Sunday, August 26, 2012

Brewing: Pumpkin Mole Stout

Old Photo. I lost my camera in Baltimore last week.

The idea for this beer came out of a desire to make a Pumpkin beer, although I am not a big fan, and to further experiment with some ideas by the "other guy" that blogs on this site. That was a slight jab at Doug. He has been living in Belize and has to drink the same beer all the time. There is not much he can do here, EXCEPT, throw ideas my way about using mole in a beer. If you do a simple search, a few homebrewers have published their successes at using mole. Commercially I have been seeking out New Holland's El Mole Ocho, New Belgium's Lips of Faith Cocoa Mole (which I missed on tap in Baltimore on a weekend trip last weekend. The tap list was 95 deep. I was bound to miss one), and the various others out there that are probably incredibly difficult to get your hands on.

With so much going into this batch, the ideas of using actual pumpkin seemed to be another time sensitive (under 15 mins) "thing" to consider. What the hell though. I picked up a few 1lb boxes of organic pumpkin puree. It seemed to be the best idea based on research. This was only a 3.5 gallon batch by the way (1.074 gravity). I made a nice little concoction of the necessary "pie" spices. The major issue was going to be anything too overpowering with both the mole mix and pumpkin mix. I was looking for more mole with a bit of a pumpkin coming through rather than the other way around. With everything going into it, the mole, was a cheapened version of what it should be. I drew 2 quarts of wort at 20 mins and kept a low flame on it on the stovetop. I added 2oz of cacao powder, ancho chili powder,  and a dash of paprika and red pepper. At 1 min I threw in a deseeded pablano pepper for some extra heat. More chocolate will come in the secondary as I am sure it will be needed.

The recipe of the stout was a slight variation of last years Chocolate Stout, but with more oats, more flaked barley and a Canadian Pale Malt instead of Maris Otter. I used WLP San Diego Strain on this one too. I love this strain and the blow off came with in the first 6 hours. The smell is pretty delightful, but I must admit that the pepper at flame out is scaring me a bit. 

Pumpkin Mole Stout
Pale Malt, Munich, Flaked Oats, Flaked Barley, Chocolate Malt, Crystal 120, 
Roasted Barley, Carafa III.
Fuggle Hops
WLP San Diego Strain
16 oz Pumpkin Puree, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, All Spice.
Cacao Powder, Ancho Chili Powder, Red Pepper, Paprika, Pablano Pepper

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hoppy Pale Wheat

Hoppy Pale Wheat or Wheat IPA? It is a style that I have not brewed often enough to find what I am looking for in an end result. I can't even say that there are many commercial examples that I have had. A few years ago one of my local bottle shops parted with a 3 Floyds Gumballhead. We never see 3 Floyds in PA (not even in Philadelphia). It was great beer none-the-less. I guess Lagunitas Lil-Sumthin Sumthin weighs in on this category also despite the higher 7% ABV. I am sure that there are plenty of others, but I don't seek out too many of them unless they are on tap somewhere.

Brewing a low ABV hoppy brew gets a bit confusing for me and has been requiring tweaking recipes multiple times before brewing, especially with a grain bill that has very little specialty malts and wheat as the predominate base malt. By the way, the OG on this brew was 1.042. On our Session IPA a few months ago we used a pound of hops, but with a Vienna/ 2 Row base, Crystal 60, and Honey Malts there was plenty for the hops to mellow out with. The grist for this brew was Wheat (50%), 2 Row(45%), Crystal 40 and Caravienne and Simcoe,  Cascade, Amarillo, and Citra for Dry Hopping. Overall 8oz of hop madness. I've also been washing my yeast whenever possible. My 2nd generation Cali Yeast was used for this.

Drowning in Wheat - John Kinsella

They’d been warned
on every farm
that playing
in the silos
would lead to death.
You sink in wheat.
Slowly. And the more
you struggle the worse it gets.
‘You’ll see a rat sail past
your face, nimble on its turf,
and then you’ll disappear.’
In there, hard work
has no reward.
So it became a kind of test
to see how far they could sink
without needing a rope
to help them out.
But in the midst of play
rituals miss a beat—like both
leaping in to resolve
an argument
as to who’d go first
and forgetting
to attach the rope.
Up to the waist
and afraid to move.
That even a call for help
would see the wheat
trickle down.
The painful consolidation
of time. The grains
in the hourglass
grotesquely swollen.
And that acrid
chemical smell
of treated wheat
coaxing them into
a near-dead sleep.