Like most homebrewers that use propane, I brew outside. As the days get colder and shorter this gets less comfortable. November 9, 2013 was a pleasant exception to this. It was cloudy and breezy but was in the 50s so it was a perfect day to set up some chairs in a garage in Byron Center and make some beer.
I had decided earlier in the week that I wanted to brew my Black Pumpkin Ale. This is a beer that I try to make once or twice every fall. You start out by roasting two bowling ball sized pie pumpkins. I describe how to prepare them in my article Pumpkin Preparation for a Pumpkin Ale.
Here is the rest of the recipe for a five gallon batch:
11.5 lbs Maris Otter
1.25 lbs 60L Crystal
0.5 lbs Black Malt
0.5 lbs Chocolate Malt – Not the pale stuff. This beer is dark.
I like to mash this beer hot to get lots of body.
Mash Temp: 157F
4 Cinnamon Sticks 60
3 Whole Nutmegs (Crushed slightly) 60
6 Whole Allspice (Crushed Slightly) 60
1 Teaspoon Whole Cloves 60
1 Oz Cascade Hops 60
1 Oz Cascade Hops 0
With my equipment the original gravity usually ends up around 1.065 plus or minus a point or two and finishes around 1.015.
What I really love about this beer is that the spices are present, but they aren’t over done. Also as the beer warms, each sip tastes and smells a little different. A friend of mine described it as a “Journey in a Glass.” It’s a favorite of both beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike.
This ended up being a pretty typical brew day. The one item of note is that I had my first stuck sparge in seven years of all grain brewing. This was because I left a piece of my manifold at home (actually I may have left it in a pile of grain in Grand Ledge) and it was apparently more necessary than I’d hoped.
Next up is our annual Black Friday brew day.