Pumpkin Ale in the Making?

About a month ago I embarked on a quest to make an ale that would go well with the upcoming seasons. I have always been a fan of Pumpkin Ales and being falltime I figured why not. I searched recipes and decided I didn’t want to spend a significant amount of money because I had no idea how it might turn out. I decided on a Cooper’s Real Ale extract kit. Seemed simple enough so I set to work.

I boiled about 3 gallons of water and mixed in a 15oz. can of Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mix…what the hell was I thinking? After the can was mixed in, the aroma of pumpkin was in the air and I felt like this would be a success. With all going well I mixed in the Cooper’s Real Ale extract kit which comes pre-hopped, therefore requiring no additional hops. The side of the can instructed me to mix in 1000 grams of sugar…1000 grams? This took a while for me to figure out and the only sugar about was the brown kind. So I mixed it in.

After cooling I added the yeast and closed up the fermenter. It was now time to wait. I had a great feeling about this beer until I went home that night and read up on adding too much sugar to beer. It will give it a cidery flavor.I started to worry that I had wasted money on this batch but figured if it was indeed going to be cidery that I could at least counter it with the addition of hop pellets. This method, of adding hops to the wort in the fermenter, is known as dry hopping. Sounded simple.

A few days after adding the yeast I went to the local homebrew store in Alpena and purchased 1 oz. of Cascade hops. I added the hops and let in mingle in with the wort for a few days before checking on it. When I did the aroma of sweet hops hit my nose and I was immediately relieved. It would be time to bottle soon and I couldn’t help but think of what a great tasting brew this would turn out to be.

Bottling came and went…again I had to wait for the priming sugar to carbonate the Pumpkin Ale.  After two weeks I decided it was time to try one…I did. I would not write this article until about three weeks after I tried that first ale…


Extract Pilsner

Most people can find some inspiration in watching The 3 Stooges, if you are normal. So its no surprise that after watching some “Stooges” we were inspired to make a batch of “Panther Pilsner”, like they did in one episode. Although I hope we have a somewhat better result.

Scott and I set up on a saturday night with my new electric kettle and all our other equipment. A mix of both liquid malt extract and dry malt extract and 2 packages of hops. This wasn’t a recipe just us flying by the seat of our pants.

Our plan was a simple 60 minute boil with fairly simple hops additions. We started with adding 2 lbs of the Northwestern golden dry malt, and following that with a 3.3lb can of Briess Pilsen liquid malt extract. Once that reached a boil we added 1 oz. of saaz hops. That was then followed by 2 .5 oz. additions of Gelena hops at the 30 minute and then again with 5 minutes to go.

After cool down the beer was transferred to the primary fermenter bucket. I then drew off a sample to test the gravity, which was right about what I hoped for at 1.040 specific gravity. That should leave us a beer at right around 5% alcohol, anything less and it aint worth drinking;)

Although this wasn’t from any specific recipe, It is similar to many other pilsner recipes. I was a bit dissapointed though, my color was quite a bit darker then I had hoped. Traditionally pilsners are quite light in color, yet ours came out with a bit of a red hue to it. I attribute this in part to the dark color of the Liquid malt extract.

We shall ride this one out and hopefully it will end up with a tasty flavor. Overall in this beer I’m just looking for an easy drinker that even my heathen, “I don’t like dark beer” friends can enjoy.