September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Ale Brew-day

With fall right around the corner I recently brewed my first pumpkin ale. The idea with pumpkin ales is not to make a beer that tastes like a pumpkin (ever had pumpkin on its own ?) but to spice the beer so it reminds people of pumpkin pie. That being said nearly all pumpkin ales have pumpkin in them, it provides some extra starchiness, orange hue, and some extra  fermentable material. Additionally you couldn't really call it a pumpkin ale if there was no pumpkin in the beer could you ?

The brew-day went pretty good with only 1 or 2 minor issues. Generally pumpkin ales are notorious for stuck mashes and slow runoff''s. I avoided the problem of gumming up the mash with the pumpkin I dissolved the puree in the mash water while the RIMS system was recirculating. Additionally i added extra rice hulls to the grist.

The wort running into the brew kettle after had a great orange color, exactly like the outside of a pumpkin.

The rest of the brew-day was pretty much normal I only used 3 ounces of hops in the recipe, just enough to counter the sweetness of the wort.

I also change my method of whirlpooling on this brew. I lifted the hop bag out of the wort and let it drain over the kettle which let me get the wort spinning much faster leading to a better trub cone after transfer.

I ended up with 4 carboys full of beer, fermentation started within a few hours of pitching. Im letting this beer ferment in the ambient temperatures so it should finish pretty quickly. After fermentation is done I'm going to make vodka tinctures with some typical pumpkin pie spices and add them at kegging.


  1. This is a wise idea! Having never used pumpkin before, I simply baked it at 350 for an hour for some caramelization and then I scopped it in during dough-in. I'd put in some grain, throw in a few scoops of pumpkin and stir...over and over. Well, as you can see, it didnt work too well!!! I also used too little in the way of rice hulls. Next year, Im doing it your way. As for the flavors, this Bock tastes great. Why i had the urge to brew a pumpkin lager, I dont know...but it is tasty. I will start lagering tomorrow.

  2. Thanks for commenting, It was a last minute decision but one I'm glad I made. I might try roasting some pumpkin too next year to get some nice caramelized flavors (if i remember :})

  3. Do you think this (dissolving the pumpkin in strike water) will work well in a cooler-style mash tub but also using Hochkurz decoction? Or do you think the recirculation is essential? Thanks!