Published: December 18, 2015

    Brew Your Own Tasty Fall and Winter Beers

    Beer, like swimwear, tends to ebb and flow with the seasons. Each time of year has its own distinct beers, meaning the home brewer is constantly experimenting with new and interesting flavors. We’ve found two beer recipes for you to try, a maple pumpkin ale that can be ready to drink in two weeks and an early winter ale that takes a month to come to fruition.

    Before you reach for your brew pot, a couple of suggestions. First, you might want to check out our introduction to beer brewing if you’ve never brewed before.

    Secondly, and we cannot stress this enough, a home-brewed beer is only as good as the water you use to create it. Tap water is a terrible choice for home-brewed beer. You cannot judge what minerals and chemicals are in your water supply, or how they’re going to affect the final taste of your brew. For best results, we recommend using water from a whole house filtration system so you start with the crispest, cleanest water possible.

    Maple Pumpkin Ale

    You’ll need a 7.5 gallon kettle for this brew in addition to your basic home-brewing kit.


    • 8 lbs. light dry malt extract
    • 12 oz. crystal 20L malt, crushed
    • 3 oz. chocolate malt, crushed
    • 30 oz. 100% natural canned pumpkin
    • ½ oz. Northern Brewer hops (60 minutes)
    • 14 fluid oz. grade B dark maple syrup
    • 1 tsp. McCormick’s pumpkin spice
    • 1 package Safale US-05


    Spread the pumpkin on a shallow pan and bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Meanwhile, add the crystal 20L and chocolate malt to a small mesh hop bag, tie closed, and place in 5.5 gallons of filtered water in a 7.5 gallon pot. Make sure the grain is fully immersed but not sitting on the bottom of the pot.

    Begin to heat the pot, removing the hop bag when the water reaches a temperature of 170 degrees.

    As the water is heating to a vigorous boil, slowly add the light dry malt extract and baked pumpkin. Stir until both are completely dissolved. Add the ½ ounce of Northern Brewer hops in a mesh bag once the wort boils.

    Boil for 55 minutes, and then add the pumpkin pie spice and the maple syrup. After an additional 60 minutes of boiling, remove from the heat. Once the wort cools to 180 degrees, everything it touches must be sanitized, and exposure to air should be limited.

    Cool the wort in an ice bath or wort chiller until it reaches 65 degrees, then transfer to a sanitizer fermenter. A gravity reading with your hydrometer at this point should be approximately 1.057. Air-lock the fermenter with a sanitized stopper and agitate vigorously for at least 5 minutes (or use a pure oxygen aerator for 1 minute). Add a package of Safale US-05, and ferment for at least two weeks at 64–68 degrees. When bottling, use enough priming sugar for medium carbonation.

    Early Winter Ale


    • 8 oz.Marris Otter
    • 8 oz. Carapils
    • 2 lb. American Caramel 60L
    • 4 oz. Special B
    • 3 lb. Golden Light liquid malt extract
    • 3 lb. Golden Light dry malt extract
    • 1 oz. Cluster
    • ½ tsp. dry cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp. dry nutmeg
    • 1 package Wyeast 1968 London ESB Liquid Yeast
    • 4 oz. corn sugar (for priming)


    Heat 2 gallons of filtered water in the brew pot to 165 degrees, and then turn off the heat. Steep the malt for 30 minutes in the brew pot in a grain bag, and then gently drain the bag into the brew pot. Do not squeeze the bag.

    Add a gallon of filtered water to the brew pot. Bring back to a boil, turn off heat, and add the 3 pounds of Golden Light dry malt extract, stirring gently.

    Bring the wort to the boil and add 1 ounce of Cluster hops. Boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Add the 3.3 lb. of Golden Light liquid malt extract, and return the wort to the boil. Boil for another 30 minutes, and turn off the heat.

    Submerge brew pot in ice or water. From this point on, be sure everything coming into contact with the wort is sanitized. Chill to 75 degrees (this should take about 30 minutes).

    Transfer the wort to a sanitized fermenter, straining out hops. Add filtered water to make 5 gallons. Take a hydrometer reading, then shake vigorously to aerate. Add yeast to fermenter.

    Cover the fermenter with a sanitized airlock and ferment for a week at 65-70 degrees in a dark location. After a week add the cinnamon and nutmeg.

    Ferment for two to three weeks, and bottle.