Pumpkin pie smells delicious… and my pumpkin ale smells just like pumpkin pie…

So here’s what I learned during this brew session…

First off, pumpkin itself isn’t very flavorful… it’s rather bland and I chose it over canned for a couple reasons…

Second, most of the flavor in pumpkin beers usually come from the spices anyways (pumpkin pie spice, ground allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon,

Third, I wanted to try the ‘sweet pie’ pumpkin breed…

Canned versions like Libby’s uses Dickinson pumpkins… and some canned versions will have salt, sugar or spices…

I’ve heard that canned pumpkin is much better than using actual pumpkin, but that’s what this test is all about…

So here’s more or less what I did with this beer…

My Pumpkin Ale recipe:

9 lbs American 2-Row Barley
1.25 lbs Munich (20 L)
.5 lbs American Wheat
.25 lbs Crystal (40 L)
2 Sweet Pie Pumpkins (roughly 24 oz of pulp)

1 oz Cascade 5.5% AA (60 min)
.5 oz Cascade 5.5% AA (30 min)

1 tsp Cinnamon (5 min)
1 tsp Nutmeg (5 min)
1 tsp Ground Allspice (5 min)
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (5 min)

WLP001 California Ale Yeast (1 L starter)

RO Water
105 ppm Ca
132 ppm Cl
76 ppm SO[4]

For one, I added a bit of wheat malt to increase the body of the beer since I brewed a lighter beer… I used 1.73 chloride to sulfate ratio to help bring
out the maltyness and hopefully the flavor of the pumpkin out…

I started out with a protein rest at 134 F mostly for the wheat and then mashed at 156 F to get a slighty malty beer and give it a touch of creamyness…

I boiled for 90 minutes to bring out the flavor of the malts and the pumpkin since I added the pumpkin to the boil.

I added minimum amount of hops (around 26 IBUs) to avoid fighting the flavor and aroma of the pumpkin…

Overall, I am happy with the recipe and process and I think it will be a good way to test whether adding pumpkin to the mash or the boil is better… Once I
find that out, I may experiment with different pumpkin breeds, including canned… or I may try to incorporate darker malts…

I haven’t found much ‘good’ information on brewing with pumpkin so maybe we’ll come up with something good here… this is my first pumpkin brew so I welcome
comments, suggestions, and critiques…

Remember this is an experiment which I talked about on this past newsletter:
Brewing Pumpkin Beers

Here are the results I’ve found, plus what I’m doing to improve my pumpkin beer

How To Brew Beer

    4 replies to "How To Brew A Pumpkin Ale"

    • Vera Reihl Deckard

      Hey Jorge,
      Thanks for sharing this video. It is very informative and well organized. I am wondering, why do you make a yeast starter? I've just always pitched the yeast from the vial into my aerated keg and shook it up some more. It's always worked out for me. What is the benefit of making a starter?

    • Mike

      Suggest you add 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp ground ginger next time to the spice mixture you already have in the boil. Then in the bottling bucket or keg add an additional 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg….. this is really yummy!

      Mike Sherretz

    • Mike

      By the way, I made my pumpkin ale using a brown porter recipe and adding the spices and punpkin in the boil along with 2 tab molasses, then added 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg and 1/2 tsp ground cloves to the bottling bucket or in my case the keg. The sweetness stays there until the yeast eats it up but if used quickly this addition of brown sugar (even in the glass when pouring) really brings out the spices and makes a great brew!
      I keg my beer and simply add the equivelent of 1 cup brown sugar to 5 gallons in a 2 or 3 liter soda bottle that I then filled for the family to use the same day. It’s in great demand during the holidays and around valentine’s day.

      • Jorge

        Awesome!… I do want to try doing this with a Porter this year…

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