Pumpkin Ale

by Nicholas Gagnon

The leaves are starting to change, days are shorter, it is (finally) cooling off, apple picking has begun.....it must be time for Pumpkin Ale!  While quite a few breweries (who will remain nameless) decided to release their beers WAY too early.  We patient brewers have waited for our local sugar pumpkins to ripen to perfection.  Pumpkin ales are a surefire way to use local, seasonal ingredients in a unique and delicious way.

The pumpkins you want to use in your ale are sugar pumpkins.  However other varieties of pumpkins and squash will suffice in a pinch.  The sugar pumpkins will provide a subtle but noticeable pumpkin / squash flavor and slight aroma to the beer.  The spices used (cinnimon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, ect) should be present in the beer but not overwhelming.  I like to use whole spices and crush them just before brewing.  However both pre-ground spices and “Pumpkin Pie Spice” will work fine.

There are many ways to use pumpkin in your beer varying from mashing with it to simply adding it to the fermenter.  This recipe calls for a making a pumpkin concentration from the guts and adding it to the boil as well as adding pumpkin to the mash.


Preparing the Pumpkin:


Day Before Brewday:


-Go get your sugar pumpkins from a local Farm Stand (if you can)

-Gut your sugar pumpkins and separate the seeds.(Save for later)

-Place guts in kettle with enough water to simmer for several hours.

-Start simmering guts.

-Save liquid in fridge for brewday, note the volume!!!


-Cut pumpkins into chunks and shred with a grater.

-Place shredded pumpkin onto a cookie sheet  and cover with tinfoil.

-Bake in oven until cooked, uncover and allow to caramelize, remove from oven when it begins to blacken on edges



You can toast the seeds you saved in the oven and add them to the secondary fermentor if you want a toasted almondy/nutty flavor in your final beer.  Or salt and eat them...YUM!!



Valley Malt Pumpkin Ale


Batch Size:  5 Gallons

Boil Length: 1hr - ?

Target OG:  1.051

Target FG:  1.016

Target Bitterness:  15.7 IBU

Target Color:  11 - 13 SRM

Alcohol:  5 % ABV

Primary Fermentation: 7-12 days  

Bottled Conditioning: 3 weeks



Efficiency calculated at 70%.



5 lbs Valley 2-Row

2 lbs  Valley Malt Red Wheat or Valley Rye

2 lbs Valley Munich (or eq)

3.0 oz Valley Malt Dark Crystal (or eq)


1.0 oz Liberty hops

1 Stick Cinnamon

3-5 Whole Cloves

.5 tsp Nutmeg

3-4 sugar pumpkins


US-05, WLP 001, Wyeast 1056





Type:  Step


Step 1: Protein Rest

Thickness:  1 quarts / lb

Target Temperature:   122*F

Mash Time:  15 min


Add pumpkin to mash.  It is a good idea to add quite a bit of rice hulls and even then watch out for stuck and slow sparges.


Step 2:  Saccrification Rest

Thickness:  1.5 quarts / lb

Target Temperature: 156-157*F

Mash Time:  90 min



-Start ? minute boil.  Boil for enough time so that your 15 min addition of pumpkin extract brings the volume of the kettle back up to just over 5gallons.  For example:   I boil my wort until I have reduced my volume to 5 gallons.  I add my 60 min hop addition and boil for 45 min.  At 45 min my volume is now  4.15 gallons.  I add my pumpkin gut extract (1 gallon) and my volume is now 5.15 gallons.  I Finnish my boil add my spice additions, and my volume is 5.0 gallons.


@ 60min remaining add 1.0 oz Liberty


@15min remaining add pumpkin extract.


@10 min remaining add spices.


Chill wort.


Fermentation:  Ferment with a neutral American ale strain for a clean profile (65-68*F).