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Pumpkin

What it does :

Remember that, for many of the centuries people have been brewing beer, the exclusive use of hops to balance beer's malty base is relatively recent. Brewers have long added special flavorings like fruit to make unique brews, and that tradition continues today. The craft brewing and homebrewing movements provide daily examples of this inventiveness. If you are reading this, you are likely looking to broaden your beer and brewing palate. You can make use of pumpkin to express your own brewing creativity and make a beer that is uniquely yours. Pumpkin is obviously a required ingredient in varieties of pumpkin ale. Pumkin flavoring is easier to brew with than whole pumpkin, but some can claim they can taste the difference.

When designing a beer recipe that will include pumpkin you must carefully consider the malt, hops, and yeast base that will best complement this specialty ingredient. When brewing with fruit, many brewers choose a strong malt base, with bittering hops only. By avoiding the addition of aroma hops, this allows the added fruit to complement, and not conflict with the beer's other ingredients.

What it is:

Pumpkins are a variety of squash. They are large, thick-skinned, and yellow to orange in color. They are native to North America. Pumpkin can be added to your brew either in natural form from the whole vegetable or as a processed flavoring.

Dosage:

The amount of whole pumpkin needed for brewing can vary depending on the source and the desired beer flavor, but can be 5 to 7 lbs per 5 gallons, added to the secondary fermenter. With pumpkin flavoring, use up to 1 teaspoon and add during bottling. Finding the right amount of pumpkin to use will depend on your particular recipe and your vision for your beer. As always, keep good records of each beer that you make, be willing to experiment, and you will converge on the ingredient mix that yields the flavor and aroma result that you like best.

Preparation:

Brewing with whole pumpkin complicates the brewing process. It should not be added during the boil because haze-causing pectins will result. So care must be taken to pasteurize it before addition to the secondary fermenter.

Drawbacks:

When adding whole pumpkin, remove any seeds and scoop out the flesh. Then, heat at 145 F for 30 minutes, quickly chilling to 40 F before use. Just as cooking with fresh fruit makes your culinary dishes taste superior, so will using the same quality of ingredients to your beer. So, for that extra impact on your finished brew, reach for fresh pumpkin. You should be able to obtain it in your local specialty grocery store or shop.

Related Links

Volume Conversion
Weight Conversion
Pumpkin