Cthulhu Milk Stout, and a pumpkin kit

My cat Cthulhu is the cutest cat, period.  He’s a sweet and gregarious fellow who wins the heart of everyone who meets him.

img_61901
Here he is, helping with a bottling day.

Whenever I check on my beers, he likes to tag along, bumping into the fermentors and sniffing the airlocks.

Cthulhu is also a famous dairy fiend, and unrepentant beggar of human-food in general.  As such, it seemed natural that his beer would be a milk stout.  I’d been making a lot of pretty high alcohol beers lately, so I wanted this to be a decent pub-stout of around 4%.

Recipe:img_61931

  • 1lb, 6oz US 2 row
  • 3oz roasted barley
  • 2oz Caramel 40
  • 2oz munich
  • 2oz chocolate
  • 2oz flaked barley
  • 2oz oats
  • .12oz Kent Goldings at 60
  • .12oz Kent Goldings at 30
  • .12oz Kent Goldings at 0
  • 30z lactose at f/o
  • 1/2pkt US-05

I mashed in high with 3 quarts at 165, dropped to 152, held for 60.  Mashed out to 170, sparged with 170 degree water.  Boiled for 70, hops on the schedule.  OG came in at a nice 1.052.  Chilled to 63, pitched the yeast directly, aerated, and put it in the closet with my evaporation setup.  Brewed on a cold day intentionally to try to avoid any gross off flavors.  This had a pretty good sized pitch and not-too-high gravity, so I expect a shorter ferment time than my many super slow beers I’ve made lately. [As of this writing, the Berliner Weisse is still not done bubbling at ten weeks.]

Pumpkin Kit:

I’d bought a pumpkin kit at the same time as the Cascade IPA kit back when I took advantage of a too-good-to-pass-up holiday sale.  As such, I can’t really attest to what is in it.

I love pumpkin beer, and don’t think it should be relegated to just fall, so I saved this one for a spring release, and will call it Hallowspring.

img_61971

There are many discussions in brewing circles about when to get pumpkin flavors into a beer.  This tried-and-true kit added one cup of pumpkin, one cinnamon stick, and five cloves halfway through the boil.  So far is smells fantastic, so I may borrow the technique and apply it to different base styles later (perhaps in a redux of my failed P:SL.)  The recipe gave an option of either baking some fresh pumpkin yourself, or using canned pumpkin. Since I can’t get fresh pumpkin in February, I used organic canned pumpkin, but I spread it into a dish, brushed it with honey and maple syrup, and baked it for half an hour at 350 to get some carmelization into it.

The beer came in at 1.051, smelling fantastic.  I tried to chill it down to about 68, and brewed on a cold day.  It slowed down activity drastically after two days and is currently conditioning.

Bottled: 3/14/17

Finished at 1.013, 5%, Bottled with 3.5Tbsp honey; volume came in short

Tasted:

Welp, calculating my sugar after the fact (again), and I realize that with the short volume and the intended carbonation, this was about double primed.

This became my first geyser gusher.  The first bottle rocketed foam up to the ceiling, into my face, my hair, the cat….
IMG_6334[1]On future bottles I would chill it for days, crack the bottle, let it gush a while, then pour.

This beer’s flavor is great.  Cloves from the spice and the yeast, a nice cinnamon note, very clear pumpkin.  However, it came out very thin.  This could be because of my thermometer issues, and perhaps I mashed lower than I thought.  It could also be that the squash leant extra fermentables and thinned out the beer.  It’s not my favorite, and maybe I’ll try a  similar beer (not a kit, but aiming to match the style) with a higher mash and some adjustments to the grain bill to add a bit of heft.

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