Rather than take a side on that debate, the following article is presented as some tried and true suggestions to follow if you find yourself wanting to brew a pumpkin ale. After all, if you're going to do one of these beers, do yourself (and anyone you share the beer with) a favor, and make a good one!
Note from homebrewdad: this article is directly taken from a post by /u/rrrx at reddit's homebrewing sub. While I have edited and applied formatting, I do not take any credit for the content. I have reprinted it here with permission.
Interestingly, it seems that many brewers are adamantly opposed to using actual pumpkin flesh in their beers, feeling that doing so doesn't really offer anything to the beer and just makes a mess. Instead, they rely on their spice mix to invoke that signature pumpkin beer flavor.
Pumpkin ale - image courtesy of Google image search
As an avowed advocate of using actual pumpkin in pumpkin ales, I have to say that the idea that actual pumpkin contributes nothing isn't true at all. Once I first brewed my pumpkin ale, I spent the next five years perfecting the recipe, and have brewed it every year for the past fifteen years. I notice a very significant difference between pumpkin ales with actual pumpkin and those without it; you just have to know how to treat the pumpkin right.
A few tips for anyone interested, both generally about...
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In my early years I used real pumpkin just as it says here. But now many years in, I find you do not get much from using real pumpkin other then being able to say you used it. I use the canned puree now and get a much better pumpkin flavor. I do happen to use real pumpkin when I am tapping it for effects.. LOL
These are all good tips for using the real thing though....good article.
posted by madcowbrewing on 9/10/2015 at 01:24:28 AM
You've worn me down, I'm planning on brewing an Elysian Dark O the Moon Clone. Would I be smart to use canned pumpkin or use fresh from the pumpkin? I'll be using 24oz total 8 in mash, 8 in boil, and 8 in secondary.
posted by Buxman14 on 9/17/2015 at 04:53:40 PM
I do like your notes and rationale. I started with a Maris Otter Brown ale and added two cans of roasted pumpkin at 15 min to go, a vanilla bean (split and emptied into the wort) at 8 minutes along with the pumpkin spices at the same time. It comes out with amazing balance, and tastes like a slice of pumpkin pie. I have made it every year for the past 4 years and it is our fall favorite here. You have me thinking about more tweaks next time I brew.
posted by locnar1701 on 8/30/2016 at 07:08:45 PM
Tags for this post: pumpkin, ale, spice, pumpkin flesh, homebrew