Hey, hi! It’s another long holiday weekend here. No major plans in store, and I’m kind of thrilled.

The morning dawned very bright and cold. We filled the kitchen with the delicious smells of fresh pumpkin waffles and deep, dark espresso. By nine o’clock it was grain-grinding time to begin the pumpkin sour ale.


Yesterday I muscled into that thirteen-pound pumpkin, roasted the chunks (+ seeds — you’re welcome ), scooped out and pureed the flesh, and re-roasted everything to extract water and caramelize slightly. A process, but smelled great. Some of the puree was used in our morning waffles, and the remainder found its way into our homebrew this afternoon.

A quick and dirty run-down of the sour pumpkin ale brewing method for those interested: First up is the mash process, which is simply the addition of hot water to the crushed grains to make the wort. This is the putzy stage with various temperature-specific holds, rinses and sparging, during which time my puree goes in. Next comes the boiling and addition of hops. Quickly cool everything with an immersion chiller and stir in cultivated yeast starter before transferring the liquid into a carboy to begin 2 to 3 weeks of fermentation. After that time is up it’s siphoned into a clean carboy for refining and a sour bacterial yeast is added. Now begins the agonizing 6- to 12-month wait while it’s racked (a secondary fermentation period). Wine-soaked American oak chips are added when thirty or so days of racking remain. As early as May or late as November 2015 — finally — it will be time to keg! Fun stuff, right?

So, other than that and some end-of-the-season yard work, we plan to enjoy each other’s company and r-e-l-a-x. Watch a few football games, food ninja some of our leftover spent grains from brewing into rolls or bread or maybe a bundt cake. As soon as I wrap up here the vanilla bean custard will be cool enough for running in the ice cream maker, then it’s time for make-up Friday night pizza prep. Whew. Busy day after all… how did that happen?

What are your weekend plans? Packed week ahead? Before you dig in, take a peek at my favorite links, won’t you?

Cheers, Heather

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Some interesting, fun, delicious, worthwhile reads:

  • An estimated 15 million babies worldwide are born premature each year, and more than one million of these babies do not survive their early birth. Next week on 17 November countries around the globe honor World Prematurity Day to raise awareness of prematurity and the concerns of preterm babies and their families. Please help spread the word.
  • “Against the Grain” — a comprehensive (albeit lengthy) look at gluten, via The New Yorker.
  • I just discovered the online journal Storyline. Relating to this recent entry about trusting your path.
  • An infographic of 11 magical, untranslatable words from other languages. I like Sobremesa (Spanish): the time spent after lunch or dinner talking to the people you shared the meal with.
  • This. Love delicata squash. And miso. And furikake!
  • Need a reason to enjoy a sparkly sip this week.
  • No reason needed for this super pretty immune-boosting carrot, grapefruit and mango smoothie.
  • And this week’s pinned words of wisdom… remember to trust your path!

A few things from HGN:

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p.s. I love hearing from you! Check back if you ask a question, because I’ll answer it here.

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