Surprise Pumpkin Patch Ale (Experimental Series)

Last year I tried to make, disastrously, an autumn beer. I called it Autumn Bourbon Ale. I’m not sure if it was the wild turkey bourbon I added or something else but it really didn’t turn out the way I wanted. Unfortunately, I made it in the standard five gallon size so I was faced with drinking a lot of unpleasant beer or pouring it–and symbolically my money–down the drain.  I ended up doing both.

After that, I decided if I was going to make a beer that was experimental (and for gluten free homebrewing, that is saying something) I decided to do it in a 1 gallon size. This paid off well, my next attempt was a Pecan Pie Beer that was terrible (though, because of this article, I still want to revisit using nuts).

The next beer in my experimental series is this one, Surprise Pumpkin Patch Ale. We have a large (30 at least), unplanned, unplanted pumpkin patch in our back yard. One day, while looking out the window at the pumpkin patch I thought, “Why not?” I have read about using roasted pumpkin seeds in beers so I went and picked the most ripe looking one, cut it open and scooped the seeds out. I cleaned them and then roasted them in the oven at 275 for 20 minutes. I ended up with just over 2 oz of seeds (these are sugar baby pumpkins).

I steeped those for 30 minutes in about 1 gallon of water, then:

Fermentables & Misc

  • 1.5 lbs Brown Rice Syrup
  • 2oz Molasses
  • 3oz Buckwheat honey
  • 1oz maltodextrine


  • .3oz Fuggles @60
  • .15oz East Kent Goldings @15
  • .05oz East Kent Goldings @10

Cooled, pitched S-04 and dumped 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into the primary jug.

The result:


A few thoughts:

  • I don’t know why, but this stayed murky from start to finish. This is a VERY cleared up version of it from when it first started to ferment. I’m not sure if there was something from the pumpkin seeds or what but it never cleared up. Usually, I don’t care if my beer is aesthetically pleasing or not, which is why I don’t bother with whirlfloc tablets, but I’d rather they not be this murky.
  • Aside from the taste, you may notice an absence of any head. This beer has very low carbonation. I didn’t use any priming sugar on this one, I thought it had enough residual sugar left, but apparently I was wrong. That isn’t a recipe issue, simply a brewer error.
  • In terms of taste, this is very good. The seeds truly imparted a “pumpkin flavor” into this beer. It also has a nice spicy finish from the pumpkin pie spice. The flavor is not quite cinnamon, but pretty close. In that respect I’m very happy with it!
  • If I had to do it over again, I’d remove the East Kent Goldings hops and only use 1 hop addition of Fuggles at 60 minutes. I also think D-90 candi syrup would be better in this than buckwheat honey and molasses.


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