Today in preparation for a Halloween party I brewed a 1.050 pumpkin beer. I followed the recipe and pumpkin cooking instructions in Brewing Classic Styles and it turned out very well.
The pumpkin I bought was about twelve pounds, as each quarter weighed about three pounds. Jamil’s recipe calls for five pounds of pumpkin pulp so I baked three of them figuring I’d have extra. Surprisingly enough the three quarters only produced four and three-quarters pounds of pulp. Certainly close enough for the recipe but it was instructive to see how much gets lost to the skin and perhaps water loss.
I baked the quarters at 330F until they were nice and soft, and the juice had a nice caramelized sweetness to it. This took about 2 hours and 10 minutes. 330 really does seem to be an appropriate temperature. After brewing I baked the remaining quarter at 350 and it seemed a bit overdone as the juices had a very slight burnt taste.
I used a potato masher to get the flesh into a thin pulp, and added it right in the mash. I didn’t adjust my strike water calculations for the pumpkin and still hit my strike temp just fine. I suppose five pounds isn’t that much material, and besides it was still pretty warm.
In the book Jamil talks about some people having issues with stuck sparges with pumpkin but him not having any problems. Well I’m in Jamil’s camp, this mash behaved no differently that any other beer I’ve done. I did noticed that the pumpkin tended to float to the surface of the mash (as seen in the photo) so maybe that helped keep it out of the way of the seeping sparge water. Who knows? This is the first time I’d ever put something other than grain or hops into the mash so it was pretty neat being able to taste the pumpkin in the wort.
Another bit of advice Jamil gives is to use 2/3 of the spice blend in the boil and to reserve the rest for optional spicing in secondary. Well I threw in the whole amount at flameout and it tastes great. The amounts given in BCS are not at all assertive merely providing a pleasant spice backing.