I started a batch of my Pumpkin Ale this evening, five gallons of it, and now the house smells like sweet wort and pumpkin pie. I think it’ll turn out to be a good beer, no problems at all tonight, not even a runaway hot break (which leads to a potential boilover).
The yeast I used is Wyeast‘s American Ale 1056, in the new, giant "Activator" smack pack. If it takes off as promised, I’m sold on these big yeast packs, especially since I don’t have the time like I used to to be culturing a "regular" smack pack of yeast for a few days in anticipation of when I might be able to brew… This one was smacked by 5:30 pm, and was ready to burst by 8:40 pm or so, when I was ready to pitch. I’ve never seen liquid yeast start that quickly, so I have high hopes.
Another note about American Ale 1056 in this recipe: it’s a good clean yeast that works well for this type of flavored beer. Plus, since pumpkin ales are rather uniquely an American innovation, it just seems more fitting to use this yeast.
I also used Irish Moss for clarification (trivia: Irish Moss is really a seaweed). One teaspoon five minutes before the end of the boil does the trick.
The original gravity is 1.062, if anyone’s interested. I used six pounds of amber dried malt extract (didn’t bother with the syrup), one-half pound of 40L crystal, one-half pound of malted wheat, and three-quarters of a pound of Vienna malt. I’ll post more updates as the beer progresses, and provide a full report when it’s done.