Pumptastic Porter

August 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Brewing pumpkin beers has become an annual right of passage for many homebrewers, myself included.  It marks the beginning of the end of summer, and the transition to the bigger, darker, maltier beers many of us prefer to drink during the fall and winter months.  There is a wide array of opinions when it comes to pumpkin beers, particularly if adding actual pumpkin is worth the extra effort (many argue that only the pumpkin spice is necessary)  I have always been a fan of using pumpkin in my beers, as you may have noticed by now, I take my brewing very seriously and don’t like to cut any corners perceived or not.

I decided to stick with the porter as the base beer for my pumpkin beer this year, as I really like the combination.  However, I decided to up the amount of pumpkin as well as fine tune the grain bill with a bit more speciality malts in an effort to hone in on that fresh, bready, pumpkin pie taste we have all come to love.

I have always added the Libby’s Pumpkin mixture directly to the mash water and grains but this year maybe the last time I go that route. I should have known that I was going to be in for it when I added the nearly 10 lbs of pumpkin to my mash water before adding a single ounce of grains.  I didn’t account for the additional volume of the pumpkin (first mistake), and wound up pulling off some of the mash water prior to doughing in to a level I felt comfortable with.  Upon adding the grains and rice hulls my pump ran great for about 10 minutes, before I had the dreaded stuck mash!  The addition of so much pumpkin, and in turn starches, to an already thick mash was to much for my system. The result was one of the worst stuck mashes I have ever had.

To make a long story short and much less profane, lets just say that I am now a firm believer in adding the pumpkin directly to the boil instead of the mash.  I’m hopeful that the additional pumpkin will be worth the trouble and come through in both mouthfeel and taste in the final beer, which should be a crowd favorite for my wedding.

Pumptastic Porter

Batch Size: 10.5 Gallons

Original Gravity: 1.059
Est. Final Gravity: 1.019
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 29.2
Color: 25.9 SRM
Boil Time: 60Min

71.1% Maris Otter
8.9% Wheat Malt
6.1% Chocolate Malt
4.9% Munich II Malt
3.0% Carapils Malt
2.0% Amber Malt

.75 Oz Chinook (13.1% AA) at 60 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min
2 Oz Hallertaurer Mittelfrueh (4.0% AA) at 20 min
1.75 East Kent Goldings (4.06%AA) at 5 min
3 Cinnamon Sticks at 5 min
6 Whole Cloves at 5 min
1.75 tsp Nutmeg & Allspice

4 L Starter White Labs 011 European Ale

60 minutes at 154F (Saccharification Rest)
10 minutes at 165F (Mash Out)


Added 9.4 lbs Libby’s Pumpkin to mash along with 1lb rice hulls.
Pumptastic Porter

Let’s Grow Old Together Ale

November 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I recently got engaged to my beautiful girlfriend of four years Megan, and as we begin down the road of planning a wedding for 200+ people, one thing I know for certain is that I want to brew the beer for the wedding. My plan is to brew three batches of my favorite moderate alcohol beers and one batch of “big” beer, something over the top for all our sophisticated beer drinking friends.

I have always been interested in brewing the obscure often forgotten styles of beer of yesteryear and with Wyeast offering its Old Ale blend in its Private Yeast Collection for this quarter, I thought this would be the perfect “big” beer for the wedding. I want something that will be complex, flavorful, and different and I think the combination of a unique beer style, Brettanomyces, and extended oak aging should fit that bill. I plan on serving one 5 gallon keg of the finished beer and bottling the remaining Old Ale in 750 ml Belgian Ale bottles for long term aging. Looking forward to the future I think it will be really cool to crack open one of these beers on our 1st, 5th, 10th, etc. wedding anniversaries.

With all that being said I knew the recipe formulation would need to be big enough to support extended aging, and have a long enough time in the secondary for the Brett to work its magic. I also want the recipe to be as close to a traditional Old Ale as I could come up with. After looking into doing some research into the history of Old Ale’s and their traditional recipe formulations I came up with the following recipe.

Let’s Grow Old Together Ale

Batch Size: 9 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.090
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.022
ABV: 9%
IBU: 47.5
Color: 19.5 SRM
Boil Time: 90 Min

87.5% Golden Promise Malt
4.9% British Crystal 77L (Crisp)
3.2% Flaked Corn
3.2% Dememera Sugar
1.2% Black Patent

1.5 Oz Magnum (14.1% AA) at 60 min
3.5 Oz Eastern Kent Goldings (4.06% AA) at 20 min
1 Tbsp Irish Moss at 15 min

3.6 L Starter of Wyeast PC 9097 Old Ale

Mash at 158 for 60 minutes raise to 168 for a 10 minute mashout.

2.5 oz Heavy Toast Hungarian Oak Rod split in half for each secondary. I plan to soak one of the 1.25 oz oak rods in bourbon and the other in a liquor of Megan’s choice prior to adding it to the secondary for extended aging.

6 Months in Secondary

photo (7)

Pumpkin Porter Tasting Notes

September 16, 2012 at 12:40 am
Appearance: Dark brown. Quickly dissipating off white/tan head no lacing.

Smell: Notes of cinnamon, chocolate, dried fruit, sweet malt.

Taste: Dry and sweet maltiness to start, morphs into creamy chocolate flavors. Finishes with a mild hop bite and lasting notes of cinnamon and spice on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, dry, creamy, robust.

Drinkability & Notes: This beer strikes a nice balance of sweetness and spice. Pumpkin flavor is muted. The smooth maltiness provides a strong foundation for the hops and spices to shine. The fruity esters of the London Ale yeast give this beer an additional layer of complexity.

Pumpkin Porter

September 3, 2012 at 12:54 am

Tis the season……

Batch Size: 11 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.061
Final Gravity: 1.016
ABV: 5.9%
IBU: 28.1
Color: 24.8 SRM
Boil Time: 60 Min

75.9% 2-Row Pale
10% Wheat Malt
6% Chocolate Malt
5% Crystal 80
3% Cara Pils

1 Oz Magnum (14.10% AA) at 60 min
1.3 Oz Stryian Goldings (6.1% AA) at 30min
1.3 Oz Willamette (4.7% AA) at 5min
3 tsp cinnamon at 5min
2 tsp Allspice at 5min
2 tsp Nutmeg at 5min
Couple of cloves at 5min

1.91 L Starter of White Labs 013 London Ale Yeast

Add 6 lbs libby’s canned pumpkin to mash Mash at 155 for 60 min. Raise to 165 for mash out.

Mash at 156 for 60 min


Wee Heavy 2.0

June 24, 2012 at 12:25 am

Batch Size: 8 Gallons
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.086
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.025
Estimated ABV: 8.2%
IBU: 28.1
Color: 23.2 SRM
Boil Time: 60 Min

86.1% Golden Promise
10.3% Light DME
2.7% Roasted Barley
0.9% Carafa III

1.5 Oz East Kent Goldings (6.1% AA) at 60 min
1 Oz East Kent Goldings (6.1% AA) at 25min

4.3 L Starter of White Labs 028 Edinburgh Ale Yeast

Collect first 2 gallons from mash and boil down to about 1 pint. Add 3 gallons of water to reach starting boil volume of 9 gallons.

Mash at 156 for 60 min

No Mash Out, No Sparge. Second runnings used for second beer “On the Fly Bitter”