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August 31, 2020

How to Upgrade Your Smashing Pumpkin Beer Recipe Kit

How to Make Smashing Pumpkin Ale with Real Pumpkin

Three Twists on Our Classic Pumpkin Ale

Our Smashing Pumpkin extract and all-grain recipe kits are among our most popular beer kits, especially during the fall and winter months when pumpkin pie spiced everything becomes all the rage. If you’ve made it before, you already know it’s awesome; if you haven’t, you’re in for an autumnal treat. But, if you’re looking to give your Smashing Pumpkin something extra this year: make it bigger, make it into a pumpkin porter, or go all out with a pumpkin spice pastry stout. Read more about these Smashing Pumpkin variants and find out what else you’ll need besides the Smashing Pumpkin recipe kit to brew them at home.

Recipe Upgrade: Imperial Pumpkin Beer (~10% ABV)

If you’re looking for a fall time ale that will warm your bones a bit more, or age until the holidays, consider amping up your pumpkin beer into an imperial pumpkin beer. To accomplish this, you’ll want to add more fermentables to increase the original gravity, but also proportionally more hops to ensure appropriate bitterness to keep it balanced with the malt character, while still allowing the pumpkin spice to shine.

The extra malt extracts or base malt additions will provide the ravenous yeast with more fermentable sugars, thus increasing the ABV of this particular variant. We recommend adding a pound of corn sugar to keep the beer from finishing too sweet, and to keep the color as light as possible despite the additional ingredients involved. Since the original gravity is increased, the final gravity will also be higher, thus creating a perceived finish with increased sweetness. Adding additional hops at the beginning of the boil will increase the bitterness to restore the overall balance of bitterness to sweet malty nuances. Because of the high starting gravity, this batch will need a lot of yeast. Target a pitch rate of 320 to 400 billion healthy yeast cells, by either pitching two packs of Imperial Yeast A07 Flagship, or making an appropriate starter with comparable yeasts. (If you need more information on how to make a yeast starter, check out our articles, How to Make a Yeast Starter and Why You Should Always Brew With a Yeast Starter.)

To create an imperial version of Smashing Pumpkin, add the ingredients listed below to the base recipe.

What Else You’ll Need (Extract):

What Else You’ll Need (All-Grain)

See full recipe: Extract | All-Grain

Recipe Upgrade: Pumpkin Spice Porter (~5.5% ABV)

Our Smashing Pumpkin beer kit creates a copper-red colored beer with caramel, biscuity, and toasty flavors that support the pumpkin pie spice flavor that this recipe is known for. The pumpkin beer concept works well with darker, roastier beers like a classic American Porter. Think black coffee and a pumpkin pie doughnut on a crisp autumn morning. To make this happen, add some darker roasted grains to either the steeping step in the extract version, or directly to the mash for all-grain versions. Aim for yeast pitch target of 200 to 250 billion cells, or one pouch of Imperial Yeast A07 Flagship.

To brew a Pumpkin Spice Porter, add the ingredients listed below to the base Smashing Pumpkin recipe.

What Else You’ll Need (Additional Steeping/Mashing Grains):

See full recipe: Extract | All-Grain

Recipe Upgrade: Pumpkin Pie Pastry Stout (~8.5% ABV)

We know, we know -- another one of those beers with ALL the adjectives (and adjuncts), but if you’re a fan of the pastry stout craze happening right now, this is how we would go about it. Imagine luscious pumpkin pie ice cream paired with a decadent, slightly roasty, slightly sweet and chocolatey stout. The essential lactose gives the beer body and sweetness, while cacao nibs and vanilla combine with the pumpkin pie spice from the Smashing Pumpkin kit to create a dessert beer perfect for bonfires and pairing with s’mores. Similar to the Imperial Smashing Pumpkin, this pastry stout version has a high starting gravity and will need a lot of yeast. Target a pitch rate of 320 to 400 billion healthy yeast cells, by either pitching two packs of Imperial Yeast A07 Flagship, or making an appropriate starter.

To make a Pumpkin Pie Pastry Stout, add the ingredients listed below to the base Smashing Pumpkin recipe.

What Else You’ll Need (Extract):

What Else You’ll Need (All-Grain):

See full recipe: Extract | All-Grain

LOOKING FOR EVEN MORE PUMPKIN FUN?

If you like the idea of the pastry stout, but want something a bit smaller in body and strength, try our Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout extract and all-grain recipe kit, which brings coffee into the mix to emulate some of your favorite autumnal coffee treats.

Another way to make your Smashing Pumpkin extract or all-grain kit more unique (and fun to brew) is making it with real pumpkin. This can be done by adding whole roasted pumpkin or a high-quality pumpkin puree to either the extract or all-grain kit. Get more information and watch our video: How to Make Smashing Pumpkin Ale with Real Pumpkin.