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Home Brew Beer Recipes
 
Beer Brew 1 - Hubert's Belgium Trippel
  Beer Brew 2 - Straw Dog Kolsch

  Beer Brew 3 - Blow My Windmill Pilsner
  Beer Brew 4 - What to Wheat for Dinner
  Beer Brew 5 - Let the Oktoberfestivities Begin
  Beer Brew 6 - Belgian Battleground Ale
  Beer Brew 7 - Pablo's Kolsch
  Beer Brew 8 - Belgian Golden Ale
  Beer Brew 9 - Ichabod's Cranium Pumpkin Beer
  Beer Brew 10 - Appalachian Pale Ale (OAPA)
  Beer Brew 11 - Appalachian Pale Ale 2 (OAPA)
  Beer Brew 12 - It's Good to be American Pale Ale

About Ichabod's Cranium Pumpkin Beer Home Brew Beer

Pumpkin beer has been around for hundreds of years in America.  It was actually one of the first beers the pilgrims and early settlers brewed as there was an immediate shortage of good malt in the new world, yet a healthy supply of pumpkins.

The fabulous pumpkin, previously unknown by Europeans, was so popular for the early settlers that in the 1600s a folk song was written about the gourd.

In the days of the American Revolution, pumpkin was being used to make everything from beer, bread, and custards, to sauces, molasses, and pies.  However, it's important to understand that during colonial America the pumpkin was used solely as a source of fermentable sugar.  There isn't any evidence pointing to the addition of popular "pumpkin pie" spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and ginger.  At least, this is the argument made by most.  There are some that will disagree, saying pumpkin pie spices were added to the brew.

By the early 1800s, pumpkin was slowly becoming a less-used beer-brewing ingredient, what with quality malts finally becoming available.

Brewing pumpkin beer would have been a long lost art had it not bee for the Buffalo Bill's Brewery of Hayward, California who revitalized the concept during the 1980s.  Apparently, they came across one of George Washington's pumpkin home brew recipes and brewed a batch.

Nowadays, most people brew the "pumpkin pie spice" style of pumpkin beer, as opposed to focusing on the pumpkin as a whole.  In other words, spices commonly found in pumpkin pies - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and cloves - are used in the brewing process.  Some don't even bother with using fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin.  Here's a guide to pumpkin ale.

Our favorite commercially available pumpkin beer is Post Road Pumpkin Ale.  And, here is a nice article on 7 pumpkin beers you should read.  And, here is a recipe by Mark Zappasodi that shows how to brew pumpkin beer using the actual pumpkin.  And, check out the Ultimate Guide to Fall Pumpkin Beers.

Hops Used

Bittering - Hops.

Flavoring - Hops.

How Served

Serve in a pint glass, becker, or tumbler at about 40 - 45 degrees F.  You'll want to drink this while its in season.  Unless it's an 8 or 9% abv, don't hang on to it.

Food for this Home Brew

Goes well with desserts (like pumpkin pie), meats, and especially yard bird!  Next time you enjoy that turkey at Thanksgiving, give this one a try.

Technical Stuff

Content...

Styles of Beer
Many have said the taste of beer must be "acquired".  That may be true.  Although factors such as the brewing process and various spices, fruits, etc. play a role, the taste of beer chiefly comes from the malt and water used, esters (or lack of) from the yeast, and the hops.  And, it's the hops that people are inherently tasting when we say beer is an acquired taste... more

Choosing the Right Beer Glass

Home Brew Websites

Find a Beer Brewery

Home Brew How To: Brewing Beer

Discover the wonderful world of home brew.  If you've ever wanted to brew at home, but didn't know how to get started, this website serves to provide information on how to make home brew beer and the home brew process.  Get recipes for home brew beer, and step-by-step instructions on how to home brew beer.  No detail has been left out. 

Every new home brewer is going to need a basic set of brew equipment.  Read about all the home brew supplies available and typically used within the hobby.  Get information about home brew kits - one of the first purchases you'll make.  Find your local home brew stores and shops

You'll find that most beginners use bottles for their home brewed beer.  But, as you advance your knowledge and experience in brewing beer at home, you'll likely want to move away from bottling to kegging your beer.  Learn about the various home brew kegs and kegging systems.

Get answers about the home brew system, the best home brew kits, all the different pieces of home brew gear, and even where to obtain beer labels for your bottles!

Our Favorite Brew Supply Store
If you live in Western North Carolina, we highly recommend you visit the guys over at Asheville Brewers Supply!

 

 
Our Favorite Commercial Beers
Chimay Trappistes
Any of the Belgian Monk beers brewed within the walls of the Trappist Monastery and controlled by the International Trappist Association.  World renowned beers that are considered by us among the finest brews.

RJ Rockers
Great beer, brewed in a fashion familiar to any of us who have served with the Army/Air Force in Germany during the Cold War.  Love the new Pint Glass they sent me recently.  Ummmmmm!

BrandBrand Bier - The Brand Beer from The Netherlands.
While stationed in The Netherlands, this was the more popular beer, after Heineken.  In our opinion, it is a far better brew than the big "H" beer!  Unfortunately, Brand beer is not available in the United States.

 
 

 

 

Beer Brew 9 - Ichabod's Cranium Pumpkin Beer

Pictured are the ingredients for our Ichabod's Cranium Pumpkin Beer.

Ingredients for this Home Brew

1. Northwestern Gold Malt Extract 6 Pounds
2. Briess Dry Malt Extract 1 Pounds
3. Crushed Grain, English Ale Blend 1 Pound
4. East Kent Golding Pellet Hops (mid boil) 1 Ounce 5.8% AA
5. East Kent Golding Pellet Hops (end boil) 1 Ounce 5.8% AA
6. White Labs English Ale Yeast - 1 Vial
7. Corn/Priming Sugar - 1/2 cup

Additional Spicing & Ingredients

1.  2 Cans (29 oz each) pure Pumpkin.
2.  1/2 tsp Cinnamon.
3.  1/2 tsp Cloves.
4.  1/4 tsp Cardamom.


August 28, 2012 - This our first Pumpkin Beer.  We based it on a standard English Ale recipe.  After sanitizing everything we heated 2 gallons of filtered water from our fridge dispenser and added the 2 cans of pumpkin. 

Use the best (always filtered) water for all  your homebrewed beer!

Make sure you don't get pumpkin pie mix!  Use pure pumpkin.  Check the ingredients on the back of the can.  A 45-minute full boil ensued before it was removed from the heat.

Adding the Pumpkin to the home brew.   As you can see, this is 100% pure pumpkin we used for our pumpkin beer homebrew.

After the 45-minutes of boiling the pumpkin, the temperature was reduced by adding a gallon of chilled and filtered water.  It actually brought it down to about 140 degrees F.  So, we dropped in the grain bag and increased the temperature to 150, where it steeped for 50 minutes.  A good food-grade thermometer is necessary to ensure we did not go over the 150-155 F range.  Everyone knows that doing do could impart tannins and off-flavors in your finished beer.

Here the pumpkin is at a rolling boil in the brew pot.   Dropping the grain bag into our pumpkin home brew beer for the 50 minutes of steeping at 150 degrees F.

After steeping, the brew was removed from the heat and the malt and malt extract was added.  We carefully monitored and stirred the brew at a rolling boil for 55 minutes.  As seen in the first image below, the brew initially began to show signs of boil over during the few minutes after the malt was added.  So, this is when you really need to be careful!  The second image shows it after about 5 minutes at full boil.  For all our homebrewed beer, the brew tends to reduce to a nice, manageable boil 5 or 10 minutes after malt is added.

Pumpkin Beer Homebrew Showing Signs of Boil Over After the Malt Was Added.   The Pumpkin Homebrew Beer is rolling in full boil after the malt and malt extract has been added.

About 25 minutes into the boil, we added our first ounce of bittering hops...

Adding hops to our pumpkin beer homebrew. 

We also added our three spices at mid-boil...

Three spices we used for our Ichabod's Cranium Pumpkin Beer include cinnamon, cardamon, and nutmeg.

At the end of the boil, we added the second ounces of hops, removed the brew from the heat, covered it, and let it rest for 5 minutes.  It then went into a sink bath with ice, to removed the immediate heat. 

We had placed a fermenting bucket with 3 gallons of filtered water in the fridge the day before, so it was at a nice cool temperature of 40 degrees F.  We poured the homebrew into the bucket and observed the temperature.  It dropped to a perfect 74 degrees F.  Time to pitch the yeast...

English Ale Yeast for our Pumpkin Beer   English Ale Yeast for our Pumpkin Beer

The lid and air-lock was placed on the home brew and it was moved to a cool, dark place for fermentation.

August 29, 2012 - Fermenting began rather quickly, about 8 hours after the yeast was pitched.

September 1, 2012 - Fermenting well, about 5 plops of the air-lock per minute.  Temperature is at 72 degrees F.  The escaping gas smells wonderful!

September 10, 2012 - Bottling time!  Got about 52 regular 12-ounce bottles.

September 20, 2012 - Tried one.  Flavor is nice and pumpkin-pie style.  You can immediately smell the cloves and cardamom in this one!  Carbonation is not completely full yet.  But, it's one very nice beer.

If you want another recommended pumpkin beer, check out the AHA's Punkin Head.

         
 

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