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Will-o'-Wisp Pumpkin Ale

Brewed: 09/11/2016   Bottled: 10/01/2016

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 3

Style Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   7.77 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   75.00   Boil Time   90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.055 SG Estimated FG 1.016 SG
Recipe Bitterness 27.3 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 5.0 %
BU : GU   0.499        
Recipe Color 18.6 SRM
Measured OG:   1.053    Measured FG:   1.016 
ADF:   70    Measured ABV:   4.9 


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
3 lbs 10.0 oz Pumpkin (8.0 SRM) Adjunct 1 26.1 %
8 lbs Golden Promise (Simpsons) (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 57.7 %
2 lbs Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) (55.0 SRM) Grain 3 14.4 %
2.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 4 0.9 %
2.0 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.9 %
0.500 oz Magnum [12.70 %] - First Wort 90.0 min Hop 6 27.3 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 7 -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 8 -
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 9 -
0.50 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (Primary 2.0 weeks) Spice 10 -
0.50 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (Secondary 5.0 days) Spice 11 -
0.11 oz Cinnamon Stick (Secondary 5.0 days) Spice 12 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 17.34 qt of water at 168.2 F 156.0 F 45 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.21gal, 3.88gal) 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 this 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:  9/11 Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  154 ish throughout
Pre-boil OG   1.043 (1.044 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (7.77 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    62
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
09/09/2016 esheppy
Bought beer ingredients today. Still need to pick up pumpkin.
09/11/2016 esheppy
Brew day today went pretty well. Started mash without pumpkin and had to run to the grocery store get it. Chilled to about 80 and then had to get to church. Racked into carboy in ice bath. 1tbsp pumpkin pie spice into fermentor. 1.053
09/12/2016 esheppy
Fermentation going well this morning. 64 degrees.
09/14/2016 esheppy
After a really big kraussen Monday into Tuesday, I put in blow-off tube. Today things are falling so I put back in the airlock. 68
09/26/2016 esheppy
Put in secondary yesterday with 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice and some brown sugar. Forgot to take an FG reading. Oh well.
10/01/2016 esheppy
Kegged today. 1.016 FG puts it at 4.9% ABV, which is right where I want it. Pie spice flavor is more subtle than I remember last year being, which is also good. We'll have to see what the Beer Model thinks in a couple of weeks, but I think this is as perfect as a pumpkin pie spice beer can be.
10/17/2016 esheppy
A spot opened in the keggerator and this beer slipped right in. Carbing now
10/21/2016 esheppy
First pour. Thick creamy head. Nice base. Not too spicy. Not bad.
11/19/2016 esheppy
I had one last night. Think this beer is entering its prime.
12/05/2016 esheppy
The beer is blended about perfect with the pumpkin pie spice now. Even I am enjoying this beer.
12/11/2016 esheppy
Yes. Sometimes I drink this while watching hockey. Don't judge me.
12/23/2016 esheppy
Still have some left. Wish my wife would finish this off. It still tastes like it should. I just need the keg for other beers.
01/06/2017 esheppy
Not too bad right now.
01/08/2017 esheppy
Had a few on my new day. I actually enjoyed it today.
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