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Pumpkin Head Dark Ale

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Pumpkin Head Dark Ale

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Beer Style: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer  (21A)
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 10 US gallons

Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer


In true Halloween fashion, the Brew Tang Clan took one of Charlie Papazian’s pumpkin beer recipes and twisted it into their own Frankenstien-esque creation. The end result, dubbed “Punkin Head,” is a dark ale with a sweet malt backbone complemented by the pumpkin and spices.


  • 16 lb (7.26 kg) | Vienna Malt, U.S. (4 °L)
  • 4 lb ( 1.81 kg) | Rye Malt, U.S. (4 °L)
  • 1 lb (0.45 kg) | Dark Crystal (155-165 °L)
  • 1 lb (0.45 kg) | Crystal 75L, UK (75 °L)
  • 2 lb (0.91 kg) | Rice Hulls
  • 9 lb (4.1 kg) | pie pumpkin, (see "Directions" for preperation instructions)
  • 0.305 oz (8.6 g) | Horizon pellets, 13.1% AA (90 minutes)
  • 0.505 oz (8.6 g) | New Zealand Motueka pellets, 6.6% AA (75 minutes)
  • 0.13 oz (3.7 g) | Irish Moss (15 minutes)
  • 2 tsp | Cinnamon (10 minutes)
  • 2 | vanilla beans, chopped or serrated (10 minutes)
  • 1 tsp | nutmeg, freshly ground (10 minutes
  • 1 oz (28.3 g) | fresh sliced ginger root
  • 1.505 oz (42.7 g) | Liberty pellet, 4.5% AA (0 minutes)
  • White Labs WLP002 English Ale

Additional Instructions

Boil: 90 Minutes

Beer Profile

Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.010
Alcohol by Vol: 6%
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 10.00 US Gallons

Click to Print Recipe


The pumpkin needs to be specially prepared for the mash. Four pie pumpkins with a total of about 9 lbs (4.1 kg) were halved and cleaned of seeds (roast your seeds for a bonus brewday snack!).

The now exposed meat of the pumpkin was rubbed with brown sugar and placed meat-side down on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 300°F (148.9°C) for a little over an hour or until the pumpkins have visibly finished “falling.”

Scoop out the pulp and mash up if necessary, then add to the second step of the mash as noted below.

Mash in grains for a protein rest at 122°F (50°C).

After 30 minutes, raise temperature to 155°F (68.3°C), add the prepared pumpkin and hold for 60 minutes.

Mash out at 165°F (73.9°C) for 10 minutes.

After completeing the mash, proceed to boil following the schedule as noted under the ingredients.

Ferment at 68°F (20°C) and carbonate after approximately four weeks.