It’s that time of year again.
The leaves have started to turn ever-so-slightly brown, the geese are beginning to muster for their annual flight south, and the second corn crop is about ready to be hauled in.
Most importantly, the pumpkin harvest is about to begin.
I just went to the brew store last night on my way home from work and dropped $120 on ingredients to make two batches of my pumpkin spice ale. I still need to acquire some pumpkin pureé and make sure I have all the spices, but this weekend shall be filled with beer making. I’m going to be making a few changes this year to the recipe, however.
First, I’m going to have some help brewing (Yes, I know this isn’t really a change per se. Quiet, you). A friend of mine has expressed interest in learning to brew, and my cousin who lives in the area will be helping as well. With any luck this will enable us to get two batches made in the time it normally takes me to do one by myself.
Second, I’m going to be changing the recipe up a bit. Nothing major, like changing the malt bill or hop schedule, just a slight change to the spices I put in the secondary fermenter. After a few of my friends complained about the amount of mace I had put into it last year, I’m going to eliminate that particular spice entirely. There’s only a tiny amount of it anyways, but I know a few people who are sensitive to it. So sensitive, in fact, that it apparently ruined their Halloween experiences at my house. Since, I’d rather not have my beer making people throw up in the backyard, this is an easy change to make.
Third, I’m using a combination of both British and American hops. This was done out of necessity, as the brew store only had 3 ounces of American Goldings hops. So I’m adding in an ounce of UK East Kent Goldings. However, to prevent there from being too much difference between the two batches, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before, something that will improve the quality of the beer overall.
I’m going to blend the two batches after they ferment.
I know, right? Crazy talk. But it’s something that big craft brewers do all the time. It improves batch-to-batch consistency, helps to smooth out imperfections in the beer (most of the time, anyways) and generally gives you a better product. Heck, some beers out there are blends by design. Newcastle Brown Ale (a delicious beer) is actually a blend of two completely different beers: A dark, aged, brown ale, and a younger pale ale. This is something that will improve my beer and enhance the enjoyment I get from it, and that’s really what brewing your own beer is all about, after all. You want to make something delicious that you and your friends can enjoy.
I’m going to be posting about how the brew day itself actually went next week, as well as keeping you all up to date on how the fermentation progresses over the next month and half until Halloween. I’ll be putting a few pictures up on Twitter (@tworavensbrew) of the brewing process, as well as of the batch during fermentation. I’ll put up another post sometime in early October when it gets moved to secondary, and again when the blending and kegging happens, just before Halloween. I have two other beers I need to brew up for the fall season (or maybe a beer and another batch of cider…mmmm…cider…), so there will be a flurry of posts in the next few weeks! Hooray, posts! Hooray, beer!
With that, I bid you all a good day, and happy brewing.