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…