Friday, October 23, 2015

Pumpkin Lager

Pumpkin beer.  You probably have an opinion on it.  People either love it or hate it.  If you love it, you are either on the pumpkin pie spice crowd or actual pumpkin side.  It's a divisive style.  Every year I brew one, taste it and swear the style off.  Then the next year comes around and Fall hits and all of a sudden I cave and brew one.  Every.  Single. Year.  I've done a straight pumpkin beer with spices.  I then added graham crackers to the mash along with lactose and vanilla.  Last year I tried pumpkin pie spices to a stout.  They're all very average.  And for some reason I'm stupid enough to try it again.

This year I am of course changing up my recipe.  There's a guy on Reddit who has apparently honed in on a recipe over the past 10+ years that he describes as a cross between Punkin and Pumking.  He uses real pie pumpkins in the mash and then actually "dry pumpkins" after fermentation to give a gourd-y character.  I decided to basically copy his recipe, his spice mix, and his pie pumpkin process.  The only exception is I'm doing it as a lager instead of an ale.  I had to change something up, didnt I!?

Ichabod Crane

3 Gallons
74% efficiency

5 lb Maris Otter (83%)
0.5 lb Victory (8%) - I had to sub this because the homebrew shop didn't have Biscuit
0.5 lb Munich (8%)

0.4 oz Tettnang (60 min)

Wyeast 2124 (1 L starter, decanted, then 1.5 L starter)

OG 1.055 | FG 1.015 | IBU 12 | ABV 5.5%

Mashed at 156F to try to get some sweetness.  Boiled for 60 minutes.  2 mL lactic acid to get the mash pH to 5.35.

Pumpkin Spices/Process:

Baked 1 medium pie pumpkin (cubed in 1inch cubes) for 60 minutes at 375F (tossing every 15 mins).  Then I mixed some brown sugar (~1/4 c) with some water and spice mix (~1 tsp, see below) and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes until browned. This went into the mash.

2 tsp of spice mix (below) at 15 mins left in the boil.

When fermentation is done, bake another pie pumpkin in the oven, then candy on the stove with molasses and maple sugar, then add to secondary.

Spice Mix:

1 T cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

10/20/15: Brewed.  OG 1.052.  Put in fermentation chamber to cool down to 50F.

10/21/15: Pitched yeast.  Following the quick lager method that you can find online.  12 after yeast pitch, added O2 for 60 sec.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Imperial Stout/Milk Stout Partigyle

My all time favorite stouts come from Cigar City in Tampa, FL.  There is a mouthfeel and sweetness in Marshal Zhukov, Hunahpu and a variety of their El Catador offerings that is consistent across all of their bigger stouts and I don't find it in many other commercial RIS.  Apparently many other homebrewers feel the same way because there is an extensive thread trying to clone Hunahpu on HomeBrewTalk.  Of course this is the internet and everyone seems to know a guy who knows a guy who talked to Wayne Wambles (head brewer at CCB) and got the recipe.  Recipes on the internet have to be taken with a grain of salt.  Take this from here, that from there, combine them, put your own twist on them and then brew up something that you hope is in the spirit of the original beer.  That's all I'm going for here, a big, thick, chewy imperial stout.  I don't expect it to taste like Marshal Zhukov, but if it's in the ballpark I'm good.

With my recipe design, one key thing that I think helps CCB's stouts get this character is a high percentage of non-base malts.  There actually are some emails and interviews with Wayne where he talks about this.  Oh and there is this sheet of paper under the bar in the tasting room at CCB which is supposedly the first recipe for Hunahpu.  As you can see there are a lot of malts, a lot of roasted malts at that, and it's a fairly complicated recipe.  So from this, from my theory about base malt being <50% of the recipe and from some select bits of info from online, I pieced my recipe together for a big RIS.

Aside from the recipe, another thing I read about online was that breweries with these big, thick, chewy stouts sometimes only use the first runnings.  I thought this would be a good time to try this and while I was at it, also do my first partigyle.  For those who don't know, a partigyle is where you take off the first runnings, use that to make a beer, then sparge and use the second runnings to make another beer.  With my first runnings beer being a RIS, I thought I would do a milk stout for my second runnings beer and just add some lactose during the boil.  This brew day was intense because I had to do two separate mashes because my tun was too small, then two separate boils, but I finished it in around 5 hours and ended up with about 1.5 gallons of RIS and 2.5 gallons of milk stout.

Imperial Stout/Milk Stout Partigyle

4 gallons
74% efficiency

7 lb Maris Otter (50%)
2.5 lb Munich (18%)
1 lb Roasted Barley (7%)
1 lb Chocolate Malt (7%)
0.5 lb C60 (4%)
0.5 lb C120 (4%)
0.5 lb Black Patent (4%)

2 oz Chinook (60 mins)

Wyeast 1056 - 2 1.5 L starters, fermented at 64F.  Mashed at 154F.

These values are theoretical if I wasn't doing a partigyle.  Look at the notes for actual numbers.

OG 1.089 | FG 1.031 | ABV 8.3% | IBU 83

No water adjustments needed.

9/20/15: Brewday.  Split mash, added baking soda because mash pH was low.  Ran off 0.75 from each first runnings.  Ended up with 1.5 gal of RIS OG 1.101 and 2.5 gallons of milk stout OG 1.068 (0.4 lb lactose added).

9/26/15: RIS gravity down to 1.026.  Milk stout down to 1.022.

10/19/15: Both gravities stable at about the same as last time.  The RIS is viscous, a little hot in alcohol, maybe too much roasted barley.  Milk stout is nice and sweet.  Bottled.