Rookie to pumpkin beer, help me decide on recipe

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May 29, 2012
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I REALLY like the Dogfish Head Punkin beer but am generally not a huge pumpkin beer fan.

I've found three recipes that seem to be very popular but cannot decide/determine the difference(s) and which I should brew. I'm guessing the yeast will have the largest impact on final flavor? I will scale all them back to 5g batches. Any experts tell the difference between these?

Ingredients and links below!

1st Recipe
21.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row)
5.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L
2.50 lb Biscuit Malt
1.00 lb Wheat, Flaked
180.00 oz Pumpkin, Canned (a dozen 15oz cans - baked on a sheet as described in the extract recipe, cooled, and added to the mash)

2.25 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min)

3 Tablets Whirlfloc (Boil 10.0 min)

Yeast - English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) or Fermentis S-04

Single infusion mash at 158° F for 45-60 mins
Mash out at 168°F
Sparge with 178°F water to collect 17.5g of wort
Boil 60 mins

Est OG: 1.057
Est FG: 1.018
Est ABV: 4.99 %
Bitterness: 13.0 IBU
Est Color: 14.2 SRM

During clearing stage, add a spice tea of 1/2 tbsp "Pumpkin Pie Spice" or Pampered Chef "Cinnamon Plus." Steep spices in 1 cup hot water for 10-15 minutes, cool then add. Consider adding the spice tea a little at a time to achieve the desired flavor profile.

2nd recipe:
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: London ESB and London Ale
Yeast Starter: Yes
Batch Size (Gallons): 10
Original Gravity: 1.089
Final Gravity: 1.021
IBU: 39.2
Boiling Time (Minutes): 75
Color: 9.5
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 @ 70
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 7 @ 70
Tasting Notes: Pumpkin Pie, simple as that. Also, the ABV is hidden quite well.

34.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 89.5 %
4.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 10.5 %
2.00 oz Magnum [13.10%] (60 min) Hops 36.2 IBU
1.00 oz Sterling [6.00%] (10 min) Hops 3.0 IBU
4.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs London Ale (Wyeast Labs #1028) Yeast-Ale

Spice Additions - 1.0 heaping tsp of the following added @ 5 minutes -
nutmeg, cloves, alspice, ginger, cinnamon

At bottling - 1.25 tsp of Pumpkin Pie spice was added per 5 gallons as well as
~4 oz of real vanilla extract

3rd recipe:
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: US-05
Yeast Starter: no
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter: no
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.065
Final Gravity: 1.017
IBU: 19.3
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 12
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 21
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 3
Tasting Notes: Just the right amount of residual sweetness to compliment the pumpkin pie spice

This beer turned out great.

We've done pumpkin ales in the past but never this good. With a F.G. of 1.017 it has the perfect amount of sweetness to compliment the slight biscuit from the victory malt and the pie spices. Much to our delight (and surprise) it tastes awfully similar to Dogfish Head's Punkin' Ale. As expected with pumpkin ales, this was one hazy mother-effer! Gelatin was used in the very short secondary to clear it up before going in the keg. I'll post a pic as soon as I feel like dealing with my horrible camera... which should be enough time for the slight chill haze to settle!

Punkin' Ale
O.G. 1.065
F.G. 1.017
Efficiency: 70%
Color: 12 SRM
Bitter: 19.3 IBU

Grain bill
10.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 83.33 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 8.33 %
1.00 lb Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 8.33 %
2 Large cans (29oz) Libby's pumpkin (no spices added) --- Bake at 350*F for 45-60 minutes (longer if you're at high elevation) let cool before adding to mash

Mash (batch sparge)
Single infusion, Medium body, No mash-out
24QT of 163*F water (step temp of 156)

Boil (60 minutes)
1.00 lb Brown Sugar (60 min)
1oz Hallertaur (4.8%) (60 min)
1.5 Tbs McCormicks Pumpkin Pie Spice (10 min)
1oz Hallertaur (4.8%) (5 min)


Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2011
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Frederick, MD
I'm doing the Punkin Ale recipe for the first time, this weekend. I too haven' made a pumpkin yet, but let's see how this goes.


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Jan 16, 2011
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Of those three, I think the third is the best put together recipe.


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Jun 10, 2012
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I've made both the Punkin Ale and Thunderstruck recipe's. For me, the Thunderstruck one turned out way better, but I'm certain that's because my punkin clone finished way too low (1.010), which made it too dry, too much alcohol presence, and not sweet enough. I've had a few friends/acquaintances try my Thunderstruck, whom are either bud light drinkers or non beer drinkers and they all love it. Amazing. I'm actually drinking a Thunderstruck right now, and it's really good! Will definitely brew it again next year, if I can wait that long...


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Nov 2, 2007
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I've tried several pumpkin beers in the last month or two, a Dogfish Head was easily the lightest on spices. My recent pumpkin beer used 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice plus 1 tsp fresh grated ginger at flameout (5 gal). The DFH is much less spiced than mine - and I went easy on the spices!! I'm not certain about the particular spices they use, but it seemed a bit different from my mix... Maybe less proportion of ginger? Or cinnamon?

Hope that helps.


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Jul 9, 2012
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I just brewed an extract DFH "inspired" pumpkin ale. I used the spices I had on hand. It turned out a little too spicy for me, and a shade too dark for what I wanted. I used 2 tsp of McCormick's pumpkin spice and 1 tsp of McCormick's cinnamon spice. I will probably use 1tsp of pumpkin and 1 tsp of cinnamon spice next time, but I'd recommend using 1.5tsp pumpkin spice and .5tsp of nutmeg spice since DFH's punkin' ale seems nutmeg heavy. Maybe even throw in another half ounce of nutmeg before bottling.

As far as pumpkin flavor. Mine was on the same level as DFH's punkin'. I think DFH's has a very subtle pumpkin flavor that is really overtaken by spice, most notably the nutmeg. I drank my pumpkin ale along side the dfh and the dfh had a bite/bitterness to it from the nutmeg along with an alcohol flavor from it being 7%. I used 3 15oz cans of libby's pumpkin for a total of 45oz. If you traditionally don't like pumpkin ales, consider cutting back to 45oz although I'm not sure this would work well since your pumpkin will be at a higher gravity. I feel like a lot of pumpkin ales, especially the higher gravity ones are very sweet with pumpkin flavor whereas dfh has a bite from nutmeg along with the alcohol taste probably from all the brown sugar.

This is what I will be brewing on my next try. If I subbed nutmeg for the cinnamon, and added a full pound of brown sugar, it would probably be more DFH punkin' ale like.

Punkin' Ale V. 2

Brew Method: Extract
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.125 gallons
Boil Size: 3 gallons
Efficiency: 30%

Original Gravity: 1.066
Final Gravity: 1.018
ABV (standard): 6.21%
IBU (rager): 13.74
SRM (morey): 11.07

6 lb - Dry Malt Extract - Light (67.6%)
0.88 lb - Brown Sugar (9.9%)
1 lb - Liquid Malt Extract - Wheat (11.3%)

0.5 lb - Caramel / Crystal 60L (5.6%)
0.5 lb - Special Roast (5.6%)

1 oz - Domestic Hallertau (AA 4) for 60 min, Type: Pellet, Use: Boil

45 oz - Libby's Pumpkin, Time: 60 min, Type: Flavor, Use: Boil
1 tsp - Pumpkin Spice, Time: 10 min, Type: Spice, Use: Boil
1 tsp - Cinnamon, Time: 10 min, Type: Spice, Use: Boil
1 each - Whirlfloc, Time: 10 min, Type: Other, Use: Boil

Fermentis / Safale - Safale - American Ale Yeast US-05

-.88lbs is ~2 cups of packed brown sugar


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May 29, 2012
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Well I went with the third recipe and hit my number pretty much right on. Excited to try this in 4-6 weeks!!