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Rahr 6-row in Smashing Pumpkin Ale

I am looking at ordering the Smashing Pumkin Ale ... pkinEX.pdf

I would like use real pumpkin in the recipe if I go with this kit and it says that I need to add 2 or 3 pounds of Rahr 6-row at 152 degrees F for an hour with the pumpkin. I have only does extract so far.

What is the purpose of adding the Rahr 6-row if I use pumpkin in the recipe versus not using it if I don’t use the real pumpkin?

The 6 row has higher diastatic power, meaning it can convert more starches to sugar in a mash than normal 2 row. I assume the idea is to get better conversion of the pumpkin.

That said, I’ve made a pumpkin ale I’m very happy with with a similar recipe, and I didn’t use any 6 row. I roasted 3 sugar pumpkins in the oven, two went in the mash, and the 3rd (after some additional roasting to caramelize it a bit) went in (in a paint strainer bag) toward the end of the boil.

There are many ways to do the pumpkin thing, and most people concede that the pumpkin itself doesn’t add just a whole lot of character no matter what you do. So don’t sweat it, try something, see what you think.

OK, now that I read the recipe you linked too I understand your question better. I didn’t realize this was going to be an extract brew. Basically they’re instructing you do do a mini-mash with the pumpkin and a little bit of 6 row. The enzymes in the malt will convert some of the starches in the pumpkin to fermentable sugar. They picked 6 row to get the most potential for conversion out of the least amount of grain.

Really, to end up with the same beer you would want to reduce the amount of extract by a smidge to account for the extra sugar you get out of the 6 row, but I don’t suppose that’s a huge deal.

Doing this mini mash wouldn’t be a bad idea if you want to get some practice on your way toward all grain. But if you don’t feel like dealing with it, you can always just add some pumpkin to the boil.

I apologize for my poor reading comprehension earlier.

These days, the diastatic power of 2 row and 6 row is pretty much the same. You don’t need 6 row to convert the pumpkin, 2 row will work just as well. The only time I use 6 row is when I want the unique grainy flavor you get from it.

Thanks guys I appreciate it. I would like to get to the point of mini mash, as of right now, I don’t think that it is going to happen until I read more about the process and what I need to do.

As previously mentioned, I will bet you $50.00 that you can’t tell the difference between the kit brewed with pumpkin and the kit brewed without.

Its the spices that give this beer its unique flavor, not the pumpkin.

My wife and I did this extract kit with canned pumpkin, pretty much per the website video. EXCEPT for 3 differences. First, we unknowingly bought larger cans of pumpkin than they showed, (2x 39oz cans.) That seemed like a happy accident, so we’ll do that again. The second was we did NOT get a pot-sized bag, instead we spread the 3 lbs. of 6-row and 2 cans pumpkin across 3 muslin bags. This worked, I guess, but was a royal PITA. Get the “BIAB” bag; we have one for the next batch. Finally, we upped the spice level. 2-1/2 tsp in the pot. 1/2 tsp in the secondary. This is a matter of preference. We liked it; but I might want more nutmeg and ginger, less of the pre-packaged “pumpkin pie spice.”

The bare kit targets an OG of 1.054, with the partial mash we actually ended up at 1.079. I’d take Loopie Beer’s bet in a second. While the spice flavors are very dominant in the aroma and flavor, the pumpkin definitely is apparent in the finish. We used the kit with the dry yeast, which was lucky for us, because I wasn’t doing starters then. The liquid yeast may have had trouble working at that gravity without rallying the troops with a starter.

As for “being ready” if you can steep speciality grain, you can do this. You just need to hold the temp in range for a longer time. So you need a decent thermometer, and the ability to turn the burner up/down based on the reading.

I’m sure there are a enough technique issues and outright mistakes on every batch I make to film a How Not To Brew documentary, but I think you learn more from an afternoon of doing than an an afternoon of reading about. If you like pumpkin beer; just go for it.

Well of course! You added almost 5lbs of pure pumpkin “meat” when the recipe calls for an 8lb pumpkin when most of that is going to be the shell and seeds and probably very little “actual pumpkin.” :wink:

It’s getting near that time of year for me to consider doing a batch of pumpkin ale. I tried this once in the past and it tasted like moldy feet, so I vowed to never attempt this again. However, as time has passed and I have honed my craft a little, I figure I’ll give it another shot.

My question(s) is/are: if I am using fresh “baking” pumpkins (2) to be exact for a 5 gal batch, do I just quarter, bake at 350 deg F for 90 minutes, remove meat from skin, cool to room temp, and add to the mash as whole quarters?

Also, I have read that a 90 minute mash may be needed to fully convert the pumpkin.

I typically do not go down this path for my brews, but with football season around the corner and the impending social gathering at my house for game one, I figure this may be a nice complement to the festivities.



I was also going to try the smashing pumpkin extract. Had some of the same questions that you posted. so I hope you don’t mine me chiming in. will this kit taste the same without getting the 10 # pumpkin? or is it worth doing it. it’s a little early for pumpkins in my area might be hard to find one.

If you want to use pumpkin you could always buy canned.

When we first went for this we read the reviews on the NB page. At that time every review was basically saying either, “We made the stock kit; the beer is mediocre” or “We added the pumpkin and this beer is awesome.” Many reviewers also recommended upping the spice.

As for cans or whole pumpkins; you can go either way; but if you want to be drinking the beer when this year’s pumpkins are ready, then you HAVE to brew with last year’s cans.

And be real, If you’re talking about an extract brew, then why not go for the cans? Going whole pumpkin there seems like grinding your own meat for making Hamburger Helper. If you’re making the all-grain kit, I can see the decision being tougher.

thanks JMcK I think I will try it something different. it will be extract as I am just in the process of getting set up for a all grain. I am having a hard time deciding what cooler to buy for my mash tun. any advise.

I decided that I am going to use canned pumpkin since that is what I have available. I am rural so I don’t have a close LBS and no 2 or 6 row. I was going to spread the pumpkin on a baking sheet and caramelize it slightly, but I am not sure when to add it. Any suggestions?

So no minimash at all?

I never occurred to me to caramelize the canned pumpkin, since it’s already cooked, but I could see it adding some additional flavor. The extract kit has 0.5lbs of caramel malt as a steeping grain; if you add more unfermentable sugar in the form of caramelized pumpkin, I’m not sure what it will do to the final flavor. It could be cloying. I’m also not sure what not mashing the pumpkin will do. I’m thinking that’s quite a bit of starch.

I forgot to get the extra malt when I ordered this year’s kit. The grain is $3.75 from NB, but the insane shipping added something like $10. So I ordered another kit too to make it feel less crazy. Maybe if you called; they could work with you on saner shipping?

Quick follow-up question on this beer. When I do the mini-mash with the 6-row, do I add the specialty grains in the mash also, or do I steep them after?

[quote=“chetgregg”]Quick follow-up question on this beer. When I do the mini-mash with the 6-row, do I add the specialty grains in the mash also, or do I steep them after?
Either or, but since you are mashing anyway I would add them. Doing a mini-mash is a great way to gain experience for AG.

For about a month now I’ve been saying, this weekend I’m going to brew my smashing pumpkin. Stupid reality keeps intruding. Last weekend it was having to shop for a new washing machine because the old one ground up its bearings.

THIS weekend I’m going to brew my smashing pumpkin.

Has anyone here ever subbed roasted sweet potatoes for the pumpkin? They are generally easy to find and I like sweet potato pie as much as pumpkin pie. I’m thinking of brewing up a batch and I’d just prefer fresh over canned.

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