How to Brew a Pumpkin Porter

Pumpkin Porter Recipe:

8 lbs Maris Otter
0.75 lbs Brown malt (thomas fawcett)
0.25 lbs Pale Chocolate (200 °L)
0.5 lbs chocolate malt (350 °L)
0.15 Victory malt
0.15 Black Patent malt

1 sugar pie pumpkin
1/2 butternut squash
1/2 acorn squash
1/2 kabocha squash

1 oz Czech Saaz (30 min)
1 cinnamon stick (0 min)
The rest of the spices add while cooling when wort is about (200 °F)
1/2 tsp mace
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp all spice (I grounded myself)
1/4 tsp nutmeg

WLP 011 European Ale yeast (half liter starter)

RO Water
1/2 tsp calcium sulfate
1/2 tsp calcium chloride
1/4 tsp aluminum free sodium bicarbonate

bake pumpkin at 350 °F for ~1 hour (when tender and easy to scoop out, but don’t overcook)

Mash (include pumpkin in mash) @ 154 °F
Ferment at 62 °F

how-to-brew-pumpkin-beers

One of the hardest things about brewing a pumpkin porter is making sure you don’t overwhelm the beer with flavors from both malts and pumpkin pie spices…

For this recipe, I decided to skip any crystal or caramel malt to avoid overwhelming the flavors in the beer…

I kept the spices moderately high since I plan on aging this beer until January (well, that’s the plan, but if the beer tastes good around November then I’ll post the review then…)

After testing out different methods for brewing with pumpkin (mashing or boiling) I’ve decided that I would only brew a pumpkin beer by mashing the pumpkin, not adding to the boil…

Adding to the boil does little to nothing to the beer which is really no wonder why most brewers don’t see pumpkin flavor in their beers…

Another reason why most brewers don’t get much pumpkin flavor is the use of canned pumpkin… the most common choice is Libby’s pumpkin made with Dickinson pumpkins…

Pumpkins are squashes but not all squashes are pumpkins…

There are three types of winter squashes: Cucurbita Pepo, Cucurbita Maxima, and Cucurbita Moschata…

Both butternut squash and Dickinson pumpkins fall under Cucurbita Moschata which makes Libby’s pumpkin more of a squash than a pumpkin…

Using squash to brew beer is actually not all that bad… some squash do have some flavors which may add good characteristics to your beer if you know your types…

The biggest problem with using canned pumpkin is the food preservatives used which are meant to fight bacteria or yeast activity… that means you can have sluggish or no fermentation if you get canned pumpkin with preservatives like sulfites…

If you want to learn more about brewing with pumpkins, I’ve put together a training program where I teach how to get the most amount of pumpkin flavor in your beers… check it out here

12 Comments

  • JACK MAJCHER

    Reply Reply September 20, 2013

    Hi, George. SG and FG?

    • jorgitoz

      Reply Reply October 4, 2013

      SG was roughly 1.056 – 1.060… FG around 1.011- 1.013… based on some math prior to brewing and tasting throughout the process…

      Cheers!

  • dan

    Reply Reply October 23, 2013

    y only half the squash

    • jorgitoz

      Reply Reply October 25, 2013

      Didn’t want to have too much in the mash… gets too thick and makes lautering harder…

  • Tom

    Reply Reply August 18, 2014

    How did it come out? Did you need to wait the full 4-6 months? I’d like to do this but have it ready in two months. Would love to hear your feedback, this looks like the closest recipe to what I’ve been thinking about.

    • jorgitoz

      Reply Reply August 19, 2014

      You can start drinking it sooner, but that beer just got better with time so be sure to save a few!!
      Cheers!

  • mike

    Reply Reply September 6, 2014

    stumbled over this on a google search…
    i upped the grain bill by 15% and the mash bill OG looks like 1.076
    i would like to play with spices, perhaps add a halved cinnamon and a vanilla bean, with about 70% of the spices listed above to a vodka extract. also, changing up my hops by E Kent, Fuggles – both .5oz at 60 and then remainder .5oz Fuggles at 20 mins.

    brewing on 9-13-14 and will secondary until thanksgiving-ish.

    thanks for posting, looking forward to this

    • jorgitoz

      Reply Reply September 7, 2014

      Awesome!! Looks good. Let me know how it turns out. Cheers!!

  • James Thalacker

    Reply Reply November 1, 2014

    Thanks for the post , like

    • jorgitoz

      Reply Reply February 1, 2015

      Your are welcome James

  • James Thalacker

    Reply Reply November 1, 2014

    Like the post, thanks for the info

    • jorgitoz

      Reply Reply November 1, 2014

      Thank you!!

      Cheers

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