Craft Your Own Spiced Pumpkin Beer - Easy Recipe

Follow our step-by-step instructions to blend rich malts, baked pumpkin, and spices for a brew that captures the essence of autumn.

RECIPES

Mat Stuckey

10/2/20233 min read

A pint of pumpkin beer next to a pumpkin
A pint of pumpkin beer next to a pumpkin

Spiced Pumpkin Beer Recipe

As autumn arrives, brew up a batch of pumpkin beer to celebrate the season. This spiced pumpkin ale recipe produces a malt-forward brew accented by pumpkin pie spices. It's designed for beginner homebrewers but easily customised by more advanced brewers.

One of the great aspects of pumpkin beers is flexibility - you can start with a wide range of base beer styles from amber ales to porters and simply add pumpkin and spices. The key is to avoid highly hopped styles, instead letting the squash and seasoning shine. This recipe uses a simple dry amber ale base to highlight the pumpkin and spice additions.

Choosing the Best Pumpkin

Selecting a good baking pumpkin is crucial for pumpkin beer. Seek out smaller pie pumpkins rather than large jack-o-lantern varieties, which lack flavour complexity. Or grab a can of 100% natural preservative-free pumpkin purée - these work perfectly. One pound per 5 gallons provides subtle pumpkin flavours, while up to 5 pounds delivers intense pumpkin intensity.

Pre-cooking the pumpkin brings out the most flavour. Before brewing, spread pumpkin chunks or purée over a sheet pan and bake at 350°F for 60 minutes. The caramelised sugars produce the quintessential pumpkin character.

Crafting Your Spice Blend

Pumpkin beers demand some blend of "pumpkin pie" spices, but creativity is encouraged. While basic mixed spice delivers familiar flavours, get adventurous with your own blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and other aromatics. For this recipe, the addition of dark maple syrup provides maple notes that pair wonderfully with classic pie spices.

Start with around 1 tsp total spice per 5 gallon batch, added in the last 5 minutes of the boil. Taste the finished beer before bottling and tweak spice additions to find your perfect balance.

Brewing Up Your Pumpkin Ale

This easy 4.5 gallon pumpkin ale recipe walks beginners through the essential brewing steps:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pre-baked pumpkin

  • Crushed speciality grains

  • 4.8 lb dry malt extract

  • 0.5 oz Northern Brewer hops (60 min)

  • 14 oz dark maple syrup (5 min)

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (5 min)

  • Ale yeast (Safale US-05)

A glass of pumpkin beer next to a whole pumpkin
A glass of pumpkin beer next to a whole pumpkin

Pumpkin Beer Instructions

  • Bake the Pumpkin: Place the pumpkin in a flat pan and cook it in an oven preheated to 350°F (180°C) for an hour.

  • Prepare the Malt: Knot together the crystal 20L and chocolate malt in a small, porous hop sack. Submerge this sack in 5.5 gallons of water inside a 7.5-gallon kettle.

  • Heat the Mixture: Start warming the water, ensuring the hop sack isn't in direct contact with the kettle's base. Take out the sack when the water's temperature hits 170°F (77°C).

  • Boil the Wort: Elevate the water to a strong boil. While it's getting hot, gradually incorporate 4.8 pounds of light dry malt extract and the previously baked pumpkin. Stir until fully mixed. As boiling starts, introduce 1/2 ounce of Northern Brewer hops, also in a hop sack.

  • Add Flavourings: 55 minutes into the boiling process, blend in the maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice.

  • End the Boil: After boiling for a full 60 minutes, cease heating. Caution: Once the wort's temperature falls below 180°F (82°C), ensure all equipment that comes into contact with it is sterilised, and minimise exposure to air.

  • Cool the Wort: Chill the wort by either placing the kettle in an ice-filled sink or using a wort chiller until the temperature drops to 65°F (18°C). Move the cooled wort to a clean fermenting vessel, either a carboy or a fermentation bucket.

  • Take Gravity Reading: Use a sterilised auto-syphon racking cane to extract a sample of the wort for a gravity measurement using your hydrometer. Record this number, as it will be needed later to determine the alcohol content. The reading should be approximately 1.057. Seal the fermenting vessel with a sterilised stopper and airlock.

  • Aerate the Wort: Shake the fermenting vessel energetically for at least 5 minutes or aerate using pure oxygen for 60 seconds. Introduce one packet of Safale US-05 yeast.

  • Fermentation: Allow the mixture to ferment for a minimum of 14 days at a temperature range of 64 to 68°F (18 to 20°C).

  • Bottling: Once fermentation is finished, bottle the brew. Use an adequate amount of priming sugar to achieve a moderate level of carbonation.

Tips for Beginners

  • Sterilise everything contacting wort post-boil!

  • Use a blowoff tube to allow foamy fermentation.

  • Reduce priming sugar slightly to avoid over-carbonation.

  • Give yeast an adequate fermentation time of 2 weeks minimum.

Customising Your Brew

This pumpkin ale recipe serves as a blank canvas for creativity:

  • Substitute your own homemade spice blend!

  • Add extra squash for more pumpkin flavour.

  • Try blending in molasses, brown sugar, or honey.

  • Base it on a porter or stout for more roastiness.

  • Play with extra ingredients like coffee, vanilla, or chilli peppers.

However you choose to brew it, this pumpkin ale is sure to be a hit at fall gatherings. Savour the flavours of the season with every sip!