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09/14/09 12:59 PM  
Fermentability of Squash
I'm planning on a winter squash saison-type beer, something around 1.068 O.G. and fermenting down to 7.5 - 8% ABV. I'm wondering how to treat the squash. If I use 4-5 pounds of roasted meat in the mash, will that ferment out really well like rice or corn? Or should I maybe still add a little sugar. I'm mashing low around 148 in any case.
09/14/09 01:18 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
As far as I know, any starchy substance that you add to the mash will break down into very similar sugars as malt does, resulting in similar levels of fermentability as the base malt. I think this includes rice and corn.

I would think it would dry out just fine, but not 100% like adding sucrose or dextrose.

09/14/09 02:22 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
Chris, doesn't it also have to do with the type of starches in the grain or adjunct? I'm pretty sure that if you take two identical mashes, same temperature but one mash has 25% rice, it will finish out significantly lower than the all barley mash.
Mike T
09/14/09 02:28 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
I don't think you are going to get much fermentable from the squash. From what I could find with a quick google-ing canned pumpkin is only ~8% carbohydrate (including ~3% sugar), so 4 lbs would give the same contribution as adding .13 lbs of sugar and .2 lbs of starch to the mash (and that is assuming 100% extraction).
09/14/09 05:42 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
I have been doing a lot of research lately on squash/pumpkin beers as I am planning one to brew soon. I believe if you mash the squash you will get some (minimal) fermentables provided you have cooked it thoroughly first to help convert the starches to available sugar. Unfortunately, mashing does not give the BEST flavor/texture input to the finished beer. I remember a Zymurgy back a year or so that dealt with pumpkin beer (squash in your case) that said they got a better flavor by first cooking the squash with brown sugar sprinkled on it to enhance the caramelizing flavor (but you may not want that in a saison), then boiling the scraped pulp for 90 minutes with the collected wort instead of mashing. I am planning on trying it this way in a month or so.

PS - if you are worried about haze in the finished beer from boiling the squash, most of the starches should convert during the baking process to eliminate any future haze issues. :)

09/15/09 12:19 AM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
I am brewing my pumpkin saison this week. In the past I used all canned pumpkin, this year I am using roasted pumpkin in the mash and a couple of caramelized canned pumpkin in the end of the boil. I have a spaghetti squash as well, any insight on the use of that squash in the beer??? I am not using any spices again, hoping to get spiciness from the yeast. Mine is 1.067 shooting for the same abv (pils, marris otter, vienna, wheat and sugar, dark brown sugar).

Keep me posted on yours and I will do the same

09/15/09 10:28 AM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
Don't count on any fermentables from the squash. It is simply for novalty. A good idea is to roast the squash in your favorite beer first then add the roasted squash cubes to your mash. At whirlpool add the roasted juice from the squash and beer to your kettle.

09/15/09 10:30 AM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
Just wondering what the attraction of using Pumpkin or Squash, etc. in a beer is? Seems like a gimmick to me, and that most of the flavors we associate with these "Halloween" style beers are from the spicing.
09/15/09 12:43 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
inb4 "First Wort Squashing"
Rob B
09/15/09 01:13 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
I also have a squash saison fermenting right now, with Wyeast 3726 that is in its 3rd generation. I used 4 lbs of roasted calabaza in the mash.

mrb...it is pretty much a gimmick thing, just something to try, not a lot of squash(pumpkin) character seems to make it through.

I added only a minimal amount of spice to the kettle and am making an extract with vanilla absolut, cinnamon sticks, grated whole nutmeg, and a few whole cloves that I will add at kegging to taste.

09/15/09 04:16 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
I think it's just a cool homebrew thing to do that most commercial brewers don't have a chance to do because it's labor intensive. There has to be some flavor contribution from it, especially if it's roasted. I'm not doing any pumpkin pie spice. I'm not saying I'll never drink those beers, but that's totally not what I'm going for. I do expect to see some contribution of fermentables, maybe not much because a whole lot of it is water weight. I am going to roast it to be fairly soft, mash it up, and throw it in the mash with some rice hulls of course. Maybe it's not worth worrying about how fermentable it will be since it's going to add a low percentage of the total sugars.
Scott J
09/15/09 05:44 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
Mike T has it about right as far as fermentables. If you use whole pumpkin make sure you blend it up in a blender before putting in the mash so the enzymes can get at it easier. The Zymurgy article was crap - I would never put pumpkin in the boil.

I have been brewing pumpkin beer once each year for about 15 years now. I brew 10 gallons, put the spices in 5 and have that at Thanksgiving, then put less spices in the other 5 and ferment it with Saison yeast and have it at Christmas.

For the last several yeats i have been treating the pumpkin as I would rice or corn - I do a cereal mash with it and 6-row and add it into the main mash.

09/16/09 05:17 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
If you did a cereal mash then didn't you end up boiling the pumpkin anyway? How is that different from adding the pumpkin to the boil after baking it to convert starches to available sugars?

I have only tasted mashed pumpkin beers and always thought they were good but with very little pumpkin flavor contributed. Has anyone here ever tried to boil the pumpkin with the wort, and if so was the contribution to flavor any different?

Rob B
09/16/09 08:34 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
I have added the pumpkin(canned) to the boil before and didn't get any hint of pumpkin in the finished product, just and incredibly hazy beer.

I think it is just the nature of pumpkin to not get much out of it.

09/17/09 12:38 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
Thanks guys. I'll try Mike's estimate as to how much sugars to expect from the squash. I got 6+ pounds of roasted squash meat from a 9.5 pounds squash, and it's all going in! It has a delicate flavor, but I like it.
Scott J
09/17/09 02:24 PM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash
Just to clarify:

I boiled the pumpkin in the cereal mash the gelatinize it then added back to the main mash for conversion. Then it all gets strained out in the sparge so none of the pumpkin flesh makes it into the boil.

Baking won't convert all the starch to sugar.

With my method I do get gravity, color, and flavor from the pumpkin.

Al B
09/18/09 09:12 AM  
Re: Fermentability of Squash

Had a good time @ the NYC hb club meeting for Night of the funk. For tastings while I babbled on about brett, I started off with the old saison w/ brett (from our swap), followed by a 100% all brett beer (the dirty dozen), and finished off with Grand Funk Aleroad gueuze.

Good folks in the club, I sent the presentation for posting on the Guild's website (fyi).

Hope all is going well in Portland


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