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Popular Pumpkin Beer Spices

Here are 6 of the more popular spices used in pumpkin beers, along with the common flavors they impart.

Trish Faubion Aug 29, 2017 - 4 min read

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Brewers use any number of spices to evoke warm feelings of fall in their pumpkin beers. Here are a few of the more popular spices used, along with the common flavors they impart.


Cinnamon is the dried bark of various trees in the genus Cinnamomum. It has a sweet, spicy, woody fragrance. In commercial pumpkin-pie spice blends, cinnamon comprises almost half of the blend, so cinnamon is essential if you want that pumpkin-pie taste in your pumpkin beer. Cassia cinnamon is the “grocery-store” variety and tastes stronger and hotter than Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), which is sold in gourmet stores. Ceylon cinnamon is lighter in color and has a lighter, brighter fragrance. Brewers seem to be divided on whether cassia or Ceylon cinnamon is better in pumpkin beers.


Ginger is the rhizome of a perennial in the Zingiberaceae family. In _Savoring Spices and Herbs, _Chef Julie Sahni describes ginger’s flavor as spicy camphoric and its aroma as peppery, reminiscent of cloves and lemon, cedar and mint. Fresh ginger has a stronger flavor than ground ginger. Like cinnamon, ginger can enhance both savory and sweet dishes. In commercial pumpkin-pie spice blends, ginger comprises 25–30 percent of the blend.


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