Long brew day

Mashing the pumpkin

I headed up to Snohomish this weekend to visit one of my brew buddies Scott. We were going to attempt a 10 gallon batch of pumpkin ale together first, then we’d each brew our own beers: He a Belgian-style brown, and I went for a big IPA. We started at noon – much later than we ought to have, and brewed straight to 10:30pm. Friends from Bellingham came down to hang out, assuming like we did, that we’d be done by 6pm. However, our timing was a little off.

The pumpkin ale (recipe forthcoming) took much longer to mash & lauter than we expected, and we didn’t finish the boil until after 6 p.m. I suppose this is ok since it was a double batch, though we only pulled off like 8 gallons instead of the expected 10. Both the hot break and the krausen have a sickly lovely orange cruft on top showing that it was indeed a pumpkin ale. I baked the pumpkin down here in Portland and froze it in bricks, so they looked somewhat like illicit materials, along with the hops. We couldn’t resist doing a “drug bust” picture, but without guns, the only thing we could find was an axe. Not quite the effect we were going for, but funny in its own right.

Pumpkin Bust

Scott’s bruin went well and finished a while before mine and looks and smells exactly like you’d hope. The Imperial had some issues because the grain was so plentiful, and I formulated the recipe for 8 gallons, forgetting that I only had a 7 gallon carboy. “Idiot” I was, and though the car had been full of brewing gear, I had not brought a third carboy. Needless to say, the mash wasn’t that efficient since I cut it short, and the gravity was a little lower than expected, finishing at 1.074. Still, it smells delightful, and the car ride home was hoppy.

I had to roll down the windows several times on the drive home for fear that I would put myself to sleep with all the carbon dioxide that the two fermenting beers were exhaling. I did make it, and every time I pass the IPA, I catch a ripe, grassy smell.

5 Responses to “Long brew day”

  • I don’t know…I think the axe makes it funnier than if we had guns. Shoulda got one of you too.

    Good times! Thanks for coming up, and thanks to Joe for letting us use his brew kettle as our HLT. That was a life saver.

    I brewed a Wit yesterday, half way through thinking…why am I brewing again so soon. But once done I was happy to see 3 carboys of beer in my closet.

  • Seems like the brew day not going as planned is catchy.


    Like I said over there. Always good to hear the real story. I look forward to hearing about how these turned out.

  • I found this post while looking for info on mashing pumpkins, but I’m a winemaker and I’m looking to make a pumpkin wine (more detail here). I’ve made beer before and even did a few partial mash batches, but I feel a little out of my element. Can you give me some pointers?

    I was thinking of baking the pumpkin first, then chopping or pureeing it and adding enough water to cover. I’m mashing pumpkin without base malt, so I’d add amylase (how much?) and heat to 150F. I’d try to hold it there by pouring it into a picnic cooler for 30 minutes, then I’d strain.

    Does that sound like a good approach? I’ve heard some people use rice hulls to make straining a little easier; what do you think about that?


  • Hi Erroll,

    I’ve left a comment on your site. May be worthless, but it was a fun mental exercise.

  • Thanks for the quick (and far from worthless!) reply. I hope to finalize my recipe soon.


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