Awww Yeaaaaaaah…. pumpkin season is around the corner, which means more brewing, Oktoberfest, Halloween, my birthday and Vegas will be happening!

… and that means it’s time to prepare and nothing like picking up the season with a good pumpkin beer…

I’ve yet to find really good information on brewing with pumpkin so I’ll be experimenting in the next few weeks… pumpkin itself is not quite that flavorful, but if you’ve ever had a good pumpkin ale, that flavor comes out beautifully…

So to get the most flavor out of your pumpkin I recommend you look for either a sugar ‘pie’ pumkin, red kuri pumpkin or get the canned version… Small pumpkins are bred for flavor and are indeed more flavorful than giant halloween style pumpkins which were bred for thick rinds (carving) and not for eating!…

Now, here’s a cool little trick to bring out the pumpkin flavor in you beer…. bake!

Take a cookie sheet or line a pan with heavy duty foil and bake your pumpkin for 20-30 minutes at 350 F, or for an hour or two at 300 F.

This will caramelize some sugars and make them non-fermentable so they carry forward to your beer… and baking brings out the flavor in your pumpkin…

Now, where I have yet to find clear answers and an area for debate is whether to add the pumpkin to the mash or the boil. They both work, but I want to know what’s better… so that will be my experiment. I am going to brew a pumpkin ale by adding pumpkin to the boil, and another one by adding it to the mash… (stay tuned for the results)…

Now, for the grain bill… you don’t want to overload your beer with crystal malts where they are fighting with the pumpkin flavor… and you definitiely want to steer clear of using darker malts or minimize their use…

…. and to kick things up a notch, you gotta spice up the brew… you may want to sprinkle about tsp or less of pumpkin pie spice, all spice, cinnamon, and perhaps nutmeg… and now you’re cooking…

For hops I recommend you stick to a single hop like East Kent Goldings, perhaps Cascade or Northern Brewer… again, you don’t want to many flavors fighting your pumpkin so limit your aroma hops and make good use of your bittering and flavor hops… (60, 30 min additions)…

Last, choose a clean ale yeast strain. Your bread and butter American Ale Yeast (Wyeast 1056) or California Ale Yeast (WLP 001) will do the job… I will ferment at 68 F or lower to keep the esters from coming out and keeping it clean…

So that’s my plan, stay tuned for my final recipe, hopefully I have time to put a video together as well…. have a safe labor day weekend!

Cheers!


    7 replies to "Brewing Better Pumpkin Beers"

    • Mike T.

      I have the same thoughts about the grains, hops, and spices for brewing a pumpkin beer. I am an extract brewer, so I will be adding canned pumpkin to my boil. I’m interested in your opinion of the pumpkin addition to the mash vs boil as I plan on making the switch to all grain this winter.

    • Jorge

      @Mike – I just brewed the first batch, and I added the pumpkin to the boil… it’s fermenting now, but next batch will be the one I’ll brew by adding the pumpkin to the mash and then I’ll compare the results…

      Cheers!

    • Zac

      I am getting ready to brew a pumpkin ale myself and have been grappling with where to add the pumpkin (mash or boil) I am interested to see how your experiment turns out! I think am going to start with mash …

      • Jorge

        I’ve heard so many arguments on both sides so I decided to try both… I’ve almost come to the conclusion that it’s more about the spices than the actual pumpkin… I’ll be updating my newsletter on my results…

    • Carl

      did my first pumpkin ale yesterday.
      used a yeast starter but still have no activity, its been 20 plus hours.
      did an extract, steeped grains 60 minutes at a closely guarded 160to 170 range.cut the pumpkin in after that and let it settle an addtional hour at a closely guarded 150degree added an oz of cascade dry hopped with willamette oz actually smells like a real pumpkin pie with the additions of 43 grams of spices, hey what the hey someome will drink it. cheers

    • Gintaras Kuzma

      Hey, wehere are you located I did a pumpkin ale and I roasted the pumpkin for 90 minutes in the oven with dark brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice, I also added pumpkin pie spice and vanilla bean to the boil and the secondary.. it came out amazing and I would love to send you a bottle for review. send me your address?

    • Gintaras Kuzma

      BTW, I put my roasted pumpkin in the mash.

Leave a Reply to Zac Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.