Monday, October 5, 2015

Pumpkin Weizenbock

I decided--fairly randomly, although triggered by the thoughts of fermenting in a pumpkin--to make a pumpkin beer.  While my first thought was a oatmeal stout, I quickly decided that a weizenbock would work nicely.  I fell in love with the style after trying the original, Avantius (absolutely delicious...and propagating the yeast should be possible).
While I decided to not ferment in a pumpkin--too much work/cost for not much in the way of results (beyond being able to say I did it)--I did use fresh pumpkin in the recipe.

First Wild Brew

I'm excited to say that I finally pitched yeast on my first wild brew.  I've been wanting to do this for quite a while, simply out of curiousity.  The results being, that back in June I "harvested" (it was airborn) assorted yeast, microbes, and I don't know what else from the garden--this is known as an "ambient" starter (as opposed to one started from fruit skins, or flower petals).  See the prior blog post (here) for the journal of the starters.

What this is, is a semi-spontaneous fermentation.  I say the semi, since a completely spontaneous fermentation would have used the full volume of wort, and no starters to make sure it won't just go bad--too risky for me.  For information on Spontaneous fermentations, like lambics, read here.  The Milk the Funk wiki, and their FB group are both very good sources of information.  This article is also a good one.
The wild capture starter in the middle is the one being used.

Spontaneous Starters

For information on the process, see Bootleg Biology's page on the subject.

Starter 1 and 2: 500ml water, boiled with ½ cup DME for 10 minutes, some yeast nutrients were also added.  OG should be around 1.06-1.07.  Divided into two mason jars, which are being swirled vigorously regularly.  Both are tightly covered in foil.

Starter 1 (Hereafter, Apple blossom) received a number of blossoms from the apple tree, once cooled to body temp.

Starter 2 (Hereafter, Garden Starter) was set out in the garden, next to the greenhouse and by the small crabapple.  It was covered in muslin to keep chunks out, and left out from 5pm to midnight (before bringing it in, I swirled it uncovered for several minutes).  Temperature was 70s during the day and cooled to the 40s.