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Back into homebrewing

I recently discovered that there is a homebrew store about ten minutes away from my new apartment. Score. This place just keeps getting better and better. I brewed a Belgian Blonde Ale yesterday which should come in around 4.5-5% abv. It is under the style guidelines, but they are meant to be guidelines, not the end all be all of what a beer should be. It is the first beer that I have brewed in about six months.

I will get the recipe and everything along those lines up on the site soon, but I just wanted to share the joy of homebrewing again. Isn’t that a book? I did run into a few problems while brewing. The biggest one is that the mash tun that I recently built (the last one had to go into the trash becasue it would not fit into the car on the move from Texas) leaked a lot. I know how to fix it, the problem is finding the parts. This particular cooler that I got has a one inch hole in it. From my past two mash tuns, they are typically 3/4 of an inch or smaller. What really sucks is that one inch fittings are tough to find and even tougher to make fit into such a small space. I will get it figured out soon enough.

The beer is happily bubbling away right now and I hope it will be ready to drink my the second week of next month. Hooray for getting back to homebrewing. I missed it.

Now this is how you make a Pumpkin beer

Pete, my brewing partner in crime, shared this link with me the other day. Basically someone turned a huge pumpkin into a mash tun for their pumpkin beer. After that they used a smaller pumpkin for a fermentor for some of the wort. Pretty interesting idea.

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I would love to try using a huge pumpkin as a mash tun if they weren’t so darn expensive. I don’t think that I would use a smaller pumpkin as a fermentor because the risk of spoiling the beer from critters in the pumpkin or getting into the fermentor is really high.

My only question is I’m wondering how much pumpkin flavor they got into the beer. Generally the pumpkin meat is cooked a bit before it ever goes near the beer or soon to be beer because the sugars are complex and need to be broken down a bit before they are super useful. Cooking does exactly that. Now converting the sugars is not essential for flavor transfer because I’m sure they were looking to get flavor not sugars out of their pumpkin. From what I have read, cooking and converting helps transfer more flavors than just dumping it in. During the mash the temps were high enough to convert a bit.

For my pumpkin beer (recipe coming tomorrow) I want to get the flavor of the pumpkin, but I would also like to grab some sugars from it. So I will be cooking it till it is soft. More details to come tomorrow but experimenting with pumpkin mash tuns and fermenters has got me thinking. I promise I will stop with the pumpkin posting soon I’m just excited by the prospect of making a delicious pumpkin beer. That reminds me, Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale is now sitting in my fridge  🙂