Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jolly Pumpkin Experimental Batch

For my next batch I decided to venture into the world of culturing up yeast from the bottle of a non-filtered commerical beer. I figured what better yeast to culture then the house strain from Jolly Pumpkin (if they really even have one specific house strain). I have always loved the aroma and flavor their yeast provides the Noel de Calabaza so I decided to use the dregs from two bottles of that beer to get this one going. I started the processing of growing up the yeast about a month ago and I'm at the point where I have a really healthy batch of yeast. I'm sure the character of the yeast and ratio of regular "Belgian yeast" to wild yeast has change over the course of building this starter up but it's still smelling and tasting great. If you are wondering what the heck I'm talking about take a look at this article. I can't wait to get this beer brewed and in bottles. Here is the recipe.

5 Gallon Batch

Brew Day = 09 Jan 2010

6 lbs of German Pilsner Malt
4 lbs of American two row
1.5 lb of raw wheat
.5 lb Barley (Flaked)
.25 Crystal 80

60 Minute – 0.5 oz of Nelson Sauvin (11.5 AA)
30 Minute – 0.5 oz of Simcoe
KO – 1 oz of Centennial and 1 oz of Amarillo
Dry – 1 oz of Centennial and 1 oz of Amarillo

Used the dregs from a 2007 Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza bottle. Did an initial starter on the 2007 bottle and then a second step up and added the dregs from the 2009 bottle. Grew it up 4 times and then will do a starter before using.

Pre-Boil Gravity = 1.041
OG = 1.057
FG = 1.012
ABV = 5.8%
IBU = 32

Mash at 149 degrees F with 3.8 gallons of water

6.7 gallons

90 Minute Boil

I'm still tossing around the idea of adding some fruit to the secondary or maybe even some honey and letting it sit in the secondary fermentor for a month or two. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? I know the Jolly Pumpkin culture has some brett and other wild yeast in it and want to make sure some of that character comes through. Although I'm also dosing this with a nice aroma addition of some American hops. Basically this recipe is roughly based on Jolly Pumpkins Bam Bier. Open to suggestions. Let it take it's course of a regular 3 week fermentation. Or let it sit through a longer secondary process and introduce some fruit and/or honey into the secondary?


  1. Finally looked up what my J.P. strain was built up from...2 bottles of La Roja, 1 Bam Noire, 1 Blanca, and 1 Noel. I clearly remember the Noel being the most potent of all the bottles. I even put it in the fridge to calm down the explosive fermentation but it kept going days later. Good Luck! Can't wait to try it out.

  2. Mike do you remember what temp you kept the fermentation temp at? Was thinking of starting it around 67 for first 5 days and then bring it up to mid 70's to finish it out. Just did one last build up tonight and within 2 hours it was going crazy and smelling great.

  3. I fermented at 70. 93% AA in 5 days.

  4. I read the wrong recipe...JP saison was pitched at 84 and fermented at 75. I can't remember for certain but I believe the base yeast is Westmalle. It's in BLAM. This one went to 90% AA in 7 days.

  5. So just finished the brew day. Got this one down to around 60 degrees when I pitched the yeast. Will try to keep it below 65 for the first day or two and then will let it go into the mid 70's. It literally started within an hour of pitching the yeast. Steady bubbling up through the blow off bucket..yikes!