Sunday, September 11, 2011

I thought I was brewing Butterbeer but really I've made Pumpkin Spice beer

Well, yesterday's brew is in the fermentation chiller and I'm really happy with how smoothly it went. As M said, I've got pumpkin pie in a glass - and I used absolutely zero pumpkin. Sorry Harry Potter fans, but I guess Butterbeer will have to wait a little longer.

Steeping the Grain
Steeping the grains. View more photos on Flickr.
What did I use? Well, I did follow Torri Gunn's recipe quite a bit, although he brewed a half batch, and I brewed a full.

  • 3 Lbs Munton & Fison (UK) Light DME (doubled)
  • 3 Lbs Briess Bavarian Wheat DME (doubled)
  • 1 Lbs American 2-Row (Briess) (doubled, in place of Canadian Pale Malt)
  • 1 Lbs CaraPils (doubled)
  • 1 oz Saaz Pellet Hops (quadrupled)
  • 1 oz Tettnanger Leaf Hops (doubled)
  • 40 g Maltodetrix (that's 1.45 oz, about 1/6th the original)
  • 20 g Sarsaparilla (that .7 oz, about 1.25 times the original)
  • 20 g Licorice Root (that's .7 oz, not sure how much one root is)
  • 6 Juniper Berries (doubled)
  • 3 Cinnamon sticks, broken in half (doubled)
  • 5 Allsprice Berries (added)
  • 1/4 tsp Anise Extract (added)
Despite doubling the batch, I cut back on both the sarsaparilla and licorice root. Does anyone know how much one licorice root weighs? Anyways, I measured in grams because it's way more precise with small measurements. I cut way back on the maltodetrix too, about one sixth of Torri used in his half batch. I've never used the stuff and given Torri's concerns about flavor, I was leery of using it. Perhaps I cut back way too much. IDK.

Boiling the Spices
Spices boiling. View more photos on Flickr.
I quadrupled the amount of Saaz hops because I like my beer to have some hop - and I didn't want to muck around with a half ounce laying around. I had to replace his Canadian Pale Malt with American 2-Row due to availability. I couldn't find much in way of replacement suggestions, so I went with something simple. Any better suggestions? Finally, I added in allspice berries and anise extract after reading some history about butterbeers.

So... how does it taste? Well, M is absolutely right. The wort tastes just like a pumpkin pie. The aroma is malty and spicy, with just a hint of hop. It's a creamy amber with a decent body, all though I'm thinking more maltodextrin next time. I definitely get where someone might say tooth paste, but I think the spices really help to balance that out, especially the allspice berries. As an fan of Good Eats nows, you add extracts at the end, off the boil. Foolishly added the anise extract straight to the boil, but I still taste it in the mix, so no major issue there.

Wort, in a glass
Wort, in a glass. View more photos on Flickr.
Now that I've had the chance to taste it, my only real concerns are fermentation and carbonation. Sure, this is rapidly becoming a pumpkin spice beer and less a "butterbeer", but hey I already knew I was on the path to deviation.

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