Batch #3-15 (Pumpkin Ale)

Style Pumpkin Ale
Ingredients Heart’s Home Brew Recipe
Brewing Date: Thursday, Oct 29, 2015
Primary Fermentation: Thursday, Oct 29, 2015
Original Gravity: 1.042
Secondary Fermentation: Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015
Interim Gravity: 1.016
Bottling Date: Tentative: Thursday, Nov 19, 2015
Final Gravity: 1.012
Release Date: Friday, Dec 18, 2015
Alcohol by volume: 3.9% ABV
Final Release Name: Carriage Return

A repeat of the favorite recipe for this time of year, based in Thomas Jefferson’s original recipe.

Thursday, Oct 29 @ 6:00PM: Brewed the beer with nothing different than previous batches.  Added a yeast starter made 20 hours earlier.

Friday, Oct 30 @ 9:00AM: Checked the airlock and saw zero indication of activity.  It occurred to me that I had not measured the temperature before pitching the yeast.  Oops.  So I poured in a backup packet of dry yeast through the airlock opening.  As of 11:00AM, there is now sign of fermentation.

Monday Nov 2 @ 9:00AM: The airlock is only showing signs of pressure, and bubbles only once per minute.  I was out of town over the weekend, so I am not sure whether there was a fermentation rush or not. I have seen one previously, where the airlock went almost non-stop for two days, then the bubbling quickly subsided to one burst per minute. I am hoping, for economic reasons that this is the case, or the batch is in jeopardy.

Friday, Nov 6 @ 9:00AM: For the past 5 days, the fermentation has not shown any sign of change.  I have decided to let it ferment through Monday, and then transfer it to secondary fermentation.  I will use a gravity reading to determine if the fermentation occurred.  It should have lost .020 or more if fermentation occurred properly.

Wednesday, Nov 11 @ 2:00PM: After giving the batch an extra or day to maximize the primary fermentation, I prepared to transfer the batch to the secondary fermentation.  I used another white plastic fermentation bucket, not the clear fermentation container I normally use.  There was slightly over 5 gallons in the fermentation bucket, and the clear one can hold a maximum of 5.  The great news was the IG reading I took after opening the lid of the primary fermenation bucket.  No sign of any infection or other potential problem, and the IG reading was 1.016, or .026 below the OG reading.  It fermented properly, and I was relieved.  I would normally let the wort sit in secondary fermentation, but I will shorten that to one week due to the extra time in primary fermentation, and because the wort is already clearer than it normally would be.  The clarity is the primary reason for secondary fermentation.

Thursday, Nov 19 @ 7:30PM: The final gravity was .004 lower than the interim gravity, and the wort has a very smooth taste.  The taste is slightly different than normal, probably because of the addition of the emergency yeast packet during fermentation.  It still has a good taste.  Yield was: 3x 64oz growlers, 2x 32oz  growlers, 1x 22oz snaptop, 1x 20oz snaptop, 7x 20oz crown cap, 1x 12oz snaptop and 12x 12oz snap top.  The usual wort for bottling was about 4.75 gallons.  Conditioning was using 1/4 oz of dry corn sugar per 12 oz in each bottle.

Wed, Dec 2 @ 10:00PM: Opened a bottle to sample progress and was disappointed to see only a minor amount of carbonation.  Considering the problems I had with initial fermentation, I shouldn’t be too surprised.  The flavor is good, but slightly different than previous batches.  I am sure this is from the additional yeast I added to ensure fermentation.

Sun, Dec 14 @ 9:00PM: Opened another bottle and it also had only minor carbonation.  So this batch is one of the more disappointing batches.  The taste is good enough, even though I will miss the proper head being on the beer.

Sat Apr 16: I had another bottle at the 4 month point, and the taste has smoothed out a little. It is not getting richer like other batches of pumpkin ale have in the past.  I’m not sure if this is related to the yeast problems or not.