Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Ale Recipe

Thanksgiving comes early in Canada (second weekend of October), which means I get a head start on my American friends for this popular beer style. This recipe took me three years to perfect, but I’m finally happy with it. I hope you’ll enjoy it too. I can’t think of a better way to mark the start of Fall than a pint of this tasty beer.

Recipe Profile

  • Method: 1 gallon BIAB (Brew-in-a-bag), single stage
  • Target OG (Original Gravity): 1.060
  • Target FG (Final Gravity): 1.017
  • Bitterness (IBUs): 44
  • Estimated ABV: 5.7%
  • Boil: 60 minutes


  • 2 lbs US Pale Malt (6-row)
  • 8 oz Caramunich Malt
  • 4 oz Special B Malt
  • 1 lb Pumpkin Purée (end of mash)
  • 0.20 oz Simcoe Hops at 60 minutes
  • 0.20 oz Saaz Hops at 15 minutes
  • 0.20 oz Fresh Cut Ginger Root at 12 minutes
  • 1 cinnamon stick at 12 minutes
  • 1 clove at 12 minutes
  • 0.20 oz Saaz Hops at end of boil
  • Safale English Ale Yeast (Fermentis #04)

The Mash

  1. Bring 9 litres of water to a temperature of 160°F. Add your grains and give everything a good stir until the whole thing looks a bit like oatmeal. Shut off the heat, cover with a lid, and let it steep at 154°F for 60 minutes.
  2. Then you need to “mash out.” You put the heat back on, and raise the temperature  to 168°F (75.6°C) and keep stirring for 7 minutes.
  3. Remove the grains and prepare for the boil. If you’re using a bag, just pull it out and let it drip near-dry above the pot. If you’re using a colander, strain to remove the grains, preserving the wort, which you’ll add back to the pot.
  4. Check that your gravity is on track and correct it, if needed. You need 78 gravity points for this recipe, and our target post-boil volume is 1.3 gallons.

The Boil

  1. Start the boil by bringing your wort up to a boil. Once boiling, start your timer. Add your bittering hops, as prescribed above.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your sanitizer solution.
  3. Just before the boil is complete, make an ice batch in your kitchen sink. Load it up with as much ice and cold water as you can. Once the boil is over, transfer your pot to the sink to cool your wort to pitching temperature, as prescribed on the yeast pack. Remember to sanitize your thermometer every time you check the temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, thoroughly clean and sanitize your carboy, screw cap, airlock, funnel, and strainer/colander. You want everything to be ready to go once the wort is at the right temperature.
  5. Once the wort is at pitching temperature, transfer it to the carboy by passing it through a strainer overtop the funnel. Do not fill the carboy higher than the one gallon mark.
  6. Aerate the wort.  Cover the fermenter with a screw cap and gently rock the carboy back and forth for a few minutes to mix in some air.
  7. Pitch the yeast! Use sanitized scissors to cut open the package and pour in only half of the yeast.
  8. Seal the carboy by filling the airlock with sanitizer. Fit it in the screw cap. Move the carboy to a dark spot, free of the home’s daily commotion for at least 14 days (but ideally not more than 21).

Bottling Day

  1. Move the carboy to a the countertop, if it wasn’t already there. If the wort got lots of movement during transfer, let it sit so that any stirred-up yeast has a chance to re-settle.
  2. Sanitize everything that will come in contact with the beer: bottling bucket, auto-siphon, tubing, filler, bottles, and bottle caps.
  3. Dissolve 0.59 oz (17g) corn sugar in enough boiling water to dissolve it. Add the dissolved sugar solution to your sanitized bottling bucket.
  4. Fill your auto-siphon and hose with sanitizer before submerging in the carboy. Transfer the solution to a spare container until the beer has completely replaced all the sanitizer in the tubes. Now you can place the end with the bottle filler in the bottling bucket, which should also be on the floor and gently transfer the beer from the carboy to the bucket.
  5. Transfer all the liquid up and the point where it reaches the sediment. Leave the sediment in the carboy.
  6. Now, move the bottling bucket to the counter and siphon the beer quietly into each bottle. When the liquid gets to the very top of the bottle, remove the bottle filler, which will leave the perfect amount of headspace at the top of the bottle.
  7. Cover each bottle with the sanitized caps and cap them into place, or secure your sanitized swing-top caps if using those.
  8. Store the bottles upright in a quiet, dark corner at 65F (18.5C) or so.
  9. Wait 30 days, if you can. If you’re way too curious (I can’t blame you!) try and hold out for 14 days. If you absolutely can’t wait, you can try after 7 days, but the beer really needs at least 14 days to condition.


19 responses to “Pumpkin Ale”

  1. JP

    This sounds like a great recipe. I’m really glad I found your website because I’ve been extract brewing for a little bit and I was a little scared to move towards all grain (not to mention I don’t have a lot of cash). I would like to mention one thing about this recipe that threw me off a little. Step 1 of the mash says to bring 79 litres of water to temp! I’m pretty sure that’s no longer considered a small batch! LOL! Just giving you a heads up!

    1. That’s one heck of a typo on my part! Fixed!

  2. JS

    i am confused when to add the pumpkin to the mash. all it says is “at the end”. Can you provide better instructions when to add the pumpkin and how long it stays in? Obviously not brewed in the bag so just dump it in? also any instruction on filtering it out.

    1. Hi JS,

      I could have written “at the start of the boil” too. I add the pumpkin after I have removed the grains from the wort, and as my wort is coming to the boil. It stays in for the rest of the time. No need to filter it out or remove it. It adds a nice mouthfeel to the beer. And no need to bake the purée beforehand. It will sanitize during the boil.

      I hope that answers all your questions.

      1. JS

        Thanks for the quick reply. It’s going on now. I did bake the pumpkin for about 25 minutes cause I read it can bring some flavor. Otherwise following your instructions. When I pour into carboy the puree will be interesting to filter.
        Also got your nut brown going. I tweaked it with some oatmeal flakes.
        Should be a tasty October!

        1. Nice! And the additions to the Brown Ale sound perfect. Good luck!

          1. JS

            straining the puree out into the carboy is looking to be impossible. I will have no wort left when this is done. What am I doing wrong? Should the entire wort puree and all go into the carboy? I am afraid that will leave little product after all settled.

          2. Don’t strain the purée. Leave it in. You should end up with about 1.3 gallons of liquid.

          3. JS

            I did end the boil at about 1.3 gallon. i strained the wort back in forth a few times into the 1 gallon carboy. else there was about half 1/4 jug of sediment which seemed like it would end up waisting half the finished beer being left behind when i bottle. It ended up at 1.040 OG way off the recipe. i guess we’ll see what happens. Might touch up the recipe. This one was not like the others.

          4. JS

            Primary FERMENTATION is done. So much sediment even after straining what I could out before pitching. i would guess 1/4 or more of the gallon jug is sediment. is this normal or did my grains do this? Thanks to irish moss the beer itself looking clear.

  3. JS

    Do you leave the pumpkin puree in for the boil? other recipes would lead me to believe this.

  4. JS

    One more question. How about baking the puree before adding?

  5. Boo Happy Halloween

    i saw online baking pumpkin, or puree, toasted and brought out flavors? thats what i am doing now..

  6. Mike

    When you say you’ll need 78 Gravity points for the recipie, how did you calculate that? the OG shows 1.060, and the FG is 1.017.

    If i check the gravity before the boil, woudn’t my gravity be lower as the water hasn’t evaporated?

    1. Hi Mike,

      I got to 78 points because my recipe is designed to yield 1.3 gallons at the end of the boil (60 x 1.3). Hope that clarifies it!

  7. Ian

    I just brewed this recipe last Saturday. This is my first brew ever. The shop close to me didn’t have Simcoe in stock so I replaced the hops with Amarillo. I hope it will still be good! Can’t wait to see (and taste!) the results in 6 weeks!!!

    1. Nice! I hope it went well Ian.

  8. Therese Meisling

    I am brand new to all grain brewing. I think I can manage this recipe and would like to try it. Can you tell me where the best place is to buy the smaller amounts of grain? Is there a good online store that would have everything In the recipe in one place? Thank you.

  9. J orellana

    Staring this recipe now.
    Excited to see how IT GOES. Made some small tweaks based on available grains but they’re mostly on point.

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