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Brewing Pumpkin Beer

If you haven’t started your pumpkin beer brew by now, you won’t make it by Halloween.  But, it doesn’t matter.  Pumpkin beer is good all year around.  You can definitely have a batch of pumpkin beer ready by Thanksgiving.  So, let’s get started!

This set of steps is from my first batch of pumpkin ever.  It’s a fairly new concept for me, so I had to really do some research to find the right stuff. It was a little difficult at first to decide on what types of extracts, malts and hops would go best with pumpkin flavor.  Also, I have heard that some pumpkin ales have come out with a slight pumpkin taste while others come out syrupy oozing with pumpkin flavor.  I prefer more toward the former.

So, the recipe I finally decided to use would combine cinnamon and nutmeg with an actual pumpkin. I had some other ideas, but I kept going back and forth.  So, I decided to go strong with the pumpkin and play down everything else.

My other ingredients:
- 1 lbs. Wheat Dry Malt Extract
- 6 lbs. Crisp Amber Malt
- 1 ounce of Warrior Leaf Hops (I don’t know!  It just hit me in the right spot.)

I started by cutting the pumpkin in half and gutting out both sides.  Then, I cut pumpkin squares and everything I read about pumpkin ale told me that 4 lbs. would work.  So, I baked them in the oven until they were soft.  Then, I cut the pumpkin away from the shell and I was done with that.

I added the pumpkin during the mash. I’ve heard you can do it in the primary and the secondary as well.  But, I added mine first while I soaked my malt in 2.5 gallons of water at 155 degrees for about 45 minutes.

I took the malt out and dunked it a few times while I let the mash cool. Then, I placed it on a strainer above the mash while I reheated the kettle to about 165 degrees. I slowly poured about 3 quarts of water over the malt. After the malt drained, I brought the mash to a boil. Then, I removed it from the heat and added extract. I stirred until it was completely dissolved and then brought it back to a boil again. I added a .5 ounce of hops and then waited 45 minutes to add the rest.  After 50 minutes, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of nutmeg. Then, I let it go for an hour.

When I removed it from the heat, I used my coil cooler to bring the temperature down to 75 degrees as fast as possible.  I poured my wort into a demijohn and added water to make 5 gallons. My gravity reading was 1.053, which is really good.  Better than what I expected. I was thinking about my final gravity reading and hoping that it would be lower than expected.  But, I can dream right?

Some people like to kick the fermentation off with a starter or by “Smacking” it with yeast fuel.  But, I let mine start fermenting on its own. Once it began, it was pretty lively.  My final gravity measured at 1.009, which made for a 5.76 ABV.  That’s right, it had a kick!

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