New Homebrew – The Great Pumpkin Ale
After being swamped by bartending work for so long, I finally got back to my homebrew biz two weeks ago and created this awesome spiced ale concoction. I got the recipe and ingredients from adventuresinhomebrewing.com thanks to a Twitter tip from @homebrewfinds. I always check that feed and a few others for sweet equipment deals if I have extra brewery cash lying around (which I seldom do) but when looking to brew a pumpkin beer this couldn’t have come at a better time!
Not to mention the warehouse sent me all the ingredients, with specialty grains pre-milled, in a vacuum-sealed package for freshness. My hop pellets were in good condition, my grains smelled amazing, and the spices were just as appetizing. My only concern was the yeast I ordered, WLP002 English Ale, was inactive after 2 days. I don’t know if it was expired, improperly shipped, or if it was my error in not waiting for the yeast to activate at a lower temperature than I usually brew at, but I supplemented the yeast with a vial of WLP051 California V.
One adjustment I made to the recipe, which I am quite proud of, is the addition of roasted pumpkin. Now, popular commercial pumpkin beers, in my humble opinion, gain a lot of popularity by being heavy on the Thanksgiving spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. This personally gives me the experience of a light spicy beer that tastes almost too sweet. I can have one Southern Tier Pumpking, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, or Harpoon Pumpkin UFO before I have to call it quits. It’s just my palate, I’m sure, because these were huge sellers across the bartop (albeit 75% of the time with cinnamon sugar rim… the most unmanly of all beer garnishes). But I’m a homebrewer goddamit, and I brew beers that I want to drink. So I did.
Adding real pumpkin versus pumpkin puree is a hotly debated topic for all those pumpkin purists out there. Brewers sit in both camps. I just wanted to supplement the spicy recipe I received in the ingredients kit with my own little sumpin’ supmin’. And I can assure you – it’s definitely one of the best beers I’ve made so far. I’m considering submitting it into a Sam Adams contest.
Here’s the recipe. Once I pull it off my new kegerator for the first time (what?! he got what?! To come in a in a later post…) I’ll post a little review of it.
On a different note, I like the fermentation quality on this beer so much that I’m thinking of using this blend of WLP002 and WLP051 as a house yeast for a while. I’m going to try my next brews with this yeast and see how it works. For now, I’m pulling the yeast cake and saving that shiz in the fridge.