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Will-o'-Wisp Pumpkin Ale

Brewed: 09/20/2020   Kegged: 09/27/2020

The SheppyBrew Beer Model (aka my wife), is really a fan of pumpkin ales. In fact, the past couple of years, her whole GABF strategy was to visit breweries with pumpkin beers to try. Every year the SheppyBrew Brew Master tells himself that he should brew a pumpkin beer, but every year just runs out of Autumn time brewing other things. Finally, in 2014, he decided to finally give it a try.

It took him a fair amount of time to figure out what he wanted the base beer to be. Eventually, he decided a basic Brown Ale would be the best. The recipe uses mostly rich English malts and a  higher than usual mash temperature to add a bit of perceived sweetness, balanced up just a bit with bitterness.

Canned pumpkin is grilled and then added to the mash. This should provide some fermentable sugars, but the Brew Master was unable to determine how much and so left that off the recipe. The grains themselves should bring this to a 5% AVB beer. We will have to see how much more the pumpkin adds.

If everything goes as planned, this beer should be ready to drink sometime around mid-October.


For more information about this beer on the blog, see Sheppy's Blog: Will-o-Wisp.

Will-o'-the-Wisp Ale --- Batch 6

Style Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer Batch Size 6.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   8.23 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   70.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.053 SG Estimated FG 1.016 SG
Recipe Bitterness 27.0 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 4.9 %
BU : GU   0.508        
Recipe Color 18.2 SRM
Measured OG:   1.053    Measured FG:    1.016
ADF:   70    Measured ABV:    4.9


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
3 lbs 10.0 oz Pumpkin (8.0 SRM) Adjunct 1 22.1 % 0.41 gal
10 lbs Golden Promise (Simpsons) (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 61.1 % 0.78 gal
2 lbs 8.0 oz Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) (55.0 SRM) Grain 3 15.3 % 0.20 gal
2.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 4 0.8 % 0.01 gal
2.0 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.8 % 0.01 gal
0.250 oz Magnum [14.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 12.2 IBUs -
0.750 oz Magnum [14.50 %] - Boil 25.0 min Hop 7 14.8 IBUs -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 8 - -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 9 - -
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 10 - -
0.50 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (Primary 2.0 weeks) Spice 11 - -
0.50 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (Secondary 5.0 days) Spice 12 - -
0.13 oz Cinnamon Stick (Secondary 5.0 days) Spice 13 - -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 20.47 qt of water at 168.2 F 156.0 F 45 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.96gal, 4.12gal) of 168.0 F water

Recipe Notes
Mash grains as directed for about 30 minutes. During this time, cook the pumpkin on a cookie sheet on the grill low heat. After 30 minutes, add the cooked pumkin to the mash. If this lowers temperature, add enough boiling water to get mash up to 155.
Note: recipe does not take into account fermentable sugars from the pumkin. There will be some, but I don't know how much.
Boil as directed. Cool to as close to 60 degrees as possble. Add first 1/2 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice to fermentor with wort.
Hold low temperature for first 24 - 48 hours of fermentation, allowing to raise where it wants after that.
After about a week of fermentation, add more pumpkin pie spice. Add spice and Cinnamon Stick to secondary fermentor and rack beer on top of this.
Make a tincture with more pumkin pie spice so that you can evaluate spicing of beer at time of bottling and add tincture to taste.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:   Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  
Pre-boil OG   (1.047 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (8.23 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
09/15/2020 esheppy
Time to start thinking about brewing this again.
09/16/2020 esheppy
Mixed a tincture.. 4 tbsp pumpkin pie spice in a cup of vodka.
09/18/2020 esheppy
The beer model picked up ingredients. Brew day Sunday.
09/21/2020 esheppy
Brew day went well yesterday. I did have to run off to get propane, but the Beer Model was able to manage the process without me. The OG was pretty much right on plan.
09/23/2020 esheppy
Fermentation seems about done already. Seems fairly clear.
09/27/2020 esheppy
Kegged. Calling the FG 1.016 ... right on plan. The base beer is delicious, but not much pumpkin spice. Added about a tablespoon of tincture to the keg, but not sure that will be enough. I'll chill and ask the Beer Model if she wants more.
09/29/2020 esheppy
Carbonation looks good. Turned off the gas. I like the level of pumpkin pie spice which probably means it isnt enough for the Beer Model. We'll see what she says.
09/30/2020 esheppy
The Beer Model says she doesn't want more spice in the beer. I'm surprised, but am glad.
12/04/2020 esheppy
Color and clarity perfect right now. Even the flavor is pretty good for a pumpkin spice beer. 🎃
12/07/2020 esheppy
Killed the keg over the weekend. I think this is the fastest we've gone through the pumpkin spice beer.
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