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Sweet Potato Beer

Moon River Brewery here in Savannah made a sweet potato beer last year and it was awesome. They rimmed the glass with a brown sugar/pecan mix. Mmm! Well, anyway, my wife is already asking about it come fall. That is, she wants me to make some. Anyone got any recipes or ideas?

Peel and boil some sweet potatoes, break them up with a fork then add to a brown ale grist for mashing. Although I suppose a lighter base beer would show the orange color a little more. I’d use maybe 5lb of potatoes and 8lb of malt. Expect to fight stuck sparges.

I’m wondering if the Smashing Pumpkin recipe would work. Except instead of adding Pumpkin add Sweet Potato

that was my thoughts as well. Just do a pumpkin ale and sub sweet potato.

I made an Imperial Pumpkin Spiced Yam Beer a few years back (think barleywine with pumpkin spice and yams). It came out very well, although a little on the sweet/malty side.

I roasted the yams until very soft for maximum sweetness and then peeled them. I pureed them to get maximum extraction. I believe it ended up being about 4 lbs of yam in the 5 gallon batch after peeling.

How I handled the yam puree was to mix it with about 1 gallon of water to thin it up a bit. I then mixed it with 2 lbs of crushed base malt. I put that mixture on the stovetop and very slowly brought the mix up to mash temp. The idea was to let the mix slowly pass through all of the different rest temps to break down as much of the yam as I could. I have no idea if it was worth it. Once at mash temp, I added that to the beginning of the rest of the mash. After about 90 mins, I started to drain the mash tun. This was an incredibly painful and slow process. It never really stopped, but it drained very slowly for about 1.5 hours. So the batch had a very long mash to say the least.

From there everything went as usual. The finished beer had a slight haze to it, but not terrible, and an amber/orange color. The yam flavor definitely came through and mixed with the pumpkin spice well. As I mentioned, the beer was a little on the sweet/malty side for my tastes. My friends who like Scotch Ales and other really malty beers loved it. I believe it finished at ~1.015 FG, it was a 9.5% ABV beer though.

So my takeaways were:

IMO, the yam adds a lot more flavor than pumpkin does. Keep that in mind when designing the recipe. Sweet potato flavor with sweet spices in a sweet/malty beer profile, will result in a sweet tasting beer. Or at very least, the illusion of a sweet tasting beer.

Puree the sweet potato for lots of extract potential. I don’t have my notes with me, but I believe I had a contribution of about 25ppg from the sweet potato.

Use lots of rice hulls or mix the sweet potato mush into the top of your mash bed only, or both. Stuck sparges are annoying and time consuming.

Good luck! :cheers:

FYI: There’s a good article about this on Beer & Wine Journal that just went up about this:

I’d probably throw some Carared in there for some body, flavor, and color. Sounds like a fun project, look forward to hearing the results!


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