Brew Day.

I setup in the garage and got brewing this past Sunday. It felt nice getting back into the swing a things, and my good bud Chris participated in the festivities with me.

It was fairly cool, around 45’F and a brisk wind so we fired up the fire pit and set the burner up just inside the garage. You had to be on top of the fire pit, or against the propane burner in order to not get the chills, so we migrated between the two all afternoon.


I brewed up exactly what was mentioned in the previous post, a Spiced Pumpkin Ale and some Hard Cider. I got the ingredients from Austin Homebrew Supply, and went with a partial mash method for the Ale this time. If your new to brewing, a partial mash is when you convert the starches in the grains to fermentable sugars by way of soaking the grains in 160’F water for 45min. Toughest part is holding a steady temp over the entire time period, It did fairly well. I used a igloo water cooler to achieve this, but I should of taken it inside where it was warmer.


I had one boil over, it was really unexpected but as everyone knows they come on really quickly and with so much steam I really didn’t notice until Chris sounded the alarm. After carefully manning the propane valve, and having to cut the flame a few times it got into a rolling boil and calmed down.

So the hour started, and after the bittering hop addition I decided to start dumping in canned pumpkin. I was really hung up on what to do with the pumpkin. I talked to a handful of brewers on the homebrewtalk forums and got a dozen different suggestions. Most people said the pumpkin would add very little if any flavor. And that people associate the taste of pumpkin pie with the spices used for it. Which makes sense, however I know some examples of pumpkin beer seem to have an actual “pumpkin flavor” outside of the spice realm. And that was sorta confirmed by the other half of members stating that they added it and it did in fact make a difference. But now came the trickier part, when to actually add it?

I was told to either put it in the mash, in the boil or in the secondary. Each method supposedly had positive results according to the brewer. I went ahead and made a few additions during the boil, if only to help break it down. I might lose some flavor over the secondary, but this seemed to be the easiest method.

I ended up tossing in 3 cans around the 10 minute mark and another 2 at the 45 minute mark when the flavor hops got added. I used about 6lbs total and I’m hoping I get something out of it besides sludge in the primary.




After it was all said in done I did run into a problem, I did not account for how much volume the 6lbs of pumpkin would add. I ended up topping my carboy and had to dump a bit out to give the krausen room to grow. Since it was late I used an airlock but I will change that out for a blow off tube tonight.

The other thing I mixed up was some Apple Cider, if you don’t press your own apples this stuff can be very easy to make. You only need two ingredients, pasteurized apple juice or cider and yeast. The only preservative that’s acceptable is ascorbic acid (vitamin C). You can use a wide variety of yeasts, each turning the simple apple juice into something special. You can turn it into a dry wine like drink, along the lines of a tradition German Apfelwein. Or you can run the lines of something much sweeter and fruity. I went with the Wyeast Weihenstephan Weizen 3068 yeast. It will give me a sweeter more fruity profile, and should appeal to everyone I know.


Side Note:

I picked up the Samuel Adams Winter Classic Mix Pack for the brew day. Every brew was enjoyable, especially being out in the cold. I think Chris will agree the Cranberry Lambic was one of the better ones. I am not a huge fan of Cranberry anything, but it had a nice balance to it. After that that I would say the Winter Lager came in second. Chris brought over a flask of Wild Turkey American Honey and we has some rounds of that as well. I am not a huge hard liquor fan, but it was very smooth!

Up Next:

Barley Wine – Stay Tuned


2 Responses to “Brew Day.”

  1. Though chilly, it was a great day. I am here to spread the goodness that is American Honey. Huzzah!
    But, on a serious note, saw this article and thought it was appropriate:

    If only the first one on the list weren’t like $100 or so.

  2. Sam Adams Utopia is a hard one to find, they have them on ebay sometimes but they run well over 200 a bottle. I would love to try it!

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