Fir love, pumpkin ale update

The pumpkin update isn’t a very substantial one; it’s that the fermentation is done and tomorrow is bottling day as soon as I can get to the shop for some more bottles and sanitizer. I don’t have a photo of the sludge at the bottom of the fermenter, but it’s really pretty fabulous. I’ll see if I can’t get a shot tomorrow before I mess everything up. There are four distinct layers! The bottom one is probably pumpkin sediment from the boil, the second is likely to be yeast, and the top one is probably the post-fermentation dreck of the can of (preservative-free) pumpkin I stuck in last week for grins.

That’s only three layers, I know. I have absolutely no idea what the fourth one is. More yeast? Gremlins? Who knows.

I found a handy tip for making sure the spices in your beer are nice and potent, because fermenting time and bottle time do mellow them: make a mix of the spices you used in the brew in and steep them in an ounce or two of spirits for a bit (I used rum), then add them to taste at the same time you add your priming sugar. I forgot the ginger in the Most Serene Republic of Pumpkin during the boil, so I’m going to see if I can make up for that this way.

Now, the fir love! I was down at the liquor store a few days ago and spotted Douglas Fir Eau de Vie from Clear Creek Distillery! (scroll down) I didn’t get any, because that’s a bit steep for me, but–without discounting the fine work done by the Clear Creek guys–it seems like it ought to be easy enough to attempt a reasonable facsimile at home. Don’t you think? Some fir, some brandy, some time? Hell, it works for vodka-based liqueurs. I’m going to give it a whirl.


4 thoughts on “Fir love, pumpkin ale update

  1. Matt says:

    Do you have access to Fir? I’ve seriously been considering making a beer with it. If you don’t have access then get some Fir Tip Tea from Juniper Ridge it’s really quite good.

    • brewingape says:

      I know I’m going to brew with it soon. There’s a ton of fir around here, so I can just go snip a few tips off–even if it’s not spring, and the flavor IS different at other times of year. Apparently the spring tips are highest in Vit C, thus the lemony flavor. Seems like the mellower flavor would be great to bitter up a high-octane spiced winter beer, don’cha think? In the spring I’m going to experiment with swapping out the coriander in a witbier for fir.

  2. Ben Messina says:

    “…Steve McCarthy worked on developing the perfect Oregon version of a tree spirit, an Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir, for ten years.”

    Yeah, no problem!

    Kidding, I’m guessing you could make a pretty solid approximation. Especially with fresh buds. Sounds tasty.

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