Each month we release a new recipe for our Beer of the Month. They are always recipes that we have personally brewed ourselves, and have to pass a taste test amongst all of the staff here (tough job we know!). The recipes will be easy to make and we will gladly assist new home brewers in the production of these beers. They will all be 5.5 gallons in size. We find that after fermenting and racking a 5.5 gallon batch turns into a standard 5 gallon batch pretty quickly.
At the start of every month we will post the recipe in store, as well as on our website, Facebook, and Instagram. We will also have a set price for the recipe that will include a discount of up to 25%!
Lazy Pumpkin Ale (or Harvest Ale)
Autumn Ale – 5.5 Gal - OG 1.055 – FG 1.010 – ABV 5.8% - IBU 23 – SRM 13
Update: We know Pumpkin beers can be divisive. So we made an alternative beer without the pumpkin. The Harvest Ale is the same beer as the Pumpkin Ale just WITHOUT the pumpkin addition. Here is the link to the Harvest Ale. The Instructions are the identical, except at bottling DO NOT add Pumpkin spice.
Well, we went and finally did it. We did the pumpkin thing. Our goal was to make a pumpkin flavoured beer that is enjoyable, approachable, and repeatable all year round. The thing with making beers with fruit, or other exotic flavours is that you must be very careful in how you add those flavours. Fruit additions can cause extra unexpected fermentations, have drastic effects on clarity, or can inadvertently add a bunch of acidity that throws your mash pH all over the place.
How do we add pumpkin without the danger!? Simple, we lazily add pumpkin spice extract at the bottling/kegging stage. We are including a two-ounce bottle with each recipe purchase. More experienced brewers might want to play around with adding pumpkin puree, or even oven roasting pumpkins – but we want to keep this simple and approachable for all our brewing friends.
The base beer for this recipe is super tasty. We loaded it full of oats and other delicious malts which results in a full bodied, rich tasting beer. The addition of the pumpkin extract at bottling adds a subtle pumpkin spice element that completes the beer.
Maris Otter x 3.75lbs
Red X x 3.75lbs
Flaked Oats x 2.0lbs
Oat Malt x 1.0lbs
Crystal Light x 0.5lbs
Biscuit x 0.5lbs
Pumpkin Spice Extract - 2oz (add at bottling)
Boil Schedule (minutes)
Magnum - 0.5 oz @ 60 minutes
Cali Ale - Escarpment Labs
Extras (Must be purchased separately)
Irish Moss - 1 tsp for last 15 minutes of boil
DME/Dextrose - 150g at bottling for priming
Important Tips on Brewing
Be extra cautious when it comes to cleaning! Once you have stopped boiling your wort everything that gets in contact with the beer MUST be sanitary.
The temperature of your mash is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. Not being in the 150-155f range can drastically affect your beer. Make sure you correct the temperature ASAP once all of the grain has been added to the mash.
Always let your beer ferment for 10 days! Do not disturb it, do not open the lid. It is absolutely natural for the airlock to stop bubbling after a few days, it is still fermenting though.
Oxidization:Airspace is always something to consider. When undergoing primary fermentation airspace is needed so that the beer can bubble up and ferment vigoursley without leaking out of the container. The fermentation creates a layer of CO2 that remains in the pail due to the airlock. Once primary fermentation is over, and the lid has been opened, the layer of CO2 dissipates, and oxygen replaces it. At this point airspace can ruin your beer. When racking into carboys make sure they are filled to the top, or you blast CO2 inside to prevent oxidization. Ask us for details on this!
Before bottling, make sure you use a priming calculator (many can be found online) to verify the amount of sugar that needs to be added.
What's the deal with the acidulated malt?If you're using Guelph water, or any tap water from Ontario it is almost always very hard water. Hard water has a high pH, in order to get the pH down to the proper level for brewing we recommend adding 2.5-3% acidulated malt to your beer. It depends on the style a bit, but this is a good rule of thumb. Get in touch with us if you'd like a more in-depth explainer of pH and water adjustment!
Mashing -> converting the grain into a fermentable liquid.
Bring 6 gallons of water in your brew pot to 155°F. This is our strike temperature. Turn off the heat to the pot.
Wrap the muslin/nylon bag around the brew pot and slowly pour all the milled grains into the bag. Stir them in while adding to prevent clumps. The addition of grain should drop the temperature down to 150-155°F.
We want to mash the grain at 153°F for 60 minutes. It is very important to hold the temperature at 153°F. If the temperature rises above 155°F it hurts the fermentation, or if it dips below 149°F it can lead to a thinner tasting beer.
The first 15-30 minutes are essential for the success of your brew. The temperature HAS TO BE IN THE RANGE OF 150-155°F. Sometimes adding the grain to the strike water does not lower the temperature enough, in this case add a little bit of cold water to bring the temperature down. Cover the pot with your lid and let it sit.
Most brew pots will be able to maintain 153°F without adding heat for 20 minutes, we recommend checking the temperature every 15 minutes, and if it drops add more heat to bring it up. We recommend opening the lid and using a thermometer in the liquid.
After 60 minutes, bring the temperature of the mashing grain up to 170°F and hold for 10 minutes. This is our mash out.
Time to remove the grain. Lift the bag full of grain out of the brew pot. Let the liquid in the bag dribble into your wort. Once that is done, put the bag inside of a brewing pail, or another empty pot. There will be about 4 gallons of wort in the brew pot, we need to get it to 6 gallons before we can begin the next stage.
Run warm water through the grains in the bag, aim for 170°f – let it run through the grains and add to the brew pot. Add until you reach 6 gallons.
PSA: It is natural to think that the grains need to be squeezed to get all the liquid out of them, DO NOT DO THIS. Aggressively squeezing the grains will lead to tannin extraction and a doughy taste in your beer. Lightly pressing the bag is fine, but do not try to squeeze every last drop out.
Boiling -> Hop addition time
Bring 6 gallons of your wort to a rolling boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes, this is called the hot break.
Add ½ ounce of Magnum hops and set a timer for 60 minutes, keep the wort boiling (212°f) and uncovered.
With 15 minutes left, add 1 tsp of Irish Moss, and if you’re using a wort chiller add that too.
When your timer goes off, turn off the heat, and then proceed to the cooling stage.
Now it’s time to cool the beer down to 75°f (20-25°c) as quickly as possible.
We love using a wort chiller for this, it can get the beer down to temperature in 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, you can immerse the brew pot in an ice bath or wait it out. The longer it takes, the greater the risk of infection
Fermentation -> Turning the wort into beer
After the boil is done it is time to be extra careful regarding sanitation. We recommend using a no-rinse sanitizer called Starsan. Mix ¼ tsp of it with water in a 500ml spray bottle. Before we touch any part of the beer, we spray it with Starsan.
Transfer the cooled wort into your fermenting pail or carboy. Run it though a strainer to catch any hop or grain residue.
It is also an important time to take a hydrometer reading. It should be around 1.052 give or take a few points.
Your choice of fermentation vessel is important. During primary fermentation, it will bubble up quite a bit, you want to be sure there is airspace for it to work away. Otherwise, the pressure of it will push out the airlock.
Make sure the wort has been cooled to at least 25c!!! Adding yeast at a higher temperature will likely kill it.
Once the beer is in the fermenter, pour in the entire package of Cali Ale yeast from Escarpment Labs.
Put the bung and airlock in the hole (make sure there is water filled up to the line in the airlock). If using a pail, make sure the lid is sealed tight. Put the pail in a room that is in the range of 20-22°C.
Let the beer ferment for 10 days. It will do the majority of the fermentation in the first few days, but letting it sit will help with clarity and settling flavours.
It’s now been 10 days; time to proceed to the bottling stage. First, take a hydrometer reading. It should be somewhere between 1.010-1.013
Lately, we have been of the opinion that secondary is an unnecessary step. Unless you are kegging, we recommend skipping secondary and going straight to the bottling process. Clarification can occur in the bottle rather than in a carboy, and the risk of oxidization is greatly reduced.
Bottling -> We’re getting close to Beer Time now.
Rack the now fermented beer into a bucket.
PUMPKIN TIME: Add two ounces of the pumpkin extract to the freshly racked beer. We do not recommend adding anymore than the two ounces. We added four initially, and at first it was perfect, but after 3 weeks it became very very intense. Add 2 and let it integrate properly.
At the same time, mix the priming sugar with 300ml of boiling water and add to the beer. Stir it in VERY gently.
Make sure to check out a priming calculator to verify the correct amount of sugar. Too much sugar and your beer will end up foamy, or even start blowing the caps off! Too little and the beer won’t be fully carbonated.
Rack the beer into your bottles or growlers. Then, let them sit for 2-3 weeks at room temperature. Chill and enjoy!