Thursday, November 8, 2012

Jack SkALEington - The Pumpkin King

Last weekend I brewed a pumpkin ale for the first time. I’ve heard a lot of people say that you don’t need to add pumpkin, since pumpkin has such a mild taste. All you need to do is add pumpkin pie spices and you get the affect of drinking pumpkin pie. Although I wanted the spices, I also wanted a little pumpkin, gourd, taste.

There are too schools of thought for the pumpkin addition. Some people say to add roasted pumpkin directly into the mash, others say to add canned pumpkin to the boil. I decided to cut a real pumpkin and add it to the mash, which I figured was more traditional (traditional pumpkin ales actually use a lot more pumpkin and are actually sour due to being cooled over night in barrels).
Most people also say that there is a real problem with stuck sparges with pumpkin in the mash, which is another reason they avoid it. I was prepared for this and bought a lot of rice hulls. During my lautering I did not experience any trouble with a stuck sparge.

Before I started brewing I sliced up the pumpkin and roasted it at 400F for 40 minutes. I wanted to use 3 lbs of pumpkin, honestly, I’m not sure how much I used due to my lack of a scale. The pumpkin itself weighed about 8lbs, assuming I can only extract half of that weight in pumpkin meat, I was left with 4 lbs. I could only fit so much in our oven, so about 1/4 of it was left out. This should leave me with around 3 lbs. That amount seems pretty accurate because I used the scientific method of holding a 2lb bad of sugar in my hand and the pumpkin in my other hand, the pumpkin seemed heaver.

(Pre-roasted pumpkin)
(Post-roasted pumpkin)
If there is not as much pumpkin flavor as I would like I might add some to secondary. With the left over pumpkin, I put that into our food processor and made some pumpkin puree. We then used the pumpkin puree for pumpkin corn bread, which is also very tasty and a great snack while I’m at work.
For some reason my final volume was higher then what I was targeting. I’m assuming my boil off rate was lower. I guess the boil was not vigorous enough. This in return lowered my original gravity. I just left it alone, because I’m not concerned with 0.007 points. I also went with a longer mash in an effort to increase my efficiency by allowing the water more time to reach dry spots and convert starches. I also went with a double batch sparge technique again. My pre-boil gravity was right where I wanted to be, thus, I was 75% efficient while mashing, but ended up being 69% efficient overall.

Jack SkALEington - The Pumpkin King

  • OG Estimate: 1.068 (Actual: 1.061)
  • FG Estimate: 1.015
  • Measured FG: 1.011
  • IBU: 32.4
  • SRM: 15 Degrees
  • ABV:  6.5%
  • Batch size: 4.25 gallons
  • Boil time: 90 minutes
  • Estimated efficiency: 75%
  • 7.25 lbs American Two-Row
  • 3 lbs of Fresh pumpkin
  • 1.25 lbs Munich Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Biscuit Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Brown Sugar
  • 0.25 lbs Belgian Special B
  • 0.25 lbs Aromatic Malt
  • A hand full of rice hulls
Hops (Pellet)
  • 60 min - Mt. Hood - 1.0 oz
  • 15 min - Mt. Hood - 0.75 oz
  • 5 min - Mt. Hood - 0.25 oz
Mash Schedule
  • Single infusion 155F for 75 minutes
  • American Ale Wyeast 1056
  • Cinnamon - 0.5 tsp
  • Nutmeg - .025 tsp
  • Clove - .025 tsp
  • Pumpkin spices- .025 tsp
  • Yeast nutrient - 1 tsp
  • Irish moss - 1 tsp
(10/2/11) - Brewed by myself. I added the sugar at the last 25 minutes hoping for a little extra flavor from some caramelization. The yeast nutrient and Irish moss were added in the last 15 minutes. The spices were added with the last hop addition. I cooled to 80 degrees, shook to aerate, and pitched the yeast from a starter I made two days before.

(10/3/11) - A nice thick krausen has formed about 24 hours after pitching. The spices are present but they don’t seem overwhelming.

(10/15/11) - Gravity down to 1.011 with a nice subtle spice aroma just like I wanted. Not much pumpkin flavor but I’m not to picky about that. It might come out more as the spices fade.

(10/24/11) - Bottled with 1/3 cup (4.4oz) of table sugar.

(12/21/11) - First tasting notes.

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