Today is March, 14, known in some circles as Pi Day (as in 3/14).
In honor of such an auspicious day, here are two suggestions for how to make your very own pi(e) themed beer;
Adding pumpkin and pumpkin spice to your beer is a Christmastime favorite, and though we’re now well past the holiday season, this beer will still make a great showing in spring and early summer.
Start with some type of balanced ale as your base. A bitter could work, but better to use an amber or a gently-hopped APA. To really impart a good pumpkin flavor, you’ll want two or three pounds of pumpkin per five gallon batch. Feel free to use more if you’re really gung ho about gourd-based beverages, but for most people, three pounds is plenty. You can either cut up a whole pumpkin or just get some canned stuff. Since we’re out of the growing season, you’ll probably have to settle for canned. Just be sure you’re buying only pumpkin. Some cans of pumpkin pie filling have extra ingredients you don’t want.
Take your pumpkin and roast it for a little while, maybe an hour at 350. How it roasts depends on your oven and whether or not you’re using canned stuff, so you’ll just have to figure the details out on your own. You can do it, I believe in you. While your pumpkin is roasting, start up your brew. Add the roasted pumpkin halfway through the boil, I’m not going to give you exact times because it doesn’t really matter that much, you’re not going to ruin things by going too early, but you will lose some flavor if you go too late.
At about five minutes left, you’ll want to add some spices. Feel free to mix up your own premium blend of hand-picked spices, but I’m going to use a pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix and it’ll work just fine. Add between a teaspoon and a tablespoon for a noticeable but not overpowering flavor.
Finally, be sure to try and not to let any big chunks of vegetable matter end up in your carboy, or you may end up with some funky flavors. But that’s it, you’ve just made a pumpkin pie beer that is only marginally more complicated than any other brew. Drink it and enjoy.
Pi Day Special Dark and Mild Beer:
This is a recipe I’ve created, designed to hit Pi in as many parameters as possible. This brew should be 3.14% ABV, 31.4 SRM, and 31.4 IBUs. I’ve never made this; I just whipped up a quick recipe, so somebody make it and tell me how it is. Otherwise I’ll give it a shot during my next brew day and report back.
Boil 5.5 gallons of water
Steep .83 pounds of Black Patent Malt (yes I know .83 pounds is inconveniently specific, deal with it)
At 60 minutes, remove the steeped grain and add 3.4 pounds light DME
Add 1 ounce Cascade at 50 minutes
Add 1 ounce Saaz at 3 minutes
This recipe was made assuming you’ll use Wyeast 1056 American Ale, but any American yeast with an attenuation around 75% will do.
The hardest part in making this recipe was making a beer suitably dark without adding too many fermentables. 3.14% isn’t very strong, so I had to be careful. The easiest solution for me was to steep a small amount of Black Patent malt, which will really darken things up while adding barely any sugar at all.
There are, I’m sure, countless other ways this recipe could have been made, so feel free to send us your own version of a Pi beer, and we’ll try it out.
What other ways can we make a Pi Day beer? Send us your suggestions.