Perfect Pumpkin Ale Recipe

More than a decade ago, Mark Pasquinelli embarked on a quest to brew the perfect pumpkin ale. Here, he shares his finely honed recipe.

Mark Pasquinelli Sep 3, 2016 - 4 min read

Perfect Pumpkin Ale Recipe Primary Image


Batch Size: 6 gallons (22.7 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 75%
OG: 1.063
FG: 1.018
IBUs: 19
ABV: 5.9%


7 lb (3.18 kg) Maris Otter
3 lb (1.36 kg) Light Munich
2 lb (907 g) Aromatic malt
14 oz (400 g) Caramunich malt


8 oz (230 g) dark brown sugar at 90 minutes
5 lb (2.27 kg) pumpkin or butternut squash (see preparation below) at 90 minutes
0.55 oz (16 g) Northern Brewer hops (pellet) at 60 minutes
5 tsp ground Saigon cinnamon at 5 minutes
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg at 5 minutes
1 tsp fresh ground ginger (or 1 tsp dry) at 5 minutes
3 tsp vanilla extract at secondary



You need to prepare the pumpkin a few days in advance of the brew day. Using a large knife, halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut the halves into pieces about 6 inches (15 cm) long. Cover some cookie sheets with aluminum foil, arrange the pumpkin pieces on the cookie sheets, and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar. Roast in the oven at 375°F (190°C) until soft. This usually takes two to three hours. During roasting, the brown sugar will melt and caramelize onto the pumpkin, providing extra flavor. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let cool. Then peel off the pumpkin skin, dice the flesh into large cubes (being sure to save the juice for its color and flavor), and store in a covered bowl in the fridge. On brew day, let the pumpkin warm to room temperature and put it in the kettle for the duration of the boil. (As an aside, for those who are into sustainable brewing, the boiled pumpkin flesh makes excellent pies.) To avoid a mess in the kettle and clogged valves or siphons, put the pumpkin into either a large fine-mesh bag designed for fruit or a hop spider equipped with a paint-straining bag.


White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast—1.5 liter starter


Mash at 155°F (68°C) for 60 minutes. Boil 90 minutes, following the schedule for adding adjuncts, hops, and spices. (Note that the 8 oz/230 g of brown sugar listed for the boil is in addition to that which was sprinkled on the pumpkin.) If needed, add more spices in the form of a hot “tea” during secondary conditioning.


Substitute 7 lb, 10 oz (3.46 kg) of Maris Otter liquid extract and 2 lb (907 g) of Munich liquid extract for the base grains. Steep the specialty grains for 20 minutes at about 155°F (68°C).

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