10/05/2008: "Brewblogue: It's Pumpkininny!"

Listening to: Imperial Teen - the hair the tv the baby & the band
Current mood: cheerful

Water: 5 or 6 gallons filtered San Diego tap

  • 8.5lb British Pale
  • 0.33lb Aromatic
  • 0.33lb Crystal 40
  • 0.33lb Crystal 120
  • 0.33lb Victory

Yeast: 1 Vial WLP002 - English Ale Yeast
Hops: 1.0oz Kent Golding @ 70min
1 Medium Kabocha Pumpkin, Roasted (in mash)
3/4 tsp. random mix of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Allspice @ 2min

Mashed at 154° for 90 minutes. Boiled 70 minutes.
Added 0.5 Gallons filtered water to top

OG: 1.080 - diluted to ~1.060

So, I didn't die from the sea urchin. It only made me want to.

Meanwhile, on Friday I finally got around to making a pumpkin ale, which I've basically wanted to do since I started brewing (I was seriously tempted to try it for my first beer, it's probably good that I didn't.) Seeing as kabocha are dirt cheap, I picked up a medium sized one (about 4.5lbs) at the Japanese market for a couple bucks and roasted it at 375 for about 90 minutes, then smooshed the entire thing up with a potato masher, skin, stem, and all and threw it in the mash. I also soaked the pan I roasted the pumpkin in to get all the caramelized juices off and poured them into the mash tun as well. I had to do a 90 minute mash instead of a 60 in order to convert all the pumpkin starch into sugar.

One thing you have to look out for when mashing with pumpkin is that the sparge can get rather stuck, even with batch sparging, and it happened to me. I really had meant to use rice hulls this time around but the Home Brew Mart was out of them when I went to buy my grain. (They were also out of Special Roast, but I just substituted Victory instead. I love me some Victory malt.) So sparging took a little longer than usual, but thems the breaks.

The other thing to note when using pumpkin is that you need to back off a little on the base malt as the pumpkin itself supplies quite a bit of sugar to the mix. I noticed this tidbit of information after I already had my grain crushed and mixed, so it was a little late at that point. Which means that instead of the 3 gallons of 1.050 wort I was expecting I ended up with about 2.5 gallons (my boil also went a little longer than I meant it to) of 1.080 wort. Which if you don't know, is pretty high gravity. So I went ahead and diluted it down with about a half gallon of filtered water, which should have made it more like 1.060 or so. I don't really like adding unsanitized water (didn't really have time to sanitize it after the boil) but as I said, thems the breaks.

Regarding the spice mix, I'm not entirely sure how that'll turn out. I've heard plenty of stories about people adding way too much spice and the beer ending up hideous so I tried to keep a light hand with it. As far as the spice blend itself, I didn't actually measure anything out, I just kind of mixed it till it smelled pumpkin pieish then took 3/4 of tsp, put in a little baggie and threw it in at 1 or 2 minutes. I couldn't taste even the vaguest hint of spice in the wort, but it'll come out more once everything's dried out.

So it went into the fermentor at around 5pm on Friday and as far as I can tell as of this morning it's mostly done fermenting. I'm planning on bottling it next sunday if the gravity's dropped enough and with luck I'll be drinking pumpkin ale on Halloween. Woot, as they say.

Replies: 1 Comment

Pumpkin ale for a pumpkiny holiday! We'll be drinking it 'till valentines day. Now every holiday can be a pumpkiny holiday =)

[Lynnea] on Sunday, October 5th

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