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Friday, October 5, 2012

Brewing Beer as a Holiday Gift

I know what you are thinking... how can I possibly think about the holidays when it's the beginning of October!? Well, friends, if you want to brew some beer for your friends, you are going to want to start thinking about it. On average, it takes approximately 6 - 8 weeks for a beer to properly ferment, carbonate, and do it's general "beer thing." That means we should start brewing in mid-October to make Christmas.

This year I'm testing out a recipe for a spiced pumpkin ale. I'm starting by making a one gallon batch to test it out. The pumpkin beer recipe is below. It's a simple homebrew recipe, and great holiday beer to share as a beer gift, or just for your own celebrations.

  • 1 lb. 2 Row Malt
  • 8 oz. 2 Row Pale Ale
  • 8 oz. Crystal 60L
  • 0.25 oz Northern Brewer Hops (@45 minutes)
  • 0.50 oz Northern Brewer Hops (@5 minutes)
  • 1/2 Package of Muntons Dry Yeast
  • 2 lbs. Pumpkin (pie pumpkins are preferred, but a regular ole Jack O' Lantern works, too)
  • Spices: 2 cinnamon sticks, several whole cloves of garlic, fresh ginger (peel the ginger and slice it), whole all spice, 2 teaspoons dry nutmeg (@30 minutes)
    • Place all the spices in a teabag or, as I did, just use a grain bag (since the spices do not go in until after the grains come out, I just dumped the grains from my bag and reused it for the wort) 

To begin this homebrew recipe, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Peel the pumpkin using a pairing knife or vegetable peeler. Cut in half and clean out the guts. Chop roughly into 2 inch squares, place on the lightly greased baking pan, drizzle with oil, and roast until it's fork tender, but not mushy.

While the pumpkin is roasting, heat 3 quarts of water to 170 degrees.

Place the grains and the cooked pumpkin in two separate grain bags. When the water is at 170 degrees steep both together for 45 minutes, keeping the water temp between 145 - 155 degrees. Stir every fifteen minutes.

While grains and pumpkin steeps, heat 1 gallon of water in another pot to 160 degrees. After 45 minutes of steeping, take the grains and pumpkin out of the pot and rinse the grains with the 1 gallon of water (I placed a metal strainer over my pot and used that for sparing).

Boil wort for 45 minutes, adding hops and spices according to schedule above. At this point you can add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar or molasses, but this is entirely optional. I didn't use it this time (and didn't list ingredients above), but have read several recipes that do add sugar during the wort process.

After 45 minutes, take off the heat and cool to 70 - 80 degrees using a ice bath or a wort chiller. Pour cooled wort into a sanitized one gallon jug, adding more water if necessary. Place cap on top and shake to aerate. Take cap off, pitch yeast. Top with water, if necessary, and place stopper with blow off tube at top.

Let ferment for two weeks (don't worry about second fermentation) and bottle. No need to use corn sugar for carbonation, it will be fine as is.

Enjoy, and let us know if you try it at home or have your own recipe!


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1 comment:

  1. The recipe my dad and I came up with is close to yours. We used Sterling and Magnum Hops instead. Used Crystal, but decided to include Biscuit after planning on going with Two Row. Only steeped the grain for 20 minutes in fear of having the beer come out too dark. As of now, she sits at a deep brown with reddish highlights. Interested in seeing how yours comes out.