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Run to the Pils Recipe

Jeremy Myers, head brewer and co-owner of Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company (Croydon, Massachusetts) notes that there are no brewing salts added for mash pH adjustment. This recipe follows the Reinheitsgebot, so he uses acidulated malt.

ALL-GRAIN

Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Efficiency: 83%
Attenuation: 83%
OG: 1.049 (12.17°P)
FG: 1.009 (2.14°P)
IBUs: 36
ABV: 5.34%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

6.83 lb (3.1 kg) Weyermann Pilsen Malt
0.57 lb (258 g) Acidulated Malt
1.08 lb (490 g) Cara-Pils Malt

HOPS SCHEDULE

0.44 oz (12.5 g) Herkules [15.% AA] at 60 minutes
0.26 oz (7.4 g) Spalter Select [4.8% AA] at 45 minutes
0.44 oz (12.5 g) Spalter Select [4.8% AA] at 15 minutes
0.2 oz (5.7 g) Spalter Select [4.8% AA] at 10 minutes
0.2 oz (5.7 g) Mandarina Bavaria [6.0% AA] at 10 minutes
0.88 oz (25.1 g) Mandarina Bavaria [6.0% AA] at flameout

YEAST

Jeremy highly suggests White Labs WLP802 Czech Budejovice Lager strain for dry, hop assertive Pilsners. For something in a more traditional German direction that shows a bit more malt character but still lets the hops character shine through, try Hessian Pils from The Yeast Bay.

DIRECTIONS

Mash the grains for 60 minutes at 148°F (64°C). Boil for 75 minutes following the hops schedule. Ferment at 55°F (13°C) for 2 or 3 days. Once you hit a gravity of 1.034 (8.5°P), ramp the temperature to 65°F (18°C). Hold at final gravity for 5 days and then do a forced diacetyl test. If there is no perceived diacetyl, cold crash to 40°F (4°C) and lager for at least 3 weeks—the longer the better

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Bewaren

Bewaren

Stowaway Oatmeal Stout Recipe

Stowaway is a special beer, brewed with melanoidin-rich German malts and with a good quantity of bitterness. It’s darker and extra bitter than type tips, however it’s clean and scrumptious, properly roasty with good malt sweetness and a little bit of nutty goodness from all of the Munich and Vienna.

ALL-GRAIN

OG: 1.070
FG: 1.015
IBUs: 68
ABV: 7.5%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

5 lbs (2.three kg) Munich malt
5 lbs (2.three kg) Vienna malt
1.2 lbs (544 g) Flaked oats
zero.75 lbs (340 g) Roasted barley
zero.75 lbs (340 g) Caraaroma
zero.6 lbs (272 g) Carafa chocolate malt
zero.6 lbs (272 g) Carafa Particular
zero.5 lbs (227 g) Flaked barley

HOPS SCHEDULE

1.5 oz (42 g) Hallertau (complete) at 60 minutes
1.25 oz (35 g) Fuggle (pellet) at 30 minutes
1.25 oz (35 g) Tettnanger Tettnang (complete) at 30 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Mash at 154°F (68°C) for 60 minutes. Boil for 90 minutes following the hops schedule.

YEAST

Wyeast 1335 British Ale II

BREWER’S NOTE

Should you’d prefer to deliver this nearer to type tips, double the Vienna Malt and drop the Munich Malt.

Recipe is constructed to yield a batch measurement of 5 gallons (19 liters) and assumes 72 p.c brewhouse effectivity.

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Hops and Lagers

Once we take into consideration “hoppy lagers,” historically, the one one that basically involves thoughts is the Pilsner. Each the traditional Czech and German Pilsners are reasonably hoppy in comparison with different lagers—however can we actually, in a beer world that routinely sees beers with nearly 100 IBUs and all late or dry hopping, name these beers “hoppy”? Provided that we settle for that the lager household merely doesn’t do hoppy in that manner.

Nevertheless, for about ten years, brewers have been pushing the boundaries of what “hoppy” can seem like in a beer, and the result’s a brand new crop of high-IBU, closely hops-flavored lagers that present a definite stage on which brewers can showcase hops. The trick, as with practically all beers, is figuring out how you can use the elements to hit the goal at which you’re aiming—and what is going to reward your palate as soon as the beer hits it. On the subject of hoppy lagers, you should think about the distinctive taste character of lager yeasts, the way in which during which lager yeast fermentation will change how you utilize hops within the course of, and what it’s you hope to get out of that course of.

A Clear Slate

Fermenting any beer with lager yeast tends to create a cleaner, less-muddled taste profile, which permits the opposite elements to shine by means of. Traditionally, this has normally referred to malt: whether or not it’s the “Pils malt showcase” of the Munich Helles, the wealthy melanoidins of a Bock, or the oily-rich anise of a Baltic Porter, lagers have historically been malty beers. Heck, that’s why Pilsners stand out a lot inside that household! However nothing is stopping brewers from utilizing that clear slate to showcase hops that heretofore have been used solely in American ales or solely in restricted portions. But whereas there’s nothing stopping them, there are some concerns that should be dropped at bear.

Altering up the yeast from an ale pressure to a beer pressure means considerably altering the underlying beer on which the hops can be used. Lager strains produce fewer esters, phenols, and different fermentation characters that we regularly affiliate with (or that contribute to the flavour of) hops—which implies that the hops should have the ability to stand on their very own. They gained’t get assist from a citrus ester or an natural phenol. Lagers additionally ferment cooler and longer, which implies that in case you’re hoping for brilliant and recent hops taste, you should account for the longer course of. And regardless of the notion that lager yeast strains produce starkly “clear” beer, you additionally must take care of the issues that lager yeasts do have a tendency so as to add, significantly issues equivalent to sulfur and diacetyl, which can end in a really totally different taste than you propose.

To make your finest hoppy lagers, you should think about particular recipes, processes, and elegance objectives.

The Hoppy Lager Recipe

Once we get into hoppy lagers, we’re leaving conventional type concerns behind. Because of this, it shouldn’t shock you to learn that brewers don’t have any consensus on what these beers ought to look and style like. Hoppy lagers will be easy, specializing in producing a clarion hops profile; or they are often complicated, that includes a symphony of hops characters and flavors. You may select to overwhelmingly characteristic hops or hunt down a grand-but-balanced contribution from malt. You may even use the fermentation traits of lager yeast strains, teasing out the sulfury notes of a German lager pressure to intensify a resiny hops profile. In different phrases, there are not any guidelines right here—don’t deal with this like an IPA in all however title. Doing so does a disservice to the brewers who make them and undermines the very inventive alternative that the “type” (not but outlined) gives. Having stated that, there are some concerns widespread to most (if not all) styles of hoppy lagers.

Hops

First, you need to in all probability think about the hops themselves. When it comes to taste, most brewers are tending towards the extraordinary citrus and tropical fruit flavors of American hops. They’ve already been profitable in constructing IPAs because the dominant beer type within the market, so persevering with that development is a logical place to begin. These are taste hat could be arduous to overdo, are simply recognizable, and play effectively with one another.

Whereas some brewers have taken a distinct route and used European noble hops and/or their American cousins, many have expressed reservations about showcasing stronger floral or natural traits: one described such beers as being “like consuming potpourri.” It isn’t all American C-hops, nonetheless. Different brewers select to make use of New Zealand varieties, that are perceptibly totally different from American hops and add familiar-but-different flavors because of distinctive native rising situations and agricultural practices.

Hops do greater than add taste, after all. Additionally they add bitterness, and in a beer, that bitterness is commonly going to be extra prominently “on show,” similar to the hops taste is. You’ll wish to think about the alpha acid share and general IBU calculations, however you also needs to be interested by the standard of the bitterness. In an ale, the intrinsic sweetness of esters might assist cowl the gripping, harsh character of some isomerized alpha acids—of their absence, even a barely grating bitterness can be extra obvious and unsightly. You may deal with this within the brewing course of (see beneath), however you too can deal with it by hops choice.

Whereas we regularly talk about alpha acids as if they’re a single entity, actually there are 5 compounds that comprise the “alpha acids” in hops. One in all these—cohumulone (CoH)—has been related to a harsher bittering when isomerized in beer, and in consequence, many brewers have a tendency to pick out low-cohumulone hops. The draw back is that many of the typical low-CoH hops are typically the European noble varieties. Nevertheless, some American varieties have decrease CoH ranges (Simcoe, Magnum, Horizon), and extra are being cultivated as we communicate. Most hops distributors present an evaluation of the alpha-acid composition of their hops, and you’ll choose for your self the very best match by way of taste and CoH stage.

Yeast

As for yeast-strain choice, the choice will flip extra on what your goal taste profile appears to be like like. Virtually all lager strains will yield a “clear” fermentation with few taste additions, however they may range based mostly on attenuation, alcohol tolerance, and notion of different flavors. Wyeast 2001 Pilsner Urquell and White Labs WLP800 Pilsner Lager strains have a tendency to advertise well-rounded, barely wealthy honey and malt flavors. For a flintier, drier end, you may select White Labs WLP 830 German Lager or Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager strains (however watch out of an inclination to provide a sulfury observe, which will be aged out). Some report a slight apple-like taste (which can be a contribution from ethanol) from American lager strains equivalent to Wyeast 2035 American Lager.

There may be additionally a probable influence of yeast pressure on the persistence of IBUs; it has been tentatively demonstrated (by no much less an authority than Dr. Chris White of White Labs) that yeast strains range of their influence on precise vs. calculated IBUs. When examined, three White Labs lager strains (WLP810 San Francisco Lager, WLP830 German Lager, and WLP860 Munich Helles) truly resulted in greater than calculated IBUs when measured within the completed beer (we are able to assume that that is true of their corresponding strains from different producers). Because of this, you have to be even handed in your bittering hops additions and err on the facet of warning. In the end, the selection is yours, however take heed to the changes you’ll have to make to your hopping routine to match the flavors enhanced by the yeast you choose!

Grain Invoice

On the subject of grain use, we are actually purely within the realm of “brewer’s selection.” It must be famous, although, that there’s nothing to stop you from including a variety of malts to a hoppy lager. Whereas most industrial examples are typically of the pale India Pale Lager selection, the contributions made by many lager yeast strains to malt taste and character counsel that amber, brown, and even roasted hoppy lagers would supply intriguing and distinct variations by comparability to their top-fermented counterparts. You’ll wish to keep away from chocolate malts paired with a drier lager yeast to restrict harshness, and your malts typically shouldn’t overshadow your hops, however past these primary tips your creativity is the one limitation.

Course of

When it comes to the method of making a hoppy lager, now we have two precept concerns: hops addition timing and fermentation course of (which, being a beer, will essentially be totally different from an ale).

Hops Additions

If we assume that the majority brewers are making a hoppy lager for the aim of showcasing hops taste and aroma, then it’s additionally secure to imagine that the majority of your hopping will happen later within the boil. Late hopping (twenty minutes or fewer earlier than the top of the boil) leaves extra taste and aroma oils intact and non-isomerized, which suggests they may add extra taste and fewer bitterness to the beer. This serves two functions. First, it focuses your taste profile on the hops you’ve chosen to incorporate in your recipe. Second, it makes it harder to over-bitter your beer, for the reason that potential IBUs will possible be decrease than in case you included a big early bittering addition of hops. As an alternative, take your recipe’s goal IBUs, scale back by about 10 % (keep in mind, you’re erring on the facet of less-bitter to account for a cleaner general palate and fewer “bitterness-scrubbing” by your yeast), and attain that quantity utilizing late-addition hops. It can require extra hops general, however it is going to actually amp up your hops taste and aroma.

There may be some debate within the business as as to whether dry hopping is acceptable in a hoppy lager. From my perspective, the reply is, “why not?” As in any beer, although, ensure that your taste profile can accommodate the potential resiny, grassy, or plant-matter aromas and the mouthfeel parts that dry hopping can impart. When you’re planning a really pale beer, it’s possible you’ll wish to go on dry hopping—not too many individuals need alcoholic hops water, which is what a malt-limited dry-hopped lager might intently resemble! That is an space the place you need to think about, if not heed, the recommendation of skilled brewers—practically all of whom advocate for applicable steadiness moderately than extremes.

Fermentation

When it comes to fermentation, you should use a conventional lager yeast fermentation course of. Most start with a 7–10 day interval at about 50°F (10°C), then enhance the temperature within the fermentor to advertise full attenuation and cleanup or off-gassing of compounds which may impart undesirable flavors. That is significantly true of diacetyl, which many lager strains have a tendency to provide. Elevating your major fermentation temperature to 61°F (16°C) on the finish will assist your yeast do a correct job cleansing up the wort—and also will enhance hops oil extraction within the occasion you’re dry hopping your beer. Afterward, a chilly crash will assist clear the beer, and after carbonation, chilly storage for conditioning will promote the sensible readability and well-integrated flavors which might be typical of lagers.

I’d be remiss, nonetheless, if I didn’t sound one explicit observe of warning: don’t let an excessive amount of time go. For conventional (i.e., non-hoppy) lagers, the mantra is commonly “sluggish and regular wins the race.” Nevertheless, since hops taste, aroma, and even bitterness degrade as time passes, you need to transfer with correct expeditiousness in producing your hoppy lagers. Don’t rush them—fermenting sooner normally requires fermenting hotter, which produces extra fermentation character and which might presumably defeat the aim of brewing your hoppy lager—however hit your dates and drink the beer promptly. For many lagers, procrastination could be a advantage, as time is usually your pal. That’s not the case for hoppy lagers. They’ll stay taste steady, after all, however hops taste and aroma are finest skilled when the beer is recent, and these beers must be considered hoppy first and lagers second, at the very least because it pertains to age and conditioning.

A Query of Type

For a lot of, the phrase “lager” evokes photos of skinny, flavorless, pale beer—in some types, it’s even famous that “sturdy flavors are a fault.” You shouldn’t be constrained by that prejudice in producing any lager (which will be as intense as any ale—Eisbock, anybody?) however particularly not in producing hoppy lagers. The concept IPL is the one “type” of hoppy lager you can make is each illusory and unimaginative. Many lagers can profit from a considerable infusion of hops taste. Many hoppy types can profit from a distinct malt background character or the elimination of fruity esters or a “clear” and spare taste profile that exhibits off the hops. You’re constrained by nothing, and the notion that lagers are both boring or malt-oriented is each outdated and, frankly, nonsensical.

All that’s actually essential to make a profitable hoppy lager is an consciousness of how recipe modifications—significantly in fermentation character, but additionally in hops and grain choice and use—would require applicable steadiness elsewhere within the recipe. Course of is just not dramatically totally different, both, assuming that you’ve some expertise with conventional lager fermentation (and in case you don’t, there’s nothing too difficult about it!). What issues is that you’ve a aim in thoughts and that you simply carefully work towards it. The margin of error could also be smaller because of the lack of “cowl” from ale fermentation traits, however the diploma of issue is not any better.

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Redhook Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter Recipe

Redhook Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter (Seattle, Washington) is dark chestnut brown and is made with pureed pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and maple syrup. “This full-bodied, rich roasty porter makes you want to eat turkey and watch football or build a bonfire.”

ALL-GRAIN

OG: 1.056
FG: 1.012
IBUs: 28
ABV: 5.8%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

9 lb (4.1 kg) Pale malt (2-row)
10 oz (283 g) Crystal 120 malt
9 oz (255 g) Dark chocolate malt
8 oz (227 g) Carafa Special I malt
7 oz (198 g) Aromatic malt
3 oz (85 g) flaked oats
8 oz (227 g) pumpkin puree

HOPS AND ADDITIONS SCHEDULE

0.4 oz (11 g) Warrior [15% AA], or any other high alpha acid, low cohumulone bittering hops at 60 minutes (see Brewer’s Notes below)
1.25 oz (35 g) Willamette [5% AA] at 10 minutes
Cinnamon at whirlpool, to taste (start with ½ tsp and adjust as needed)
Nutmeg at whirlpool, to taste (start with ¼ tsp and adjust as needed)
Ginger at whirlpool, to taste (start with 1/8 tsp and adjust as needed)
Maple syrup at whirlpool (start with 8 fl oz/237 ml and adjust as needed)

YEAST

Wyeast 1056 American Ale

DIRECTIONS

Mash the grains and pumpkin for 50 minutes at 153°F (67°C). Boil for 60 minutes, following the schedule for hops additions. Whirlpool after the boil and add the spices. Chill and ferment at 66°F (19°C).

BREWER’S NOTES

Redhook bitters with a proprietary blend of hops called Alchemy. A high alpha acid, low cohumulone cultivar such as Warrior will do the trick at home. You’re aiming for 20 IBUs with the 60-minute addition and 8 IBUs with the 10-minute addition, so adjust your hops additions as needed to account for differences in alpha acids.

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Brewing with Capsicum (Candy Peppers)

Candy crimson peppers, or capsicums, have a stunning and distinctive delicate spiciness that lifts any meal, so let’s put it in beer.

Firstly, it’s necessary to know that inexperienced peppers are literally immature, so that they received’t have developed the complete depth of taste we would like. Despite the fact that they’re often a little bit cheaper, we don’t need the inexperienced ones as we speak.

brewing with sweet peppers capsicum

How a lot ought to we use? Fortunately, the candy, peppery taste transfers fairly readily, so there’s no must go too loopy. It’s additionally potential to make use of an excessive amount of, which can pump extreme bitterness to the beer (unusual since they’re ‘candy’ crimson peppers, however who’re we to query the brewing gods?). Let’s maintain again a little bit and attempt to solely give the completed brew a noticeable trace of the flavour to enrich the malt. About one and a half peppers per gallon (or a single pepper for 2 and a half liters) will get the job achieved. In fact, some peppers are bigger than others, so in a five-gallon batch (round twenty liters) you’ll must buy round three and a half kilos (one and a half kilograms) of candy crimson peppers. When you take away the seeded core, you’ll be left with a little bit over two kilos (one kilo) of the crimson flesh.

Getting ready the Peppers

We initially wish to freeze these pretty hole veggies (or fruits… no matter you are feeling like calling them), so reduce them into flat cheeks and get them into the freezer in a single day. It will break down the cell partitions and permit the flavour and aroma to extra simply diffuse into the liquid.

mashing the beer

As a result of, as superior brewers, we’re obsessive about sanitation, let’s cook dinner the buggers earlier than they go anyplace close to our wort. You possibly can spray the cheeks with a sanitizer (a sanitizer you’re sure won’t burst into flame) and put them within the oven, however watch out to not overdo it. We would like the microorganisms to perish; we don’t need any extreme burnt taste. Alternatively, you possibly can put the candy crimson pepper cheeks into zip lock luggage and boil them (successfully sous vide), however should you’re brewing a big batch you’re going to want plenty of huge luggage. In the event you do go down this path, be certain that the baggage you utilize are meals grade high quality and received’t soften once they hit the warmth.

As a result of we’re additionally thorough, let’s put half of our prepped peppers into the mash and half as an addition to the boil for an hour. This fashion, we all know we’re injecting the specified taste into each (early) a part of the brewing course of.

Probably the most noticeable presence of the candy crimson pepper within the completed beer would be the aroma, so plan so as to add your favourite hop or taste addition to a secondary fermenter to essentially spherical out the general profile of the completed beer.

The scent of candy crimson peppers can be fairly pretty whereas the beer is fermenting, so for as soon as, the opposite individuals in your home may benefit from the scent of your brewing obsession… however don’t depend on it, the pong of hops will solely ever be cherished by brewers.

In fact, you may add candy crimson peppers to any type of beer, however you’ll discover that the flavour is greatest in a darkish brew. As you may need guessed, it’s because the daring style of the beer received’t be overpowered by the addition. The candy crimson pepper style additionally tends to hit the palate on the finish of the tasting, so that you’ll nonetheless be capable of benefit from the full taste of the beer.

Right here’s a recipe for a stunning darkish pils with candy crimson pepper and also you’ll discover that it’s notably scrumptious with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream floating on the highest. The yeast alternative right here (Saflager W-34/70) is a sturdy little fella that can promote the ultimate fruity taste. I fermented mine at 60 levels Fahrenheit (15 levels Celsius), which is dishonest the ‘pils’ type, however a little bit variation each as soon as in awhile is an efficient factor. When drawing up your individual recipe, keep in mind that the candy crimson peppers will add some bitterness, so throw in an additional handful of cara-malt and contemplate holding again on the hops till you possibly can style a little bit of the fermented product.

Darkish, Candy Pink Pepper Pils

  • 10 Kilos Pilsener Malt.
  • 10 Ounces Weyermann Carafa Particular III Malt.
  • 15 Ounces Cara-pils Malt.
  • zero.5 Ounces Saaz hop for 60 minutes in boil.
  • 1 Ounce Saaz for 20 minutes in boil.
  • eight Candy Pink Peppers (a little bit over 2 kilos or one kilo deseeded cheeks), half in mash and half in boil.
  • 2x Saflager W-34/70 Yeast Sachet.

brewing with sweet red peppers capsicum

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Citraweiss Recipe

ALL-GRAIN

Batch dimension: 6 gallons (22.7 liters) boil/5 gallons (19 liters) knockout Brewhouse effectivity: 75& Attenuation: 80% OG: 1.06 FG: 1.01 IBUs: 50 ABV: 6.5%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

5.5 lb (2.5 kg) White wheat malt three.5 lb (1.6 kg) Pilsner malt 1.2 lb (544 g) Torrified wheat zero.four lb (181 g) Weyermann CaraMunich III

HOPS & ADDITIONS SCHEDULE

2.5 oz (71 g) Tettnang at 60 minutes zero.5 oz (14 g) Citra at 10 minutes zero.5 oz (14 g) Citra at 5 minutes zero.5 lb (227 g) corn sugar at 5 minutes 1.25 oz (35 g) Citra at zero minutes 1.25 oz (35 g) Citra at dry hop

YEAST

Conventional Hefeweizen yeast comparable to White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen or Wyeast Weihenstephan Weizen 3068.

DIRECTIONS

Add 6 grams gypsum and 1 gram calcium carbonate to four gallons (15 liters) mash water.

Step mash

126°F (52°C) for 15 minutes 144°F (62°C) for 20 minutes 161°F (72°C) for 40 minutes 168°F (76°C) till mash out

Should you do a single-infusion mash as a substitute of a step mash, mash for 60 minutes at 155°F (68°C).

Boil for 60 minutes, following the schedule for hops and additions. Ferment at 72°F (22°C) till closing gravity is reached, then dry hop with 1.25 oz (35 g) Citra. Chilly crash for 7–10 days, then rack and bottle or keg to 2.6 volumes of CO2.

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Make Your Best Robust Porter

You grow as a brewer, and as you do, you sometimes end up pushing yourself into more complex, technically challenging, obscure beer styles. It’s natural. It’s also a great idea, though, to occasionally double back to what can be described as more “beginner” styles, and when you do, you might be shocked at how much better they are this time around. One of my favorites is the robust porter (sometimes called an American porter, though for reasons I’ll get into later, that’s a bit of a misnomer for this version of it), for a very simple reason: this is a beer that can showcase almost any set of flavors you want. Brew one up now, and it’ll be perfect for your winter social events!

Style

Porter is one of the oldest styles, referring to dark ales made with brown malt, originally in London and around England. The name refers to its reported popularity among porters or bearers who worked the docks, rivers, and streets of England at the time as manual laborers and haulers. After a day like that, who wouldn’t want a rich, roasty, hoppy beer?

Porters and stouts bear a number of similarities and came of age in the same era, to the extent that many dispute whether there is even a demonstrable, consistent difference. One commonly touted difference is that stouts tend to make use of unmalted roasted barley, whereas porters rely on black patent—for practical purposes, though, you don’t need to know the difference…if there even is one. (But if you really want to explore the difference, see Ron Pattinson’s “What’s the Difference Between Porter and Stout?”

All you need to know is that this is a beer that should feature substance. Rich character from its grist, a bite from black patent malt, significant bittering and flavor hops, and even a touch of alcohol warmth. Not every example fits this bill, but I (obviously) believe that the best do.

Ingredients

There’s a lot going into the grist here, so you’ll want to apologize in advance to your local homebrew shop! 

  • Start with about 10 lb (4.5 kg) of Maris Otter
  • 2 lb (907 kg) Munich malt—you want about 50 gravity points from the base malts.
  • Then add 1 lb (454 g) of Fawcett Crystal 45, 1 lb (454 g) of pale chocolate malt, and ½ lb (227 g) of black patent malt. 
  • If you want to really ramp up the richness, you might also consider a couple of ounces of melanoidin malt.
  • To recommend (though it’s optional) is ½ lb (227 g) of flaked barley to promote head retention and a creamy mouthfeel.

You want an aggressive hopping regimen that’s fairly evenly balanced across the bittering, flavor, and aroma additions. 

  • Use a tri-blend of hops: blend 1 oz (28 g) each of East Kent Goldings, Styrian Goldings, and Fuggles, and add in equal parts at 60 minutes, 10 minutes, and flame out, reserving about ¼ oz (7 g) of the blend for later
  • This should give you plenty of bitterness (about 40 IBUs, assuming all three are in the neighborhood of 5 percent AA) and an earthy, spicy hops character than meshes perfectly with the rich-but-sharp malt flavors.

And for yeast, use Wyeast 1318 (London Ale III). I’ve extolled its virtues before, but to review, it provides some great fruity esters when fermented at the right temperature, and though Wyeast cautions that it finishes “slightly sweet,” I’ve never had that issue, especially in a beer with a healthy roasty bite and medium bittering.

If, like me, you’re working with slightly hard water, you might also consider ¼ tsp of baking soda to round off the dark malt flavors.

Process

Mash at your center-line, everyday temperature (152°F/67°C, for me). We’re not shooting for a particularly fermentable (or unfermentable) wort, and while this is expected to be a rich beer, it shouldn’t be unduly “heavy.” Let the crystal and flaked barley do their job, and you shouldn’t have any body issues.

In terms of fermentation, you can treat this as you would any ale. Start cool, at about 64°F (18°C), to inhibit diacetyl production and prevent the production of fusel alcohols. After 72 hours or so, let the temperature rise by a few degrees (to 68°F/20°C) is good), and hold it there for the rest of fermentation.

Remember that ¼ oz (7 g) of hops blend you held back? It’s for a very, very light dry hopping after about a week in the fermentor. I find that it adds to the nose by brightening up the existing hops flavors and aroma, but it also adds a touch of fresh, resiny, grassy hops aroma. It’s enough to be noticeable but not so much that you think someone just re-labeled a black IPA. Three days of contact time should suffice.

You should be ready to go within 10 days, and then you can package and carbonate. I like a hair under two volumes of CO2 for this one, but don’t go as low as your English bitters or cask ales—this beer needs a bit of carbonation to fill it out and cut down on any perceptions of excess sweetness.

In Closing

So there we have it: a London ale brewed with English and German ingredients, with an American-sized level of hopping (and even a touch of dry hops). This beer also serves as a great base for any winter specialty or spiced beers you might be interested in making—remove the aroma hops and replace with your specialty ingredient(s) as desired.

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Mom & Pop’s Wet Hops Lager Recipe

The recipe for this wet-hops lager from Jack’s Abby changes every year because they use 10 percent local unmalted grain (whatever is available that year) and add as many wet hops as they can fit into the kettle. Says Sonia Friedman, marketing manager for Jack’s Abby, “[The approach] isn’t particularly scientific, but it delivers a truly unique flavor that can’t be replicated.”

ALL-GRAIN

OG: 1.054
FG: 1.015
IBUs: Varies
ABV: 5.2%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

9.5 lb (4.3 kg) locally sourced pale malt
1 lb (454 g) locally sourced unmalted rye, wheat, spelt, or triticale

HOPS SCHEDULE

Hops and schedule vary, but add as many local wet hops as can fit into the kettle and hopback.

YEAST

Choose your favorite lager yeast. Weihenstephan 34/70 is a worldwide favorite among lager brewers and will deliver outstanding results.

DIRECTIONS

Each batch of this beer is meant to be fresh, local, and unique! Follow your usual mash, boil, and lager fermentation regimen. For sample regimens, see the recipes for Jack’s Abby Brewing’s Framinghammer, You Can Do It! Dunkel, Helles I Know, and The Invigilator

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Oh My Gourd Smoked Pumpkin Brown Ale Recipe

Published: 2016-09-17

Dave Clapsaddle, a Packaging Tech at Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, roasts, smokes, and marinates pumpkins at his house to produce the puree that goes into Oh My Gourd. Dave doesn’t reveal exactly how he makes his pumpkin puree, but notes, “Some very simple spices are added, but very little to keep the pumpkin-pie effect at bay.”

ALL-GRAIN

OG: 1.070
FG: 1.014
IBUs: 35
ABV: 7.4%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

6.5 lb (2.9 kg) Pale malt (2-row)
6 lb (2.7 kg) Vienna malt
8 oz (227 g) Amber malt
8 oz (227 g) Crystal 120
4 oz (113 g) Crystal 80

HOPS AND ADDITIONS SCHEDULE

1 oz (28 g) Perle at 60 minutes
0.5 oz (14 g) East Kent Golding at 20 minutes
0.5 oz (14 g) Saaz at 20 minutes
0.5 oz (14 g) East Kent Golding at whirlpool
0.5 oz (14 g) Saaz at whirlpool
2 lb (907 g) marinated, fire-roasted pumpkin puree in secondary

DIRECTIONS

For the pumpkin puree: Fire roast and chop about 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of raw pumpkins, then marinate with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste and puree. Final yield should be roughly 2 pounds (907 grams) of pumpkin puree.

Mash the grains for 60 minutes at 152°F (67°C). Boil for 60 minutes, following the hops addition schedule. Whirlpool, chill, and ferment at 66°F (19°C). Add the pumpkin puree to secondary and let condition for a week or longer before packaging.

YEAST

Wyeast 1028 London Ale

NOTES

Dave says, “I have messed with adding the pumpkin at different times but have found that ‘dry hopping’ with the pumpkin helps it pop (the kettle reduces the pumpkin flavor). However, I recommend boiling the pumpkin beforehand with added water to pasteurize it and be sure to kill off any funky stuff.”

Join host Jay Montez of Odell Brewing Company as he guides you through CB&B’s online class on adding flavors to beer. Sign up today!

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Comrade Fresh Hops Superpower IPA Recipe

Denver Colorado’s Comrade Brewing’s wet-hops American IPA won a 2014 GABF silver medal. With loads of Pacific Northwest hops, it has huge pine and grapefruit hops aromas, with flavors of citrus and balanced bitterness with a light malt character.

ALL-GRAIN

OG: 1.066
FG: 1.011
IBUs: 100+
ABV: 7.5%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

12 lb (5.4 kg) Pale malt (2-row)
8 oz (227 g) Crystal 15 malt
7 oz (198 g) Munich type II malt
6 oz (170 g) Wheat malt

HOPS SCHEDULE

0.25 oz (7 g) Citra [12% AA] at FWH
0.25 oz (7 g) Simcoe [13% AA] at FWH
0.50 oz (14 g) Chinook [13% AA] at 60 minutes
0.25 oz (7 g) Amarillo [9.2% AA] at 30 minutes
0.25 oz (7 g) Citra [12% AA] at 30 minutes
0.25 oz (7 g) Simcoe [13% AA] at 30 -minutes
0.50 oz (14 g) Amarillo [9.2% AA] at 10 minutes
0.50 oz (14 g) Citra [12% AA] at 10 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Citra [12% AA] at 5 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Simcoe [13% AA] at 5 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Amarillo [9.2% AA] at knockout
1 oz (28 g) Citra [12% AA] at knockout
1 oz (28 g) Simcoe [13% AA] at knockout
5 lb (2.27 kg) blend of fresh (wet) hops, whatever is available (Cascade and Chinook recommended) at whirlpool/hopback

First dry-hop addition: Add after primary fermentation and leave for 7 days total

1 oz (28 g) Citra
1 oz (28 g) Simcoe
1 oz (28 g) Amarillo

Second dry-hop addition: Add two days after first dry-hop addition and leave for 5 days total

1 oz (28 g) Citra
1 oz (28 g) Simcoe
1 oz (28 g) Amarillo

DIRECTIONS

Mash the grains for 60 minutes at 154°F (68°C). Boil for 60 minutes following the hops schedule. Whirlpool and chill. Ferment at 68°F (20°C) and dry hop in two stages after fermentation. Fine for clarity, carbonate to 2.6 volumes of carbon dioxide, and serve fresh.

YEAST

Wyeast 1056 American Ale, White Labs WLP001 California Ale, or Fermentis US-05

BREWER’S NOTE

The 5 pounds (2.27 kg) of wet hops added post-boil occupy about 5 gallons (19 liters). Therefore, you either need to devise a 5-gallon hopback or make sure there’s enough extra space in your brew kettle to accommodate the wet hops as the wort chills. A 10-gallon (37.8 l) kettle for a 5-gallon batch should work well.

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Think Small: Ideas for Brewing Session Beers

Look at any tap list today and you’re bound to see a beer calling itself a “session” beer—ostensibly a 3–5 percent (the upper limit varies depending who you ask), drink-more-than-one style, or a lower-octane version of a bigger style. As a beer drinker, I’ve long been a proponent of lower-ABV beers, in part because I like to take my time and drink a full pint of something, but also because I like to try a few things from the list! If all I’m looking at are full-strength IPAs, Trappist ales, and imperial whatevers, sampling more beer is simply not an option if I hope to be functional for the rest of the day (and maybe the next day)! When I see a nice 3.2 percent bitter on the tap list, I’m done looking.

But as with many other aspects of beer brewing, drinking a session beer and brewing a session beer are two different beasts (and the brewing is usually harder). This week we’ll take a quick look at some tips for brewing session beers, and while each of these probably deserves a post of its own, this should be more than enough to get you started down the right track!

Not (Exactly) a Question of Scale

The first thing you want to do is realize that you’re not doing a linear scaling. If your 6 percent beers usually get a certain amount of a specialty grain, then don’t assume that your session recipes need half that amount. In fact, given that you’re not getting body from quite as much residual sugar and not tasting the flavor of a larger dose of alcohol, you need to be rather more conscious of what’s in that recipe. This is the brewing equivalent of Pascal’s assertion that he would have written a shorter letter but lacked the time!

I actually prefer to start my session recipes with a consideration of specialty grains. A good rule of thumb is to use as a starting point the weight of each grain that you would use for a beer with an OG of 1.060, and reduce it by a quarter. So, if your American amber calls for 4 ounces (113 g) of Crystal 120, then a session amber should start with 3 ounces (85 g) instead. This is going to mean a larger percentage of your grist is going to specialty grains relative to base grains, but don’t worry about that just yet. Your priority is to ensure full flavor, and if you’re using grains with unfermentable sugars, then you’re also getting started on addressing your body problems (or, I should say, the beer’s body problems).

Another consideration is the complexity of your recipe. You’re much better off using a limited selection of specialty grains. One or two will shine—more than that, and you may end up with a smattering of subtle flavors that wisp in and out of the flavor.

Once you’ve settled on your flavor-focused grain choices, top up your grist with base malt. With this recipe more than any other, I lean toward the more flavorful base grains such as Maris Otter, Munich, and Vienna. I avoid Pilsner only because it imparts a subtle honey-like sweetness that, in a small beer, is off-putting to me (I put Crystal 10 and 20 in this camp, too). Don’t fight the relative dryness that will come from a low final gravity and a low ABV—lean into it. You won’t be mimicking the subtle ethanol sweetness of a larger beer; you’ll just be mocking it. It’s like using sugar-free syrup because you don’t have any real maple syrup (and who makes waffles without checking the syrup situation first, MOM?).

Session beers’ greatest challenge is in the grist. It’s the one area where you need to significantly pervert the usual measures. The rest are much more pliable.

Mash Your Way to Success

A less skewed (but important) adjustment comes along in the mash. To reduce the fermentability of your wort and increase its body, mash hotter than your usual by 2–3°F (1–2°C), and for 15 minutes less. Both steps will reduce the overall fermentability of the wort, and the hotter mash will result in more long-chain sugars that will also increase the perception of body. You may also notice that your efficiency falls off (mine does), and an adjustment in your brewing software of 5–7 percent lower efficiency will help you hit your specific gravity more consistently.

Late Hops Rule

Aim to yield at least half of your IBUs from late hopping and choose the most flavorful (and freshest) hops you can get your hands on! I say only half because very high hops flavor (especially in fruitier varieties) can increase your perception of sweetness, which again is something we’d like to avoid. So some good, old-fashioned, early-addition IBUs are worth having. Higher-than-usual hops flavor (even in styles where it isn’t typical) is a great way to fill out your flavor profile, especially if you choose hops that will pull double-duty by filling in flavors that might be missing from your fermentation. Speaking of which…

Don’t Trust Your Yeast

This might be a yeast you’ve used for years. You may think the yeast is your friend. But it will betray you. With a limited amount of fermentable sugars on hand, fermentation is going to be fast and quick and clean. Some advocate for under-pitching or stressing the yeast (temperature, lack of oxygen, etc.) to get them to give up their usual esters/phenols, but I think that’s the brewing equivalent of cutting a bagel toward your hand with a hack saw: not a good idea and likely to do more harm than good.

Take note of the flavors you’re looking for from the fermentation and backstop them with other ingredients and ferment as you normally would. Those fermentation characters will almost certainly come in lighter than usual, but they’ll be buttressed by, for example, citrus-heavy hops. The overall flavor will be there. The risks inherent in stressing or underpitching your yeast are simply too high—and the off-flavors that could result will be even more obvious in a session beer.

Carbonation: Don’t Fall at the Finish!

Finally, session beers are good beers with which to lighten the CO2 load. Reduce your usual carbonation levels by about half a volume of CO2, and you’ll do two great things: first, you’ll improve the perception of body; and second, you’ll reduce the flavor that the carbonic acid will be putting out (and isn’t all that desirable anyway).

Session beers come in a huge array of styles, shapes, and sizes. Check back here regularly for session-style advice, and when I run out of those you can bet I’ll double back and talk through session versions of bigger styles!

Prost.

Craft Beer & Brewing’s Favorite Session Beer Recipes

Easy Irish Stout
Beer Engine ESB
Sessionable Saison

And for good measure, a session mead recipe:

Session Sparkling Dry-Hopped Mead

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Jolly Pumpkin La Parcela Recipe

“Packed with real pumpkin, hints of spice, and a gentle kiss of cacao to lighten the soul, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales’ La Parcela ((Dexter, Michigan) is an every-day easy way to fill your squashy quotient. Only available for a few short months [unless you brew your own].”

ALL-GRAIN

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.006–1.008
IBUs: 22
ABV: 5.9%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

7 lb (3.2 kg) Pilsner malt
1 lb (454 g) Munich malt
1 lb (454 g) Vienna malt
4 oz (113 g) Crystal 75 malt
3 oz (85 g) Crystal 30 malt
0.5 oz (14 g) Black malt
8 oz (227 g) pumpkin

HOPS AND ADDITIONS SCHEDULE

0.25 oz (7 g) Perle [8.5% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Hallertau [4.5% AA] at 30 minutes
2.5 oz (71 g) pumpkin pie spice at knockout

YEAST

Use your favorite Belgian yeast in primary. If you don’t have a favorite, Wyeast 3787 or White Labs 530 would both be excellent choices. Souring microbes in secondary.

DIRECTIONS

Mash the grains and pumpkin for 60 minutes at 152°F (67°C). Boil for 60 minutes, following the schedule for hops and other additions. Whirlpool and chill, then ferment at 68°F (20°C) with Belgian yeast. Transfer to secondary for oak aging (either in a barrel or on oak cubes) with the souring microorganisms of your choice. Bottle condition after the gravity falls to 1.006–1.008.

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Brewing the Perfect Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin beer predates the founding of the United States. Brewed with an indigenous fruit unknown to most Europeans until the sixteenth century, it was our first truly national beer. Its beginnings were humble—first brewed during colonial days out of necessity, when malt was scarce and fermentable sugars had to be found wherever possible. The beer became popular among colonists, either straight or mixed in a cocktail known as flip. But nothing lasts forever. Its appeal fell when nineteenth-century hipsters deemed it too rustic and quaint.

The style was resurrected more than a century later—in 1985, during the early days of the craft-beer revolution—by Bill Owens of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California. Inspired by one of George Washington’s recipes, Owens brewed a pumpkin ale and added an X Factor—spices (the colonial versions were unspiced). A star was born.

Today, it seems every brewery and brewpub makes a pumpkin ale. The style has become one of America’s favorite seasonal beers. Some examples are outstanding: Southern Tier’s Pumking, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin, and Cigar City’s Good Gourd spring to my mind immediately.

Unfortunately, there are also weak-hearted efforts. This dearth of quality has led me on a quest, now more than ten years old, to homebrew the perfect pumpkin ale. My version is robust, brims with maltiness from a solid grain bill, packs tons of pumpkin flavor, and sports an assertive spice profile. To taste my Perfect Pumpkin Ale is to savor the flavor of pumpkin pie in a glass. It’s not a difficult recipe to brew. The only special ingredient is a small investment of time.

Beer Style

Many beer styles are amenable as a base for pumpkin ale. For example, the roastiness of porter or stout makes an excellent complement to the spice regime. My recipe uses an amber ale base, which has a strong malt backbone to support the pumpkin and spices and lets the orange color shine through.

Grain Bill

The grain bill is simple. Maris Otter and Light Munich are the base malts, selected for their bready and toasty characteristics. These malts are available in extract form for those who don’t brew all-grain. The recipe is reinforced with Belgian specialty malts: Dingemans Aromatic and Caramunich for their malty aroma, hint of sweetness, and pumpkin-like orange and brown coloring.

A dose of brown sugar rounds out the recipe and adds a touch of colonial authenticity. It was a common ingredient back in the day, plus it provides additional fermentables to bump up the alcohol percentage without making the beer cloying. Over the years, I’ve brewed Perfect Pumpkin Ale at several different original gravities (sometimes unintentionally). A specific gravity of about 1.065 seems to be perfect—providing the best balance of alcohol percentage and drinkability. I mash the grains in a single step at 155°F (68°C) for 60 minutes to ensure a rich, full-bodied beer.

Pumpkin, Of Course

Pumpkin beer needs pumpkin. This revelation is lost on some brewers, for no pumpkins are harmed in the making of their beer. And while I’m on my soapbox, I prefer fresh, not canned, pumpkin. Many breweries want their pumpkin offering to be the first to hit the marketplace. Thus, the release date of a fall seasonal has become earlier and earlier (last year, the first cases of pumpkin beer appeared in retail stores at the end of June). Since the harvest has yet to occur, these early-release pumpkin ales have to be brewed with last year’s canned instead of fresh pumpkin—a violation of all that’s holy, as far as I’m concerned.

But not just any type of pumpkin will suffice. The traditional Halloween jack o’ lantern pumpkins (a cultivar of_ Cucurbita pepo), aren’t the best choice. They provide minimal flavor and fermentables. In my neck of the woods, I use a crookneck pumpkin (pictured at top), also known as a neck pumpkin (a cultivar of _Cucurbita moschata). It’s tan in color and looks similar to a cashew on steroids. My recipe calls for about a pound of pumpkin per gallon, so buy a couple. (If you don’t have ready access to neck pumpkins, use butternut squash, also a cultivar of C. moschata.) Check the farmer’s markets first; they have better quality, prices, and selection than the supermarkets.

You need to prepare the pumpkin a few days in advance of the brew day. Using a large knife, halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut the halves into pieces about 6 inches (15 cm) long. Cover some cookie sheets with aluminum foil, arrange the pumpkin pieces on the cookie sheets, and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar. Roast in the oven at 375°F (190°C) until soft. This usually takes two to three hours. During roasting, the brown sugar will melt and caramelize onto the pumpkin, providing extra flavor. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let cool. Then peel off the pumpkin skin, dice the flesh into large cubes (being sure to save the juice for its color and flavor), and store in a covered bowl in the fridge. On brew day, let the pumpkin warm to room temperature and put it in the kettle for the duration of the boil. (As an aside, for those who are into sustainable brewing, the boiled pumpkin flesh makes excellent pies.) To avoid a mess in the kettle and clogged valves or siphons, put the pumpkin into either a large fine-mesh bag designed for fruit or a hop spider equipped with a paint-straining bag.

Hops and Spices

Unlike for an IPA, hops aren’t a big deal for pumpkin ale. Almost any clean-flavored hops will do. I’ve used Fuggles in the past, but now I prefer a higher alpha-acid variety—such as Northern Brewer, Galena, or Magnum—to keep the vegetal matter to a minimum. Only a bittering dose is needed, not quite 20 IBUs’ worth, to keep the malt sweetness in check.

As Buffalo Bill’s Bill Owens discovered, spices make the pumpkin ale come alive. They take the place of the traditional flavor and aroma hops. This is where you can be creative and let your imagination run wild.

My spice regimen is aggressive: lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and a touch of vanilla. I prefer Saigon cinnamon (Vietnamese cinnamon) to other varieties for its strong, rich, and sweet flavor. It’s more expensive than regular cinnamon, but it’s usually on sale during the holidays. I don’t care for other pumpkin-pie spices, such as cloves or allspice (although my wife always tries to sneak in some allspice when I’m not looking), so I don’t use them. But if you like a particular spice, by all means use it.

Vanilla is the key final additive. It provides a certain je ne sais quoi—a flavor that can’t be ascertained, but would be missed if not present. Vanilla lends a silky creaminess and rounds out the spice profile. I add the vanilla during the secondary conditioning phase, a few days before kegging. But be careful—while the other spice flavors will mellow and soften with age, vanilla won’t. You’re stuck with it.

The amounts of the spices in my recipe may seem daunting. Most pumpkin ale recipes call for only one or two teaspoons of spices altogether. Don’t be afraid. You have nothing to fear but bland beer. If you’re squeamish about the amounts, add the spices gradually—tasting along the way—until you achieve the flavor you want. It’s always possible to add more, but you can’t subtract once it’s in. I add my spices just before knockout and later, in the form of a hot “tea,” during conditioning, much the way you would dry hop.

Yeast

The yeast strain is important—I ferment with White labs WLP002 English Ale yeast. Fermentation takes off like gangbusters, and it flocculates beautifully a few days later, leaving a wonderful pumpkin color and just a hint of desired sweetness. I used to ferment at 65°F to 68°F (18°C to 20°C), but I’ve found that fermenting at 72°F to 74°F (22°C to 23°C) seems to give a better flavor profile—perhaps from the increased ester production.

An alternative yeast that’s worth investigating is White Labs WLP565 or Wyeast 3724 Saison Dupont. Tröegs Brewing made a wonderful pumpkin ale, Master of Pumpkins, using this strain. Whatever your choice, don’t ferment with California Ale yeast. Its clean flavor profile is outstanding for so many styles, but it doesn’t enhance pumpkin ale. In addition, it ferments too dry.

As with all my homebrews, I make a 1.5-liter starter a few days before brew day to ensure complete fermentation. Don’t let the yeast’s chunkiness scare you. Pour off most of the liquid on top before pitching—it’s not really beer.

Fermentation

Even though primary fermentation will be complete in a few days, wait at least a week before racking to a secondary fermentor. The secondary phase lasts another week or two. At this juncture, taste and add more spices as needed. The spice profile may seem a little rough at this point, but don’t panic. All the flavors will magically coalesce—snap together. Add the vanilla a few days before bottling or kegging.

Sometimes, the waiting is the hardest part, but your patience will be rewarded. My Perfect Pumpkin Ale recipe takes about a month of conditioning to hit its peak, which it will retain throughout the winter and well into the spring—although your first Perfect Pumpkin Ale probably won’t last that long. Cheers!

Fresh is Best

My mind is boggled by brewers—obsessively quality-conscious folk—who commit hours of work to brewing and then ruin their masterpieces by adding dollar-store quality spices. We wouldn’t settle for anything but the best with our malts, extracts, and hops. The good stuff—gourmet cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg and ginger—costs a mere pittance more, but the flavor blows away the cheap stuff. Often, these ingredients are on sale during the holidays.

And don’t skimp on the vanilla, either. Imitation vanilla is vile and can’t compare to pure vanilla extract, which has myriad other uses, not the least of which is holiday baking. While many of these spices are available at grocery stores or spice shops, I highly recommend Penzeys Spices. Their quality, prices, and customer service are outstanding.

The Eternal Question

As the Homebrew Bard once opined: To mash or boil? That is the question. When my Perfect Pumpkin Ale recipe was first published, one would have thought I was guilty of heresy for boiling the pumpkin in the wort instead of mashing. I’d never seen so much such vitriol before in homebrewing forums: It’ll be filled with starch—undrinkable, cloudy, and unstable!

That’s nonsense—an old brewer’s myth, like the existence of hot-side aeration. The starches in the raw pumpkin seem to convert during the oven-roasting process, the ale is crystal clear, and the stability improves with age—the pumpkin ale I brew in the fall is still delicious the next summer.

I believe in freedom of choice. If you want to mash your pumpkin, continue to do so. All you’ll get for it is a few gravity points and probably a stuck mash. To maximize the pumpkin flavor and get a lovely orange-colored ale in the process, take a walk on the wild side and boil your pumpkin.

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Elysian Punkuccino Recipe

“A pumpkin ale with the attitude of a world-weary barista, Elysian Brewing Co.’s Punkuccino packs a short shot of coffee toddy with just a shake of cinnamon and nutmeg in your pint.”

ALL-GRAIN

OG: 1.056
FG: 1.018
IBUs: 20
ABV: 5%

MALT/GRAIN BILL

8 lb (3.6 kg) Pale malt (2-row)
9 oz (255 g) Brown malt
9 oz (255 g) Kiln Coffee malt
7.5 oz (213 g) English Dark Crystal malt (77°L)
4.5 oz (128 g) Biscuit malt
4.5 oz (128 g) Chocolate malt
2 lb (907 g) pumpkin

HOPS AND ADDITIONS SCHEDULE

0.75 oz (21 g) German Northern Brewer [8% AA] at 60 minutes
0.25 lb (113 g) lactose (milk sugar) at 10 minutes
2 lb (907 g) pumpkin at 10 minutes
2 lb (907 g) pumpkin in primary
¼ tsp nutmeg in secondary
1½ tsp cinnamon in secondary
12 fl oz (355 ml) cold-brewed coffee toddy in secondary

YEAST

Wyeast 1056 American Ale, White Labs WLP001 California Ale, or Fermentis Safale US-05

DIRECTIONS

Mash the grains and 2 pounds (907 g) of pumpkin for 60 minutes at 154°F (68°C). Boil for 60 minutes, following the schedule for hops, lactose, and more pumpkin. Whirlpool and chill, then ferment at 68°F (20°C). Add more pumpkin, spices, and coffee to secondary, then keg or bottle.

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Make Your Best Northern English Brown Ale

You may have noticed that it’s that time of year when a certain style of really-for-fall-but-it’s-already-out-beer is hitting the shelves. I won’t mention its name here because I know some of you have a visceral, burning reaction to it, and I’m not going to be telling you how to make one, but…if I did tell you how to make one, the base style I’d use is my Northern English Brown ale. So if you’re of a mind to take this beer and add…something to it, this guide is a good place to start!

Style

Northern English Brown ale (now sometimes referred to just as British Brown or English Brown) is not even a proper “brown” ale. My version, in fact, is lighter in color than my mild, and comes in more at a medium-amber! But the name indicates that it’s simply darker than your bitters, but not as dark as your porters. As a style, there’s a lot of room for interpretation here, and if you’re traveling around the British Isles you’ll find a wide range. What they have in common, though, is a fundamental drinkability (as most British beers do—even the old ales and barleywines).

It’s a beer that relies on malt character, but at the same time isn’t particularly malty: you should taste a good amount of medium-crystal flavor (caramel, toffee), but this is a beer you can drink by the (real) pint, and it should have a nice balancing bitterness to it. It should also (at least in my humble opinion) taste fairly “light,” both in terms of mouthfeel and alcohol. Despite being a darker beer, much like its cousin the mild, it typically has no more alcohol than an English bitter (at least at the heavier end of that style).

Ingredients

There’s good news: we’re back to a very straightforward recipe after some recent forays into complex-grist territory. The key to this beer is good-quality ingredients that shine through, which means that going overboard on a panoply of malts and hops might actually make your beer worse. Our grist will actually be composed of one of each class of malt:

  • Base: 8 lb (3.6 kg) of Maris Otter
  • Crystal: 1 lb (454 g) of British Medium Crystal (65L)
  • Chocolate: 0.25 lb (113 g) of British Pale Chocolate (220L)

And that’s it. Some like to add flaked maize, torrified wheat (fun note: autocorrect twice changed that to “terrified” wheat), or flaked barley to smooth out the texture, and that’s fine. If I happen to have some flaked barley on hand (as I often do, to promote head formation and retention, especially in higher-alcohol beers) a half pound (227 g) might find its way into the mash. The important thing about this grist, though, is that you end up with a predominately caramel/bread flavor profile, with a touch of toffee and some slight drying roast, all for about 48 gravity points that yield an ABV of about 4.8 percent. If you notice a coffee flavor in the finished beer, increase your crystal malt addition and back off your roast addition until it goes away! But this ratio works well for me.

Hopping is, likewise, pretty simple. One ounce (28 g) of East Kent Goldings at 60 minutes will impart about 25 IBUs, and an ounce (28 g) of Fuggles at flame-out will give you that great, earthy, “I love the smell of England in the morning” aroma.

And for yeast, I prefer Wyeast 1028 (London Ale). It’s one more backstop against an overly sweet beer, since the mineral finish it imparts is a marked contrast to the more richly malted flavors left behind by my normal go-to British yeast (Wyeast 1318, London Ale III). I once ran these side-by-side using this very recipe, and the result from the 1318 was a beer that had a flavor that was more raisin than toffee, despite the absence of any darker crystal malts. Yeast cells are amazing, folks…

Process

Nothing too special in the fermentation here, except the usual caveat to start relatively low in the ale temperature range (I like 65°F/18°C) and increase throughout fermentation to promote attenuation and hold off/clean up diacetyl. Your yeast (if you’re using the 1028) is a great attenuator and isn’t particularly prone to diacetyl, but it’s still good practice.

And resist the urge to overcarbonate this beer. It’s terrific at cask pressure (about one volume of CO2), and increasing it to the “usual” 2–2.5 will probably result in a beer that tastes a little stark and Spartan. At lower carbonation, however, the malt flavors are wonderfully delicate, and your guests will pack this away by the dimpled mugful.

In Closing

So…if you wanted to make this beer into a beer-that-shall-not-be-named-while-it’s-still-technically-summer, you absolutely can. I like to cut and roast my…gourd material and add it to the mash, then add my…other ground-up special ingredients post-fermentation, to taste. Use a light hand with both and you’ll get a beer that is reminiscent of the season without overpowering anyone! In fact, they’ll wonder if you’ve really made a…seasonal squash-based fermented beverage at all.

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Excellent Pumpkin Ale Recipe

 ALL-GRAIN

Batch Measurement: 6 gallons (22.7 liters)
Brewhouse effectivity: 75%
OG: 1.063
FG: 1.018
IBUs: 19
ABV: 5.9%
 

MALT/GRAIN BILL

7 lb (three.18 kg) Maris Otter
three lb (1.36 kg) Mild Munich
2 lb (907 g) Fragrant malt
14 oz (400 g) Caramunich malt

ADJUNCT, HOPS, AND SPICE SCHEDULE

eight oz (230 g) darkish brown sugar at 90 minutes
5 lb (2.27 kg) pumpkin or butternut squash (see preparation under) at 90 minutes
zero.55 oz (16 g) Northern Brewer hops (pellet) at 60 minutes
5 tsp floor Saigon cinnamon at 5 minutes
1 tsp recent floor nutmeg at 5 minutes
1 tsp recent floor ginger (or 1 tsp dry) at 5 minutes
three tsp vanilla extract at secondary

PUMPKIN PREPARATION

It is advisable to put together the pumpkin a couple of days upfront of the brew day. Utilizing a big knife, halve the pumpkin, take away the seeds, and minimize the halves into items about 6 inches (15 cm) lengthy. Cowl some cookie sheets with aluminum foil, prepare the pumpkin items on the cookie sheets, and sprinkle them liberally with brown sugar. Roast within the oven at 375°F (190°C) till comfortable. This normally takes two to a few hours. Throughout roasting, the brown sugar will soften and caramelize onto the pumpkin, offering further taste. Take away the pumpkin from the oven and let cool. Then peel off the pumpkin pores and skin, cube the flesh into giant cubes (being positive to avoid wasting the juice for its colour and taste), and retailer in a lined bowl within the fridge. On brew day, let the pumpkin heat to room temperature and put it within the kettle at some point of the boil. (As an apart, for many who are into sustainable brewing, the boiled pumpkin flesh makes glorious pies.) To keep away from a multitude within the kettle and clogged valves or siphons, put the pumpkin into both a big fine-mesh bag designed for fruit or a hop spider geared up with a paint-straining bag.

YEAST

White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast—1.5 liter starter

DIRECTIONS

Mash at 155°F (68°C) for 60 minutes. Boil 90 minutes, following the schedule for including adjuncts, hops, and spices. If wanted, add extra spices within the type of a hot “tea” throughout secondary conditioning.

PARTIAL-MASH VERSION

Substitute 7 lb, 10 oz (three.46 kg) of Maris Otter liquid extract and a pair of lb (907 g) of Munich liquid extract for the bottom grains. Steep the specialty grains for 20 minutes at about 155°F (68°C).

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