Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Revival 2013 Harvest Ale - Pecan & Pumpkin Porter

I like to do Fall harvest beers, but I always try to use some ingredient or technique that I have never tried before. In previous years I have used yams, smoked pumpkins, or unorthodox base styles.

This year I went somewhat traditional in that a standard pumpkin was used. The base style was pretty straight forward as well. What was new is that I used nuts in the brewing process for the first time.

Nuts do not seem to be an ingredient that fits well into the brewing process due to the fact that nuts are mainly fat (oil) and protein. One way to get around that problem is to use a flavoring extract, but where is the challenge in that?

Pecans are actually seeds of a drupe fruit from hickory trees and not a true nut. None the less, they are still full of fats and seem like a great way to ruin good beer. That said I know a number of brewers are using real nuts and making fine beer with them. The first step in my quest to use these nuts was to roast them.

Prepare the Pecans:
Roast them at 350 degrees until they start to smoke just a little. Take them out of the oven and place them in brown paper bags. As they cool, shake them around. It will not take long before you see the paper soaking up some oils. After that, smash them and roast them again, and repeat the paper bag rest with new bags. At this point you should be fine, but you could keep repeating this until you stop picking up much oil. Before adding them to the mash, try and break the pecans up really well. I thought about putting them through my grain mill, but I decided against it as I had already milled my grains and didn't want to leave any pecan oil on my mills rollers.

Prepare Pumpkin:
There is plenty of info out there on using pumpkin to make beer. It seems everyone has an opinion. I guess you can sum them up into three basic methods: 1) Roast a pumpkin 2) Use canned pumpkin 3) Don't even bother with the pumpkin.

I fall squarely into the first method. I only make this style of beer once a year. If I made more of it, maybe I would change my method. Since I make this style just once a year, I am going to with the method that I feel gives me the most control over my ingredients. If you are going to use a real pumpkin, the only important thing is that you get the proper kind. You do not want your standard carving style pumpkin. These things have very little flesh. You need to find the types that are meant for baking. This year we used a pumpkin that a friend grew. It was a really nice Cinderella type pumpkin. You can see in the pictures just how thick the walls are. To prepare, just cut it up and bake in the oven until it is soft and somewhat browned on the outside. Then let it cool then remove the outer skin. Your pumpkin is ready to be added to your mash.

Pecan & Pumpkin Porter (14 gallons/1.051 OG)
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
20 lbs 4.0 ozPale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)Grain174.7 %
2 lbs 9.6 ozWheat - White Malt (Briess) (2.3 SRM)Grain29.6 %
1 lbs 5.6 ozCaramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)Grain35.0 %
12.9 ozChocolate (Briess) (350.0 SRM)Grain43.0 %
12.9 ozChocolate Malt (450.0 SRM)Grain53.0 %
12.8 ozCara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)Grain63.0 %
8.0 ozMidnight Wheat (550.0 SRM)Grain71.8 %
11.50 lbPumpkin (Mash 60.0 mins)Other8-
2.00 lbRoasted Pecans (Mash 60.0 mins)Other9-
0.75 ozApollo [18.50 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop1021 IBUs
0.50 ozCentennial [10.00 %] - Boil 30.0 minHop115.6 IBUs
2.00 ozGoldings, East Kent leaf [5.00 %] - Boil 5.0 minHop122.6 IBUs
1.50 tspPumpkin Pie Spice (Boil 0.0 mins)Spice13-
2.0 pkgNottingham dry yeastYeast14-

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