Tuesday, June 17, 2014

3 ideas for creating Autumn beers

It's the middle of summer.  Why are you thinking of autumn beers?

If I wanted to think about brewing a beer for Independence Day, it is almost too late now.  It's a good thing I've got an IPA ready to keg.  After July the time flies by into Aug, Sept and before you know if Thanksgiving will be here.

Football season, the cooling of the weather, holidays... I should really stop looking forward and simply enjoy today.  At the same time, brewing takes planning and timing.  Of course creating a good beer will take 3 weeks very minimum or up to 6, 8 or even longer.

The summer beers tend to be light in color, sessionable, hoppy or with wheat.  Refreshing is the name of the game...something to drink after mowing the lawn.  When I think of autumn beers, I think Oktoberfest, malty, darker, caramel, pumpkin, etc.  And then the greatest of beers are reserved for the winter months, the hearty Imperial Stouts and barleywines, etc.  It's almost never too early to start planning for the seasonal beers.

Here are three ideas for brewing Autumn beers.

1. Keep it traditional with an Oktoberfest.  Do you have temperature control enough to make a lager?  This can be a great brew and still stretch your prowess as a brewer while keeping traditional.  A lot of homebrewers only brew ales.  I've done two lagers during my brewing.  Maybe it's time to go Classic Style and lager an Oktoberfest.

2. Did someone say pumpkin?  Sometimes I get so sick of pumpkin beers.  It's like the novice beer of choice during the football season time of year.  Yet, adding pumpkin and spices to a beer can be fun, a learning experience, and produce interesting results.  The Pumpkin Porter we brewed last year turned out pretty nice.  It even scored well in a homebrew competition.  The feedback I received was that the spices weren't pronounced enough to stand out.  I was looking for balance and the judges were looking to identify the flavors.  Here is the pumpkin porter recipe from last year.

3. Brown Ale.  Yes, sounds quite boring doesn't it?  Think about the Session beer trend lately, with people brewing low alcohol IPAs and pale ales.  A good brown ale can have nice flavors and maintain low alcohol content.  Plus, there is no better way to test your brewing skills than to have something without much to hide any imperfections.  If a brown ale it too boring, a nice Robust Porter is tough to beat.

Here is a bonus idea I'm tossing around in my head.  An apple pie porter.  Hmm...

Keep brewing!