Pumpkin Beer…Mashed in a Pumpkin

I’m a little late posting this, but I wanted to get it in before November ended as Christmas is pretty much in full force already. The process for this was really a lot of guess work. I just got a pumpkin that looked like it could hold 2.25 pounds worth of grain (easier said than done though) and mashed in with 1.5 gallons of water (2 qts per pound of grain). I then carved off the top and took out all the seeds, and simply mashed in. After about 75 minutes, I collected 1.2 gallon-ish at 1.035, and had just under a gallon at 1.054 post-boil after adding some DME at the start of the boil. Piece of cake, right?

Nope. It’s never easy when getting weird. It all went pretty well…except for not knowing how porous the mash stupid pumpkin meat is. It did NOT act like an insulator like I thought, but rather absorbed the heat like a wet sponge. What started out as about 145F in the mash, ended about 120F by the end. Whoops.

The only change I would make for the mashing process is having some sort of insulation around the pumpkin or starting the mash way higher like in the 160s and let it drop down, but that could get really weird with conversion. Another option is to mash thick and continuously add hot water to keep it in the 140-150F range.

The chances of this imparting any pumpkin flavor is low as most the time the pumpkin is added later in the process and is also usually cooked first, but who knows. It’s always funny in Glendale, CA.

Recipe:

Batch Size: 1 Gallon
OG: 1.054
SRM: 16
Est ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 19
Boil Time: 30 Min

Malt:
I took 2.25 lbs from this grain bill (minus the Carafa III)

(76.4%) – 2-Row
(12.5%) – Light DME (Added at the start of the boil)
(10%) – Flaked Oats
(6.7%) – Flaked Barley
(3.5%) – Crystal 60L
(3.5%) – Special B

Mash:
75 Min @ 145F (and lower)

Hops:
.10 oz Challenger (9.6% AA) @ 30 Min

Yeast:
Wyeast London Ale III 1318

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 10/29/16:

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Took 2.25 lbs of grain from the latest stout without the Carafa III and mashed in with what was supposed to be 153F target mash, but started off at 145F instead. Ended in the 120F range after 75 minutes.

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I used the strainer to separate the mash from the wort (one could also consider doing some sort of a brew in a bag method for this). Collected 1.054 post-boil and fermented with some extra Wyeast London Ale III 1318 I had lying around from the New England-style IPA.

11/10/16: Fermentation is complete.

11/16/16: Bottled.

12/3/16 Tasting notes:

Well, the pumpkin flavor made it to the end! I am a little surprised it’s there to be honest as from what I can gather a lot of the pumpkin flavor comes later in the boil with spices (and pumpkin), and later with adding it to the secondary at times. I have heard of people adding pumpkin to the mash, but not solely in the mash and not mashing in a pumpkin.

As a whole it’s actually quite enjoyable. The pumpkin flavor that’s there isn’t too overwhelming and is actually pretty balanced. It also has a creaminess to it that I like. That very well could be from extra body enhancing proteins and beta-glucans getting into the mash via the pumpkin meat, but that’s a complete guess and those things very well might not even be in pumpkin meat. I would look it up, but that’s a whole chemistry breakdown todo.

It’s also possible there is some diacetyl in there as well, but I am horrible detecting it, so I may need to get another opinion.

As a whole I’m very pleased and would do this again. The only change I’d made would be to mash higher or try and wrap the pumpkin with something to insulate the heat more.

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