It’s been a few years since I published my original extract-based pumpkin ale recipe, and since I’ve recently started all-grain brewing, I decided to develop and publish an all-grain version of that recipe. (And as a proper test of it, I brewed this beer the weekend before last and it’s sitting in the secondary as I write this.)
This recipe is formulated for a five-gallon batch of homebrew, assuming a standard 75% extract efficiency for a typical single-infusion mash and sparge. (Since I’m doing batch sparging, I have some notes on differences below.) The target original gravity (OG) is 1.055, and the Beer Recipator informs me that this recipe will have 21 IBUs. Final gravity (FG) will depend on the yeast, but I’ve had good results with the Wyeast 1272 I list in the recipe.
- 9 pounds American 2-row malt (90% of the grains)
- 0.5 pounds 40°L Crystal malt (5%)
- 0.5 pounds wheat malt (5%)
- 6-10 pounds roasted pumpkin
- 6 ounces molasses (about ½ cup) (optional)
Hops and Spices
- 1 ounce Mt. Hood (4.6% alpha acid) for 60 minutes (bittering)
- 0.5 ounces Mt. Hood for 15 minutes (aroma)
- 1 teaspoon Irish Moss for 15 minutes
- Pumpkin pie spices for 5 minutes/steeping
- Wyeast 1272 American Ale II
- Single infusion mash with a target of 152°F for 1 hour or until conversion
- Mashing grains and pumpkin together
- Sparge and boil for 60 minutes, with 1 ounce of Mt. Hood hops the full duration for bittering
- After 45 minutes, add the remaining 0.5 ounces of hops for aroma, and the Irish Moss
- Add the spices when there are 5 minutes (or less) left
- Chill, transfer to your primary fermenter, aerate thoroughly and pitch yeast
Roasting the pumpkin. I used a baking pumpkin and a pie pumpkin that yielded about seven total pounds of pumpkin meat for the mash. To roast, I split the pumpkins in half, discarding the stems, and removed the seeds and strings (I kept the seeds and roasted them separately to snack on). Placing them face down on foil-lined baking sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray for good measure), they were roasted in a 325°F oven for about an hour and a half, or until nice and soft; they came out with nice caramelization on the edges as well. You can easily scoop the meat out of the shell and mash it up.
In my extract recipe, I spoke against using canned pumpkin for the mess you’d end up with; however, the treatment above leaves the pumpkin in a similar state and when doing a proper all-grain mash, you’ll have less messy results than you would for an extract-based recipe. This is because the alternative techniques you may employ to get the pumpkin in the beer for an extract recipe, I believe (and experienced), don’t leave you many options for filtering. In other words, for an all-grain approach, you could get away with canned pumpkin just fine.
Mashing. I’m using the batch sparge technique outlined in How to Brew, so my grain amounts are more that what I listed above due to the lower extract potential batch sparging yields: the adjusted numbers call for a total of 15 pounds of grain rather than the base recipe’s ten. This means I used 13.5 pounds of 2-row, 0.75 pounds of Crystal malt, and 0.75 pounds of wheat.
I heated the pumpkin up with the strike water so it wouldn’t affect the mash temperature (since you already need to account for the temperature of the grain when you mash in)—I found this to work really well and though my target mash temperature was 152°, I hit just above at 153°. This didn’t seem to effect the overall efficiency too much though—when I racked it to the secondary this weekend the gravity was 1.008.
With both the pumpkin and the half pound of malted wheat in the mash, I did encounter a bit of a stuck sparge—not enough to set me back significantly, but enough so that I think I would use a pound of rice hulls in the mash next time to help the filtering.
Miscellaneous notes. I only had three ounces of molasses instead of six on my brew day, so that’s what I went with. Molasses is of course completely optional; I rather like the subtle character it lends to the beer but you could omit it entirely or substitute with a variety of other sugars—some of the natural brown sugars like Demerara or Turbinado would work very well.
For my spice mixture I used 1½ teaspoons of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/8 each teaspoons of nutmeg, cloves, and mace. (Allspice would work as well, as an addition or possibly substitute for the mace.) You could add vanilla also—my extract recipe calls for an optional half teaspoon but I didn’t use it this time.
If the spices are too subdued to your liking—especially after a vigorous primary fermentation that can effectively “scrub” them away—you might consider adding them to the secondary (and I do recommend a secondary fermentation/rest). You could use the (powdered) mix similar to what I listed above, or you might even considering using some whole spices—cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, that sort of thing. Simply add these directly to the secondary.
Bottle with ¾ of a cup of corn sugar when ready. And enjoy!