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Shortfall on Pumpkin Ale OG

Hey guys - This past weekend I brewed the pumpkin ale recipe out of the most recent Zymurgy magazine. It’s a pretty big beer, with an OG target of 1.070 (12.625 lb of grain, 3 lb of pumpkin, 1 lb of maple syrup, 1 lb of honey). I was disappointed to see my OG to come in around 1.064… that’s the largest shortfall I’ve had.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, this was also my first multi-step mash. I hit the 120 protein rest, hit the 154 sacch rest, but came up short on the 168 mash out (hit about 163). With such a massive grain bill and mashing in a cooler, I had to start with a THICK grain/water ratio of 1 to 1. The 10 gallon cooler just couldn’t handle the volume of boiling water required to hit 168.

Questions:

  1. Feedback on 1064 vs. a goal of 1070? Is this shortfall massive? Have you all missed targets by that much and still made good beer?

  2. Possible sources of shortfall, other than too much water.
    A.Too thick of a mash at protein rest (1 to 1 ratio)?
    B. Not hot enough on the mash out?
    C. Ambiguity of recipe composition? For example, did my lb of honey have the same amount of sugar as the author’s? Same amount of sugar in my pumpkin as author’s pumpkin?

Thanks in advance for your feedback. Cheers!

Just a few thoughts, but I have to point out that I have not yet seen the recipe itself.

First: No worries. Your beer will be fine.

It sounds like you did a few things that differ from your typical process, so any one of them could hold the key to understanding why you missed the target. But before getting into that, I have to ask if you calibrated the recipe to match your typical efficiency? For example, if the recipe is formulated for 75% efficiency and you typically land at 70%, did you increase the fermentables in the recipe accordingly?

In my experience, the 1:1 water/grist ratio during the protein rest is not a problem, although I’m curious why the recipe called for a protein rest to begin with. A lot of brewers (including myself) never perform a mashout.

This is a very good point. I did not calibrate. Most recipes I use, however, are assuming 75% efficiency, as did this recipe. I have always ended very close to target, so just assumed I am around 75%. I should really confirm that though.

The reason that I step mashed this brew is because the author of the article/recipe explicitly said this recipe benefits a lot from a protein rest and a mash out. I am sure it would have been just fine with a single infusion, but I’m not cracking the pumpkin beer until Thanksgiving with family, and knew I would kick myself if the beer was not very good.

Recipe below is adjusted from a 10 gallon recipe for a 5 gallon batch:

10.5 lb pale
.625 lb Melanoidin
.5 lb victory
.5 lb crystal
.5 rice hulls
3 lb canned pumpkin

Mash 10 mins @ 120
Mash 60 mins @ 154
Mash out 10 mins @ 168

90 minute boil
.5 oz magnum (90 mins)
1 lb maple syrup @ end
1 lb honey @ end
1/2 Tbl pumpkin pie spice @ flameout

Went with Whitelabs 008 east coast ale yeast (made a starter)

Pitched @ 67 degrees thus morning (10 hours ago) and some good fermentation activity already.

The article has a note just before he lists the ingredients.

Note: the ingredients are geared toward 12 gallons to allow for waste. Assumes 85% efficiency.

I’m thinking about doing this as well. I’m not setup for 10 gallon batches so I’ll need to scale it down a bit as well.

[quote=“Sarge”]The article has a note just before he lists the ingredients.

Note: the ingredients are geared toward 12 gallons to allow for waste. Assumes 85% efficiency.

I’m thinking about doing this as well. I’m not setup for 10 gallon batches so I’ll need to scale it down a bit as well.[/quote]

Damn. Didnt see the 85% assumption. Oh well, it’s still a big beer and im looking forward to it!

What’s your setup? Notice the problem i ran into mashing in a cooler and trying to hit 168 on the mash out. If you want to mash out and you’re using a 10 gallon cooler, I would recommend using a thicker protein rest ratio than 1, but make sure you stir plenty when adding water to mash out. With all that pumpkin in there, could get stuck pretty easily

I have 10 gallon Blichman kettles. I could mash it in my old cooler mashtun but I have no way of boiling 14-15 gallons of wort.

Did you calculate specific gravity for the pumpkin? The little research I’ve done show mixed results. Some will calculate and some won’t. I’m asking because I can’t get the projected gravity of 1.070 in ibrewmaster.

Its what you get for brewing a pumpkin ale. :twisted:

Bigger beers generally mean a few points lower in efficiency unless you want to do a longer boil. I would suggest doing two smaller sparges next time, that gets more sugar out than one larger one.

I haven’t brewed it yet. I put the recipe in iBrewmaster and I can’t get it to match the gravity that’s listed with the recipe.

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