Adding Pumpkin to Beer

Adding Pumpkin to your BeerStep 1: Choose a base beer
Most styles work great to make a pumpkin beer but hop-forward beers tend to clash with the pie spice character. Wheat beers are common.

Step 2: Get your pumpkin ready
Avoid the large carving varieties of pumpkin as there is little meat and flavor in these kinds. Instead, look for the smaller pie and baking pumpkins, these are full of flavor and have more pumpkin goodness. Quarter and clean the pumpkin and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until soft. Roasting the pumpkin will caramelize the sugars and break down the meat to bring more flavors out and make it easier to peel the skin off. Of course, you can use canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling; it also helps to bake it for a little while to caramelize the sugars. 3-8 pounds of pumpkin per 5-gallon batch is typical depending on how much pumpkin flavor you want.

Step 3: Brew it!

If you ask three brewers how to make pumpkin beer you’ll get five answers. That’s because you can make it in so many different ways, these are just a few techniques to get you started.

If you are an Extract brewer you can add your roasted or canned pumpkin to the boil, anywhere in the last 20 minutes is fine. Some people even add it to their primary or secondary fermenters, for a brighter pumpkin character.

If you are an All-Grain brewer you can add pumpkin directly to the mash as well as the above options. If you add more than 10% of your grain bill we recommend adding rice hulls to avoid a stuck mash.

Spices - You can use a premixed pie spice blend or make your own. The common pumpkin pie spices are; Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, and Ginger. Add just one teaspoon of the spice blend to the boil in the last ten minutes. It is very easy to overpower a beer with these spices, and it is easier to add more than take some out. Fine-tune the spice level at bottling and enjoy!