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Will-o'-Wisp Pumpkin Ale

Brewed: 09/15/2019   Bottled: 09/24/2019

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 5

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 27.1 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 4.9 %
BU : GU   0.508        
Recipe Color 17.6 SRM
Measured OG:   1.048    Measured FG:    1.016
ADF:   67    Measured ABV:    4.2%


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
3 lbs 10.0 oz Pumpkin (8.0 SRM) Adjunct 1 22.1 %
10 lbs 4.0 oz Golden Promise (Simpsons) (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 62.6 %
2 lbs 4.0 oz Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) (55.0 SRM) Grain 3 13.7 %
2.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 4 0.8 %
2.0 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.8 %
0.250 oz Magnum [12.70 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 10.7 IBUs
0.750 oz Magnum [12.70 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 7 16.4 IBUs
1.18 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 8 -
1.18 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 9 -
1.2 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 10 -
0.59 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (Primary 2.0 weeks) Spice 11 -
0.59 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 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:   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:
09/15/2019 esheppy
Brew day went well. 1.050 oh. Pitched at 60f. The beer model was the brew master today.
09/16/2019 esheppy
Looks like maybe there are signs, but it might be pumpkin spice. 62 degrees.
09/17/2019 esheppy
Fermentation going strong. 64 degrees. Not really smelling pumpkin pie spice out of air lock.
09/19/2019 esheppy
Kraussen already gone. 68 degrees. No tilt so I don't know if gravity is falling.
09/25/2019 esheppy
Kegged last night and added some tincture. Gravity was a bit higher than I expected at 1.018. Flavor before tincture was nice. Have not tried after. Sitting at room temperature right now.
09/29/2019 esheppy
The Beer Model said she liked the amount of pumpkin spice. I think it is a lot more subtle than previous years ... but I'm not going to argue.
10/11/2019 esheppy
First actual pour. Liking how this turned out. 😋
10/18/2019 esheppy
Great to blend with Alabama Pelican.
10/31/2019 esheppy
Happy Halloween. Spice getting more and more subtle. Actually pretty good.
01/01/2020 esheppy
Still working on finishing this up. Subtle spice makes it ok for me to drink.
01/05/2020 esheppy
Been blending with Peppermint Porter to help finish it off.
01/10/2020 esheppy
Still working on finishing this up. I actually like the blend with pp.
01/17/2020 esheppy
FINALLY killed the keg.
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