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Pumpkin Ale 4

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Pumpkin Ale 4

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Beer Style: Fruit Beer (20A)
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5 US gallons

Fruit Beer


Yesterday, I brewed my first all-grain batch and I thought I'd post my impressions in case anyone is thinking about trying it. I'm brewing a Pumpkin Ale for a Halloween Party, so I wanted to brew something palatable for the budmilloors drinkers, although my tastes tend toward darker, richer beers.

My comments: Took a lot of effort to keep all that water heating (I used the amounts suggested in TNCJHB) for the six hours or so the whole process took. Next time, I'm going to keep another cooler handy with boiled water and may raise my water heater temperature so that it takes less time to boil. I'm also amazed at all the crud/trub whatever.

I wound up with five and a half gallons in primary, but I must have two and a half gallons of sediment and it hasn't even started fermenting yet! I'm hoping the trub compacts a little bit more before I rack to secondary. I never had this much trub before, even on partial mash batches. I'm planning on adding Pumpkin Pie Spice (don't know how much yet) and hops when I rack to secondary on Friday night. I'll leave it all in secondary another 10 days or so and bottle. This was certainly a fun experience, but very time consuming. Anybody have any comments? Anyone have any idea if I'll get anything approaching five gallons when I'm done? Does this seem pretty par for the course for the first time? Any comments on the recipe? I'm thinking 60L crystal was too dark...maybe 40L would have been better?


  • 8# 2-row English Pale Ale Malt
  • 1# 60L Crystal Malt
  • 2 cans (20 oz?) of Libbys Pumpkin (no preservatives, just Pumpkin)
  • 2 oz Cascade hops (60 minute boil)
  • 1 oz Hallertauer hops (dry hop in secondary)
  • Wyeast Liquid American Ale yeast

Click to Print Recipe


Through some lengthy discussions with the proprietor my my brew shop, I decided that I would use an infusion mash (a - because it was my first all-grain batch and b - he said the malt was highly modified and didn't need a step mash). I decided to reach a mash temperature of 155. Papazian said 16-18 degree temperature loss, so I got my water to 173 degrees and mixed it in a picnic cooler only to find that the temp came in at 145F! I spent the next 15 minutes or so, boiling more water and heating small amounts of the mash on the stove, so I could get starch conversion. After another 45 minutes I had full conversion, as per the iodine test and started sparging in a double bucket lauter tun system. I mixed the pumpkin in at this point, hoping the grain bed would filter out any pumpkin gook so I wouldnt wind up with a lot of pumpkin gook in the bottom of my fermenter. I sparged real slow, took me about 75 minutes. I went from there to boil, and I added all two ounces of cascade hops in the boil (advice from my brew shop owner). I kept the wort at a rapid boil for 60 minutes. I cooled using tubing submerged in iced water and siphoned into my fermenter. When the temp dropped to 80F, I pitched the yeast, hooked in my blow off tube and had a bottle of homebrew. My SG was 1.048 right about where I wanted it.




review rating
 Reviewed by Frank on Mon Oct 19 2015

I'm not trying to insult your intelligence, but when you mashed did you use a strainer bag to put your grains and fruit in?

review rating
 Reviewed by Scott on Mon Oct 19 2015

As for this being your first all-grain, I rated you the highest rating. Nice start. I just brewed a butternut, chocolate porter yesterday. I used butternut squash, because it ends up tasting more pumpkiny than pumpkin, and is easier to clean than pumpkin. I've put pumpkin/butternut in the mash and in the boil in the past. For mine, I steamed 5.5 pounds of butternut squash, then mashed it. To this I added 12 ounces of dark molasses, pumpkin pie spices, and 6 ounces of hersheys baking cocoa and three vanilla beans (split). I then simmered it on my stove for about 20 minutes, creating a thick gooey dark and sweet concoction. I put this in my sanitized bucket fermenter to cool, with the airlock attached to keep it sterile.

I then made my wort, with all of the hops being first wort, since flavor and aroma hops would be overpowered by the pumpkin goo anyhow. Once my boil was done, I then racked it onto my pumpkin goo, gave it 25 minutes of oxygen with my aquarium pump set up and then pitched my yeast. It's bubbling away happily right now.

The reason I gave you all of this about my recipe, is to show you that you have many options for how to handle pumpkin and fruit. You can put them in the mash, but I'm not a fan of this, because it gums up the mash (I've had pumpkin cause a stuck mash!). You can put it in the boil. I've stopped doing this too, because I think the flavor comes through better when the pumpkin is not boiled. I bake or steam it first, to get the flavor where I want it, then into the fermenter it goes. With patience, it will all settle out.

Let your primary fermentation go about 80% through towards final gravity and then rack it to secondary to get it off all the gunk. Then let it settle until it has cleared nicely. You'll still have lots of gunk in the bottom though. This is one of the rare times that I rack from a secondary to a third (tertiary) to get even more of the gunk out, so that it ends up crystal clear.

One other reason for putting pumpkin in the fermenter is that the pumpkin stays in contact with the beer longer, leaching out a lot of flavor. With it in the mash, I don't usually notice a lot of flavor. I've made pumpkin beers without pumpkin, using only pumpkin pie spices, that tasted more like pumpkin than pumpkin beers where I put the pumpkin in the mash.

I have my own brewing blog. I have an article there about managing the mash (including managing mash temperatures). It's my system, but you might find it helpful.

Once you get the hang of all-grain brewing, you'll never go back to extract or partial mash. Good luck in your future adventures.