It’s everywhere we look this time of year: pumpkin spice. From coffee and desserts to chapsticks and breakfast cereals. As soon as the leaves begin to change colors, retail companies and baking fanatics break out the pumpkin spice. But when you really break it down, what makes a true pumpkin spice flavor? And how would one include it in their favorite brew?
Yes, pumpkin-spiced beer is a thing, and you might be surprised how well festive the flavor pairs with your favorite brews. Let’s dive into using fall favorite flavors in home brewing.
Choosing The Pumpkin
As anyone who bakes will tell you, if you are looking for flavor, you don’t go for the biggest pumpkin in the patch. If you want the authentic flavor of pumpkin in your brew, choose a smaller gourd more suitable for a pie than a jack-o-lantern. If you’re not sure, you can always opt for the canned varieties, however, it’s important to steer clear of preservatives. Some of the preservatives used in canning can cause issues with the fermentation of beer.
Adding Pumpkin to your Beer
As you shop for your pumpkin supplies, you’ll want at least a pound of pumpkin for every five gallons of beer. When it comes to adding flavor to the beer, there are several options. Some add the puree with the mash, while others wait until fermentation is complete. A popular process is to cook the pumpkin before adding it to beer to give it time to caramelize.
Other beer brewers don’t use pumpkin at all, but rather a selection of spices. Some brands sell an all-in-one pumpkin spice, while others use tier own blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. A teaspoon per five-gallon batch of brew brings a flavorful but not overpowering addition.
Additional Fall Flavors
Of course, dark brews reign supreme in the fall and winter. Gone are the sunny days of light lagers and in come the stouts and porters. With these dark brews, all sorts of sweet flavors pair well, such as chocolate, maple, and vanilla. Even IPA’s get into the season with fall-centric fruits and flowery flavors.