Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gushing gourd

If a barrel is 31 gallons, and a firkin 11, then how much is a pumpkin?

From the looks of the one Iron Hill brewer Chris LaPierre tapped, about 2 gallons (or so) of nicely spiced, harvest season ale.

Chris ushered in the pumpkin ale era with the Wednesday evening tapping. That's the visage of Groucho Marx on the pumpkin below, by the way.

"We started with the grain bill for an amber ale and took 250 pounds of long neck pie pumpkins, roasted them in the convection oven until they were golden brown – I had to show up at 5 o'clock in the morning because I had to be out of the kitchen before the kitchen staff came in and got ready to cook ..." Chris says.

The roasted pumpkin went into the mash. Spices – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove and vanilla bean – were added at the end of the boil instead of finishing hops. The result is a great pumpkin ale at 5.7% ABV.

But wait, there's more.

"The imperial pumpkin ale is coming out in a couple of weeks. It's much bigger – more pumpkins, more malt ... we also added four gallons of molasses," Chris says.

That brew will be a little over 9% ABV, "a little bit darker, bigger and a lot stronger," Chris notes.

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