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All posts for the month November, 2013

So after two short weeks, my first batch of Concussion Red is kegged and on it’s way to carbonated bliss.  I have to say, after some larger than usual samples of the freshly fermented goodness, this beer turned out great.  It’s a little stronger than my normal session beer at 5.8% ABV.  And with winter coming, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Of course, this winter won’t have the usual snow shoveling and random surprise ice skating episodes off the front porch.  But , the thought of a snowless winter is welcoming, and lends itself to hospitable conditions to brew throughout the season.

I have worked a little on this site and updated some long overdue recipes.  You can check out the recipes page and steal whatever you like from there.  If you have any specific questions, you can either leave a comment or email me here at the site.  Most of the recipes are self explanatory and make great use of Beersmith to reduce my coding workload.  In fact, it’s a great program to take all the boring number crunching and thought out of most of the brew process.  If you are like me, and are in it for cheap beer and don’t want to worry about math equations to figure out how much water to mash in, this program is for you.  Of course, if you are into all the science behind brewing, this program will only help you geek out even more.  So all in all, it’s a great program to have.

I thought that may have caught a few peoples attention.  Well as we all know, blumpkins are a year-round favorite, fall is for everything pumpkin.  And with that, my second brew in Florida is my annual running of Blumpkin Pumpkin Ale.  And with this mid-November day sitting at a beautiful sunny 75 degrees, who can argue that this day was meant for making homebrew.

I missed an entry with my last batch of Concussion Red.  But with the move, figuring out my new location, and how things were going to be setup, I didn’t want to get too involved with things outside of the actual brew process.  So with that, I have one brew day under my belt at the new house in Florida, and things went very well and actually turned out to be a little easier than the old house.

As I mentioned before, it’s around mid-November and well within limits of being called shorts weather.  The days of the brew-a-geddon in 20 degree weather may very well be behind me and I’m looking forward to almost all-year round brewing.  The next summer may prove to be too-much, but we’ll see how that goes when we get there.

Now on to the topic for today, my (yes, another version) version of a Pumpkin Ale.  So, for all intents and purposes, I really could care less for the pumpkin aspect of the beer.  Yes, there is pumpkin in it, and yes it does contribute to the flavor, but I am more interested in the pumpkin pie spice associated with the smells and tastes of Fall.  My reason for trying my hand at a pumpkin ale was to reduce the overbearing hops and pumpkin pie spice flavors and smells associated with commercial varieties of this style of beer.  I wanted a good ale with subtle qualities that come through as the beer warms from 50-ish degrees to the end of the glass around room temperature.  My last iteration almost nailed this profile on the mark, and I have increased the spice just a little to accomplish my goal.  I found, for my taste, 4tsp of pumpkin pie spice is the perfect balance to a nice malty stronger ale.

With this 10 gallon recipe, I decided to take a chance with two types of yeast.  This was mostly influenced by the lack of selection at my local homebrew store.  But I figured it would be a nice experiment that won’t affect the overall outcome too much.  Instead of using my usual English Ale (WLP002), I have chosen to ferment the first 5 gallons with European Ale (WLP011).  The attenuation is similar to the english ale strain, but will produce a minimal amount of esters comparatively.  The second experiment will just deviate companies using the London Ale (1028) string from Wyeast.

I guess I can’t go on and on about everything in the beer without mentioning the base of a Pumpkin Ale.  As I mentioned, using pumpkin is just simply a technicality for calling it a pumpkin ale.  But, with the addition of 2 pounds of pumpkin puree, it needs to be mentioned.  With this much puree, there will be a considerable taste associated, and more importantly, more fermentation to add to the already rising alcohol percentage.  I decided to use puree for two reasons.  First, it’s ways easier than digging several pounds of pumpkin guts out of it’s host.  And second, I think it blends into the flavor profile without being too overbearing.  Make sure you get a puree that does not have any spice or added sugar as this could lead to off flavors and higher than normal alcohol production.

All in all, this looks to be a great fall season with a nice warming ale that will leave all happy and a little redder in the cheeks.

 

Until next brew day,

Tony