Recipes, tips and techniques for making pumpkin beer

Recipes, tips and techniques for making pumpkin beer

Making pumpkin beer is an art that can enjoyed by the
masses. There’s no standardized style for brewing pumpkin ale, making it
possible for everyone to experiment with their own creativity and skills to
craft a masterful brew that will be the talk of any gathering. Pumpkin beer
recipes are as numerous as the spices and techniques used in their brewing.

Selecting pumpkins for pumpkin beer recipes

You’ll want to stay away from those large pumpkins that
people carve Jack-O-Lanterns with. Instead, opt for smaller, denser pumpkins
that are better suited for pie making. These pumpkins will have fewer and
smaller seeds to deal with, along with more rich, deep flavors.

Many brewers like to use canned pumpkin. That works well.
Just be sure to choose 100% natural pumpkin. Do not use pumpkin pie filling,
only 100% natural pumpkin with no preservatives. Preservatives may cause issues
with the fermentation process that must occur in order to make that perfect
pumpkin ale.

You are going to need a minimum of one pound of pumpkin meat
to make a single five gallon batch of pumpkin beer. Depending on recipes and
personal tastes, some brewers use as much as 10 pounds of pumpkin meat per
five gallon batch. You’ll discover the optimal amount for your recipes only
through avid experimentation (and imbibing).

Spices for making pumpkin beer

The spices you choose to flavor your pumpkin ale with are
profoundly important. It’s the spices that either make the formula work
deliciously, or send it into the dreaded files for failed recipes. Remember
first that it’s extra easy to go overboard with spices – and that there’s no
taking them back out. So go sparingly. You can always make a late adjustment to
add spice during the bottling phase, but not to remove it. Many home brewers
simply add in one teaspoon of a brand name pumpkin pie spice (like McCormick’s)
during the final five minutes or so of the boiling process. (The
brewing process is discussed below.)

If you choose to experiment with custom spice blends, then
consider selecting form any of the following.

  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice 
  • Maple
    Syrup
  • Chocolate
  • others
    to suit your taste…

Tips
and techniques for making pumpkin beer

 

Remember
that there is no base style for pumpkin beer making. You are free to begin your
recipe with a porter, a stout, a wheat, an amber or any other style you desire
to experiment with. Most brewers agree that you’ll want to choose a style that
is not heavy on hops.

      Bring
out the richness in your pumpkin ale by cooking the pumpkin until it
caramelizes. Chop up the pumpkin meat and then mash it up. Spread it out thin
on a baking pan and bake it in a 325-degree oven for about an hour. This allows
the sugars to be released and begin cooking – and that is what’s needed to
create that scrumptious pumpkin flavor.

Ingredients
for making pumpkin beer

  FFermentable ingredients

  • Between 6 and 10 pounds of pumpkin meat, cut up,
    mashed and baked;
  • 6 pounds of dry amber malt extract or 7 pounds
    of liquid amber malt extract;
  • 1 pound of 2-Row malt (4L);
  • ½ pound of malted wheat;
  • ½ pound of crystal malt (40L);
  • ½ cup of black-strap molasses;
  • 1 ¼ cup of brown sugar

Spices
and hops

  •  1 1/8 ounce of Mount Hood hops (for boiling);
  • ½ teaspoon of natural vanilla extract;
  • ¾ teaspoon of selected spice mix;
  • ½ ounce Hallertauer hops (for finishing); and 1272
    American Ale II yeast

Partial mash recipe for making pumpkin beer

  1. Add five gallons of purified water to an
    eight-gallon boiling/mashing pot.
  2.  Heat the water to 167º Fahrenheit.
  3.  Add in all malts and stir. Wait for mash to
    settle.
  4.   Maintain the temperature between 152 and 154 F
    for 60 minutes.
  5.   Bring the temperature up to 169º F for 10
    minutes;
  6.   Rinse (sparge) with 175º F water to make 8 full
    gallons of wort in the boiling pot.
  7.  Bring the mixture to a boil.
  8.  Add in the caramelized pumpkin, hops, spices and
    other ingredients and boil gently for 90 minutes.
  9.  Remove from heat and cool as quickly as possible
    to 68º F.
  10.  Strain
    the wort of all solids and place the mixture in a fermenter.
  11.  Add
    in (pitch) the yeast.
  12.  Shake
    the fermenter gently.
  13.  Allow
    to ferment at 68 F for 8 to 10 days, until there’s no more bubbling.
  14.  Prime
    with ¾ cup of corn syrup and bottle.
  15.  Rack
    for 10 days and then enjoy.

The above
recipes will yield about five gallons of pumpkin beer, ranging between 6 and 8
percent alcohol. There are infinite recipes and techniques for making pumpkin
beer. The versatility and endless potential ensure a pleasant and delicious
pumpkin ale making experience every time.

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