Carving out some fun: pumpkin ale

by Mars
pumpkin ale

I always thought I’d enjoy home-brewing beer and I’m enjoying the process more and more after every batch. It’s the Czech-style we produced in June that has really triggered a bit of an experimental brewing bug in me. Now that I have a solid beer making ‘base’ down, it’s a bit like learning how to make a good tomato sauce, which you can then evolve with different tastes such like adding chilli, oregano and olives to make an Italian dish or adding Indian spices to make a curry. So what do you do when life give you pumpkins? Soup, curries, ravioli and… beer. That’s right, today I made pumpkin ale, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

organic pumpkin

To get things going, I made my usual beer base, but went experimental to make an autumnal pumpkin ale. My batch size is 5-litres, and I went with the usual 1kg of malt (in six litres of water) but added 1kg of pumpkin (that I picked from our veg garden โ€“ see above) which I caramelised in the oven for around two hours at 110C (fan) with a bit of brown sugar sprinkled on top of it. By the time it was finished, I had gloriously sweet, well cooked pieces of pumpkin.

The pumpkin went into the mash after I stirred in my malt, and everything mashed at 65C for an hour and then mashed out at 75C for 20 minutes. Amazingly, when I emptied out the malt and pumpkin from the mashing bag, the pumpkin had largely disintegrated.

I followed the same process for boiling our wort for 60 minutes with the hops, with the slight difference that in the 15 minute end-boil I grated in half a nutmeg along with the bittering hops. In my head, nutmeg works, bit we’ll find out if works from a taste perspective in a beer.


The other difference to my lager recipe is that instead of using lager yeast, I opted for an ale yeast, because I thought this beer would benefit from a slightly ‘heavier’ yeast. I added 5g to the demijohn once I’d cooled our wort down to 19C.

I also tasted the wort before pouring it into the demijohn, and it was hopsy. I could not taste the pumpkin or the nutmeg, but one thing I’ve learned in my very brief brewing time is that you need give these brews time to settle. The other thing I noticed was the colour โ€“ this has a lovely, rich dark brown colour which I assume has come from the caramilised pumpkin.

I’ll now let this brew do this its thing in the demijohn for a fortnight (or until we see that CO2 activity in the airlock has subsided). It’ll then be bottled and left for at least another 3-4 weeks. It’s a long process, but it’s hugely rewarding (as with most things) when you get around to tasting your creation.

Watch it bubble:


Luffy 31 August 2021 - 11:39

I can see a micro brewery on the cards here… ๐Ÿ˜Š

Mars 31 August 2021 - 14:17

I wanted to have a microbrewery years ago as a business idea, until I saw how much the equipment cost. Small home batches with minimal equipment is far easier on the pocket.

Luffy 31 August 2021 - 15:08

Funny that you should say that. Hugh was just looking at the same thing and came to the same conclusion… ๐Ÿ˜Š

Mars 31 August 2021 - 15:38

Yeah, the capital investment is insane. Iโ€™m much more content with the ยฃ20 Iโ€™ve spent on demijohns and not having to figure out how many millions of pints weโ€™ll have to sell to get our money back. ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿ˜€

Luffy 31 August 2021 - 17:31

Sounds sensible to me! Do you make cider too? ๐Ÿ˜Š

Mars 31 August 2021 - 22:04

Nope, no cider. Not a huge fan if Iโ€™m being honest, but I may do a batch next year as our apple trees mature.

Mars 3 September 2021 - 21:04

Had a thought today. Even though I’m not a fan of apple cider, I’ll still make some batches next year and let it become apple cider vinegar. Now that, we can definitely utilise.

Luffy 3 September 2021 - 21:28


Garreth Orlando Guy Bridgman 1 December 2021 - 18:09

How did the pumpkin beer turn out?

Mars 2 December 2021 - 08:33

It turned out to great ale, but you couldnโ€™t taste the pumpkin. Next time round, Iโ€™ll double the amount of pumpkin and see if that helps. But as an ale, it was terrific.


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