How to Brew a Pumpkin Beer

By Ryan Morosky | August 13, 2010 | 2 Comments |
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Ok beer fans that time of year is right around the corner. Summers coming to an end, football is just on the horizon, and the holiday season will be here before we know it.

A local brewery on Long Island starts the fall season with its infamous Pumpkin Spice Ale. A rich beer with the entire holiday flavor is the perfect way to start the season.   As a novice homebrewer, I felt that making a pumpkin brew would be a great first challenge to my brewing talent. Keep reading to learn more about how to brew a pumpkin beer:

The first thing you’re going to need is obviously the pumpkin. Though canned pumpkin is doable, and easier to obtain when fresh pumpkins are not in season—fresh pumpkin is the way to go.  (I started my batch just before Halloween when pumpkins held prime time real estate at the local stores and farm stands.) You’ll want about 2-4 pumpkins or about 6-8 pounds worth

After you have selected your pumpkins, you’ll need to clean the pumpkin and remove the outer shell.  Removing that outer shell is a lot harder then just peeling and orange, especially when the pumpkins are on the harder side. After you’ve got the pumpkins pealed, you’ll want to cut them up into pieces and spread out on a cookie sheet.  The next step here is to cook the pumpkin for about an hour until it’s soft. This allows for the flavors in the pumpkin to be released into the brew.  (Hint: remember to put water at the bottom of the sheet and check periodically to keep the pumpkin from burning.)

Now it’s onto the fun part—brewing.

Now the base for the brew is up for debate, but I used a base for brown ale (we’ll assume you know the steps on how to make a brown ale). However, before adding any of your malt, you’re going to want to seep the cooked pumpkin in your pot for about ten minutes in a seeping bag or cheese cloth. After this step, it’s all normal brewing procedure from there. From here you will continue the regular brewing process, i.e. add your malt, your hops and so forth.

The last step is adding your “holiday spices.” As for the pumpkin, the fresher the better. Add your spices during the last few minutes of the boil, starting with your stronger spices first as these flavors won’t boil off as fast (this is why spices are done at the end). The spices you choose and how much I’ll leave up to you. Some things to consider would be: cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, etc., again your typical “holiday spices.”

After fermentation and bottling, you’re ready to go. I do recommend a secondary fermentation on this brew to really allow for the flavors to combine and also for clarity. After 3-4 weeks of bottling, it’s time to call up the friends and family to enjoy in your creation. To class things up a little bit, I recommend serving your brew in a pint glass rimmed with cinnamon and sugar which helps draw and combine the spices in the brew.

As I said, I started my Pumpkin Spice just around Halloween, which gave me time to have the beer ready for the family on Thanksgiving. The beer was a hit and drew close comparisons with that of the local brewery which started the local pumpkin brew craze. Needless to say as a brewer, I was very happy with the outcome, and thrilled that my friends and family were able to enjoy what started out for me as an experiment! I hope you are just as successful with your pumpkin brew, should you choose to tackle it.

Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up.
- Beer Universe

Ryan Morosky is a guest writer for Beer Universe. We thank him for his contribution – please leave your feedback below!

2 Comments · How to Brew a Pumpkin Beer

    • Blakepoto
    • Beer Explorer
    • Aug 13, 2010

    Awsome Ryan...sounds great and perfect timing to start brewing it now. Right and ready for the fall - FOOTBALL

    What else do you have on the docket?

  • So post your recipe!

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