Batch #10-10: Pumpkin Ale

Style Thomas Jefferson’s Pumpkin Ale (Recipe)
Ingredients View Here
Brewing Date: Monday, November 15, 2010
Primary Fermentation: Monday, November 15, 2010
Original Gravity: 1.050 @ 77 F  (1.0521)
Secondary Fermentation: Sunday, November 28, 2010
Interim Gravity: 1.012 @ 72 F (1.0133)  5.1%
Bottling Date: Friday, December 3, 2010
Final Gravity: 1.012 @ 72F (1.0133) 5.1%
Release Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Alcohol by volume: 5.6%
Brand: Master-Yeast Theater
Release Name: Carriage Return

Release scheduled for Christmas week.  This will be similar to last year’s recipe, except with some extra dextrose to up the alcohol content.  I’m shooting for about 7% this year.


A near perfect brewing session, except… I added the aroma hops about 15 minutes too early.  I’m not sure how I lost track of time for that, but I don’t think the impact will be bad.  I watched the temperature carefully on this batch, and avoided any chance of a boil over.  In fact, I like how consistent the boil was on this batch.

I varied slightly from the recipe in two ways.  First, I did not add any ginger.  This does add a bit of bite to the beer, and I decided I wanted to remove that for this batch.  Second, I added two cups of corn sugar at 30 minutes into the boil to boost the mono-saccharides for the yeast.  The wort tasted smooth, and is very sweet.  I am very pleased with the OG for this batch.  The yeast starter was at 48 hours when pitched, and it was 77 degrees in the bucket.  The yeast should take hold quickly in this batch.

Fermentation is again with wick cooling.

28 Nov 2010 @ 11:30PM — I moved the batch to secondary about 5 days later than planned.  The brew has a dark orange-reddish color and is very smooth, yet it has very little floral aftertaste.  This is probably the effect of mistakenly putting in the aroma hops 15 minutes too early.  Still, I really like the overall taste.  Not adding the ginger to the batch has taken a lot of bite out of the palate.

And the alcohol measurement after primary is 6.4%.  This is an achievement for me: the highest ABV yet, and well on target for my 7% goal.  One thing I did do for this batch is use a delta offset for the temperature of the wort at the time I took hydrometer readings.  The information I use for the offset is here.  I also added 16oz of corn sugar boiled in water to the secondary fermentor, which should easily push this batch above 7% after conditioning (allowing 0.5% added during the conditioning).

This is a strong batch: I got a wine-style buzz after trying only half a glass.  I am pleased with the taste as well as the alcohol content.  I’m looking forward to see how this comes out after conditioning.

02 Dec 2010 @ 11:45PM — I looked at my math and it looked suspicious.  Sure enough, it’s not 6.4% but 5.1%.  I must have entered a digit wrong in the calculator somehow.  Still, that would be 5.6% after conditioning, so it is still the strongest batch I have made so far.

03 Dec 2010 @ 7:45PM — Bottling yielded 50x 12oz, and 1x 34oz Ikea snap top.  The wort is very clear, and very smooth.  There is very little hop aftertaste, and it takes a lot like English bitter made from pumpkin.  I really like the taste of this year’s pumpkin ale, compared to last year.

06 Dec 2010 @ 8:30PM — Opened the first bottle to check conditioning and taste.  The head is starting to  form, but is thin at the moment.  Taste… wow!  This has to be the smoothest beer I have produced yet.  Flavors are very well balanced.  Putting in the aroma hops 15 minutes too early was a blessing in disguise.  It has the bitterness, and a very slight aroma.  This works very well with the pumpkin flavoring.  I am impressed already.  This bottle was chilled 2 hours in the fridge before opening.

23 Dec — The taste got even better with the next two weeks in conditioning. This beer was different from the batch last year, but was very well received by everyone I shared it with.