I was enjoying said it was the canned pumpkin extract that he added in that was giving the flavor I was raving over. Its an 8% pumpkin ale (should I say imperial?) That being said, I’d go with the extract and if you have a chance try one of these from Schlafly. very nice. Let me know how it goes!

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