Batch #12-09: Pumpkin Ale

Style Pumpkin Ale
Ingredients View Here
Brewing Date: Friday, November 6, 2009
Primary Fermentation: Friday, November 6, 2009
Original Gravity: 1.046
Secondary Fermentation: Sunday, November 15, 2009
Interim Gravity: 1.012
Bottling Date: Saturday, November 28, 2009
Final Gravity: 1.012
Release Date: Wednesday: December 30, 2009
Alcohol by volume: 4.5% (secondary) / 5.0% (final)
Brand: Master-Yeast Theatre
Release Name: Cinderella and the Post-Midnight Carriage

This will be a Christmas batch made from raw ingredients, and a recipe kit.  The recipe is supposedly one from Thomas Jefferson himself: one of several Founding Fathers in America who brewed beer.

In case you haven’t associated the release name to Pumpkin Ale, here’s my stream of consciousness: Right now (2009), C.A.R.S. (Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save, but more colloquially known to the public as Car Allowance Rebate System) is a popular program for people buying new cars.  Well, it’s after midnight and, thanks to violating a fairy godmother’s restriction, Cinderella needs new wheels.  So she is taking part in the equivalent program in her World: B.R.E.W.  (Beer Recycled from Edible Wagons).

She gets a new carriage at a discount: you get to drink what’s left of the old one.


06 Nov 8:00PM :: This was a long brew cycle, finally shutting down at 1:30AM.  It started with caramelizing the pumpkin for an hour and 15 minutes, followed by the mash with the grains for an hour.  Straining with the colander was a mess!  The pumpkin and the grains together was a large quantity: about 2.5x the amount the colander would hold.  Somehow I managed to apply some strain-a-little, sparge-a-little cycles and made it work.

I had no problems with boil over like I had in the previous batch.  At the end of the boil, I cooled the pot in an ice bath and this time used ice in the sink.  Wow, that made the sink get really cold. After 20 minutes, the temperature in the pot had dropped to 115 degrees and the sink water was about room temperature.  I then poured the wort into the fermentation bucket, where there was one gallon of cold water.  I then topped off the fermentation bucket to 5.5 gallons with cold water, took the hydrometer reading, and pitched the Wyeast which was started about 40 hours earlier.  I sealed the bucket and put in its usual spot.  The high hydrometer reading doesn’t surprise me: I’m sure the amount of caramelized pumpkin in the mash left a lot of sugars behind.

After I walked away from the bucket, I realized I forgot to measure the temperature of the wort in the bucket before pitching the yeast.  I went back and noticed the side of the bucket was only warm, so I estimated it was easily under 90 degrees.

Since I have another batch I plan to brew on Monday, and I have a carboy for the secondary fermentation of this batch, the fermentation bucket is actually the bottling bucket, with the spigot in place.  This will allow me to ferment the next batch in the fermentation bucket (no spigot), and the bottling bucket will become free when the pumpkin ale is transferred to the secondary (carboy).

This batch has a nice scent of holiday spicing to it.  I’m looking forward to the final product.

07 Nov 10:00AM :: barely 8 hours after pitching, and the yeast is bubbling very strong at 10 second intervals.

07 Nov 7:00PM :: the yeast is very active.  Bubbling cycles are less than 1 second, with large bursts.  Properly done yeast starters are nice.  🙂

08 Nov 7:00PM :: Bubbling cycles are still strong, at 1 second intervals.

10 Nov 7:30AM :: Bubbling cycles are almost at 1 minutes intervals (48 seconds).  May be able to rack to secondary tonight.

15 Nov 2:00PM :: The bubbling cycles went under 1 minute on 11 Nov, I but couldn’t find time to rack the beer to the secondary until today.  Gravity reading was 1.012, and the aroma and flavor are both excellent.  I plan to bottle this one after 48 hours, on Tuesday night.  The large difference in OG and IG indicates this beer will be at 5.0% or more ABV: the strongest alcohol content yet.

28 Nov 8:00PM :: Finally found time to bottle the beer.  The beer is very smooth, after the time in the secondary fermentation.  Produced: 1x 34oz Ikea snap-on, 3x 24oz, 2x 20oz snap on, 6x 16oz PET, 1x 20oz, and 30x 12oz bottles.

7 Dec 10:00PM :: Cracked open a bottle to try it.  The pour produced a very smooth, and almost pure white head.  It has a very good orange color.  The taste is good, and the strength of the pumpkin taste is about right. This beer has an aftertaste similar to Anchor Stream Beer.  It is obvious that this brew has strong alcohol content, from the odor and taste.  I like it, but the alcohol aroma is strong.

16 Dec 8:00PM :: Opened another bottle.  The flavors are melding a little more than the last bottle.  I actually tried this beer with a slice of Domino’s pizza, which didn’t seem like a good fit.  Suprisingly, it was not bad at all with pizza.

30 Dec 6:00PM :: Received good feedback on this beer, and particulary from people who know pumpkin ale.  That was comforting.  Overall, pumpkin ale is not one of my preferred beers, but I like the result and can now appreciate the work that goes into specialty brewing.

This has been fun with three quick batches for the holidays.  Merry Christmas