And Chesterfield, the Imperial Pumpkin Ale is…. ALIVE!
After 7 hours, five adults, one baby, two dogs and a lot of beer later, we successfully turned a bunch of LME, grains, hops, water, yeast, pumpkins and spices into amazing beer that will wet your whistle, sooth the soul and be remembered fondly for many years to come.
Though I would love to tell the FULL story of the day and find it fascinating to reminisce, I’m sure it would be both long and boring to most readers out there, soo…. here’s the amazing, spectacular, go-bannanas highlights of the day!
1.) I got to carve two pumpkins into harbingers of evil and then listen to them wale as I roasted them whole in a 325F oven!
2.) After an hour of cooking at 325F, we cracked ’em open and scooped out their yummy, yummy innards into a giant bowl. From there, Lauren got down and dirty and using her heat impervious hands, mushed up 5 1/2 lbs of pumpkin meat into a delicious mush of pumpkiny goodness.
3.) We put the mush in a cooler along with 22 cups of 70C water and 2 1/2 pounds of Crystal Malts… performing our first “successful” Mash! Josh looked after the process for an our and regulated the temperature like a champ, trying to keep it at a consistent level… which is harder than you may think using just a cooler! After roughly an hour, we ended up with just about 3 gallons of yummy, yummy Pumpkin/Malt wort. The smell totally reminded us of fall and was truly “crazy awesome!”
4.) Transfering the newly Mashed wort into the boil kettle was a thing of wonder. Not only did it smell great, but the color and food chunks was just awe-inspiring. It was definitely a slow process with our little strainer and TONS of matter to strain, but it was definitely cool to see. AND, through a very advance scientific process of Lauren tasting the pumpkin pieces, we were postive that the pumpkin meat was full extracted of sugars!
5.) We boiled the wort for 60 minutes, and when it was close to being done, I realized it did not boil off enough water! The volume would be too high for the fermentation carboy! What to do! So… we RAPIDLY boiled it for an extra 10 minutes and got down to a good level!
6.) My baby got to witness his first brewing session and see what the wonderful world of beer making was all about. Everyone got a chance to hold the little guy and witness his magestic radiance. However, the experience was a bit too awesome for him and he would often get over-stimulated by it all or just fall alseep entirely.
7.) During the boil, we made full use of our outdoor brewing compound as the rain sporadically sprinkled. Also, Cameron started construction on our undgeround brewhouse! Soon enough we are out of the family kitchen and into our underground lair of ingredients, supplies and KEGS!
8.) In the last 10 min of the boil, we added the proper amount of amazing spices to the wort. We then made “Spice Cocktails” using the same amount of spices soaked in shots of vodka. We plan on adding single droppers of the spices to a small amount of beer until we get a flavor that we like. Then, bing, bang boom – we have the perfect, delicious beer on our hands!
9.) And, after the beer finished boiling, finished cooling, finished aerating, and finished getting pitched with yeast, we popped an airlock on it (which would soon blow off) and watched as it settled into a multilayered magnificence of proteins, starches and other “things”. Very cool.
10.) Chesterfield had an OG of 1.085 and the number was definitely backed by his crazy, never-ending fermentation! He has been fermenting pretty heavily for about a week, starting only hours after being stoed away. The first few days definitely being the biggest, with yeast blowing off the airlock and continueing to pour out the blow-off tube and overflowing the mason jar the tube was connected to!
I can’t wait to see what this beer will turn into! In a few days, we should be able to do rack Chesterfield to the keg, do some flavor adjustments and taste it for the first time. I’m so excited!