I'm going to be brewing a pumpkin spiced beer friday and will not have the time to do an all grain. So partial mash it is. Any hints, tips or tricks would be appreciated.

Original Gravity: 1.070

Terminal Gravity: 1.017

Color: 15.12


Bitterness: 19.7


2.0 lb American 2-row

1.0 lb Munich Malt

1.0 lb Crystal 45

1.0 lb German CaraMunich II

7.0 lb Liquid Light Extract

.5 oz First Gold (7.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60.0 min

.5 oz First Gold (7.5%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min

2.0 lbs Farmers market pumpkin puree - added during boil, boiled at 15 min

1.0 ea White Labs WLP005 British Ale

Second fermantation

1 ounce Allspice 1 ounce Nutmeg 1 ounce of freshly grated ginger 1 ounce freshly grated cinnamon 2 scraped fresh vanilla beans

Soak all the spices in 3 ounces of rum for 24 hours before re-racking

4 lbs of cubed pumpkin/puree depending on availability (plus or minus a pound depending on taste test before re-racking)

  • Your spices seem overpowering. How long were you planning on aging this sucker? I'd suspect it will be far too spiced to be enjoyed this year, but might be perfect next Halloween.
    – GHP
    Aug 18, 2011 at 19:34
  • @Graham do spices mellow out with age? Any idea why? Aug 22, 2011 at 14:17
  • Spices do indeed mellow out with age, just like any other flavor compound, but it can take a while. I just added some to my own pumpkin lager, and I started with amounts in the 1/2 to 1 tsp range for 1-2 spices. You can always add more, but only time takes them away if you add too much. With 4 ounces of spices and 2 vanilla beans, you will never taste anything else in this beer. I'd urge you to use about a 6th of what you are planning, and then increase the spice from there.
    – GHP
    Aug 22, 2011 at 17:45
  • Really crazy intense beers often times sounds great, and are great when you are just sipping a few ounces of one, but try drinking 50 bottles of over-spiced Christmas ale that drags on into the next summer and you'll never want to eat cinnamon or ginger again.
    – GHP
    Aug 22, 2011 at 17:46

6 Answers 6


My tip is to not use any pumpkin. Simply focus on upping the midrange crystal malt (like 60L) to give it more sweetness. Then spice the beer with pumpkin pie spices like your recipe already has.

People think of pumpkin as being sweet (which it isn't, so adding pumpkin doesn't help) and they want spice. So the added crystal give sweetness, and ups the residual body a little too. That really.

I know of a couple commercial examples of "pumpkin" ale that doesn't use any pumpkin at all, its all spicing like a pumpkin pie would be.

Besides you don't really want to add pumpkin puree to an extract beer. Its most starch and that will create haze and its unfermentable by most brewing yeasts.

I'd also suggest a fruitier yeast that WLP005, try WLP002.

  • 1
    I completely agree, the best pumpkin beer I have ever had only contained pumpkin spice. They also added in the spice like hops to the boil. A little at 60 minutes, a little at twenty and the rest at 5. I'm planning on brewing a similar batch next weekend and that's what I'm going to do.
    – dzachareas
    Aug 11, 2010 at 22:01
  • PHILISTINES! You should ALWAYS add at least a few pieces of pumpkin. That way, you can get really snotty when comparing your beer to the commercial ones. "Well that beer is OK, but MINE is made with REAL PUMPKIN. You can taste the difference!" Cue the crowd ohhing and ahhing.
    – GHP
    Aug 18, 2011 at 19:32

I used irish moss in a pumkin ale that I just brewed with pumkin in it. It doesnt seem to be overly cloudy. Not sure if the irish moss helped or if I just got lucky. But maybe this will help.


I haven't brewed one of these yet, but all the research I've done seems to indicate that the pumpkin is not necessary (I plan to do a side-by-side brew of the same recipe with and without actual pumpkin to see for sure). Heck, the canned pumpkin you buy in the stores often isn't even pumpkin, but squash! One point of advice is that canned pumpkin can lead to a crazy stuck mash - doesn't apply as much to your situation, but useful to note.

Anyway, let us know how it turns out. I would use a modest amount of spices at flameout, and taste the beer prior to kegging. Often, spice flavors can get "scrubbed" out during an active fermentation. If you find it needs more of a spice note, add some to the fermented beer prior to bottling or kegging. Also, if the spices seem too harsh (cinnamon can do that to ya), let it cold bulk condition for a while before packaging. The flavors should mellow in time.

One other thing - in your recipe, you are adding spices directly to the secondary. I would make a tincture - meaning, soak the spices in some cheap vodka for a few days, then strain the spices out and add the vodka to the beer. This is a great way to add spices to beer without compromising sanitation and having to settle out a bunch of crap in your beer before bottling.


I personally like adding canned organic pumpkin, it does make the final product kind of hazy, but it also gives it a nice orange color, and I can definitely taste it in the final product. I might to a little darker on your crystal malts, maybe 60, but your spices look pretty spot on (for my tastes at least, except maybe less nutmeg).

Also, I disagree with the "don't bother adding pumpkin" notion. Some brewers skip the pumpkin, but they're also the same guys that are looking at profit margins before quality. All of the great craft brewers I've talked to add pumpkin. In fact, they like to talk about how "real" their pumpkin is (ie. not pumpkin flavoring or heavily processed/spiced pumpkin).

  • I agree. If you add the spices, but skip the pumpkin, all you're getting is what tastes like cheap pumpkin pie and it won't age as well. You need to add quite a bit of pumpkin to the mash, but it's worth it. My 2010 pumpkin ale had 50% more pumpkin, and a slight decrease in spices when compared to 2009. It didn't taste as "pumpkiny" at first, but it aged much better. Aug 18, 2011 at 14:01

Do yourself a favor and try Southern Tier Brewing Co.s' Pumpking. I have typically not really dug pumpkin beers (witness Dogfish Heads garbage), but this one is really great. Not overly spiced, but the Pumpkin comes through great. The challenge is I think they use a partial lactic fermentation, which you can probably find some more info on via Google.

  • Interesting, but not a answer to the question.
    – Flyhard
    Jan 22, 2013 at 8:42

Im kind of new to home brewing and I really want to brew this pumpkin beer. Can you give me the exact directions on the boils and when to add the ingredients and what temp should I try to ferment this beer at? Should I do a secondary fermentation?

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