Tim Reid’s Pumpkin Ale
Guest post from Tim Reid, master ale maker, and Cherry Ridge Farm pumpkin processor, on the making of pumpkin ale. Enjoy (go to Tim and maybe he’ll pour you a bottle).
x - dh
(Tim Reid) - Beer making still amazes me. From just a few basic ingredients (malt, hops, water, & yeast), you can make all of the different styles from around the world.
Dick and I have been talking about making beer for some time, and perhaps growing some hops at the farm, when I proposed making a pumpkin beer from the farm pumpkins.
To make our first batch of Cherry Ridge Farm Pumpkin Ale I started by quartering, seeding, and cleaning the pumpkins up, sprinkled them with pumpkin spice and roasted them.
Next I used a grain mill to crack the chocolate and golden malt berries for the beer. These get put into a mesh bag and steep in the hot water before the boil begins to release their flavors and colors to the finished product.
I then readied the raw ingredients for the beer boil (cubed roasted pumpkin, whole nutmeg and cinnamon, pellet hops, and malt syrup. These get put into about 5 gallons of spring water and boil for an hour to let all of the flavors release and meld together. You add hops at the beginning for flavoring and at the end for aroma.
Once this mixture called “wort” (pronounced “wert”) has boiled for about an hour, the heat gets shut off, the aroma hops get added and then it’s necessary to cool the wort down to about 70 degrees so you can add the beer yeast. Once the wort is cool enough, you toss in the yeast and let it ferment in a container for about 2 weeks. During the first 48 hours the yeast have a field day eating all the sugars from the malt and producing alcohol and C02. You can actually watch the C02 bubble out of the fermenter and smell what the beer will taste like similar to smelling yeasted bread.
After 2 weeks of fermentation, and a release of the used yeast from the fermenter, it’s time to bottle. To get the residual yeast going again I added a small amount of sugar. Then the beer gets siphoned into bottles and capped. The yeast feed on the added sugar and the C02 that’s released actually carbonates the beer. After about another 14 days it’s ready to chill and serve.
The resulting beer has a dark color from the chocolate malt, some residual spice notes and a flavor of pumpkin. A delicious fall treat.