Recipe Type: All Grain
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.25
Original Gravity: 1.055
Final Gravity: 1.014
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 10 days @ 60F
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 4 days @ 70F
Tasting Notes: Very clean, crisp taste. Almost lagerish. Wheaty finish.
Bradford's Prudence - Thanksgiving Table Beer
Batch Size: 5.25 gallons
Boil: 90 minutes
-9 lbs. of Pale Ale Malt (US 2-row)
-2 lbs. of Caramel Wheat
-1 lb. of Flaked Corn
-1 lb. of Crushed Walnuts
-1 oz. of Cascade leaf hops for 60 minutes
-1 Whole Pumpkin, diced and boiled for an hour with 3 quarts of water, seeds and all. The extract from this boil should be used in the final sparge water, with clear water making up the difference.
10 days @ 60F
4 days @ 70F
With this beer, my goal was not to make a "pumpkin beer", but to make a beer that the pilgrims may have actually had on the table at the first thanksgiving meal. This meant doing some research to find out what ingredients would have been available to them in 1621 time.
We know from mayflower inventory lists that they were definitely beer drinkers, and lack of beer was their primary reason for landing at Plymouth:
"William Bradford noted in his diary that Beer, or the lack thereof, was responsible for the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock. The long voyage to America was a horrifying trial of bad food and drink. Water couldn't be trusted to be clean and beer was the only liquid many would drink. They were in desperate need of a new supply!"
Hence, this beer's name: Bradford's Prudence.
We also know that they brought some barrels of barley with them and tried to plant a crop during their first year, but the crop failed. This led me to surmise that they may have used less barley, and supplemented with other things more readily available to them like wheat, corn and nuts.
Thus, the grain bill is: pale ale malt, caramel wheat, flaked corn, and crushed walnuts.
I also found out that at times they were so desperate for beer that they even resorted to brewing with "pumpkins, parsnips and walnut tree chips."
So there is pumpkin in this beer, but instead of mashing it or putting in the boil, I diced up a whole pumpkin, "mashed" it and boiled it separately and got about 3 quarts of pumpkiny liquid from it with a gravity of 1.014. I then added this pumpkin liquid to the final sparge water so that most would pass through the mash and not get soaked up.
As for hops, we know from Bamforth that hops didn't become widely grown in America until around 1629. Thus, any hops in this beer should be minimal, assuming that if they brought any from Holland, they would have used it very sparingly.
Thus, the hop schedule is: 1 oz. of Cascade leaf hops for the whole boil.
At this point, there is no way of knowing whether they spiced the beer or not, so I guess that's up to individual taste. I may just leave this one as is. It tastes good to me when i sampled from the primary.
For yeast, I used S-04 since it's an old, proven strain with English roots and fermented at 60F. I couldn't find a specific date for the Plymouth thanksgiving feast, so I figured 60F was a safe bet for that time of year.
It's a simple recipe. Nothing fancy. But, beer in America in 1621 was probably anything but complicated. I plan on leaving this in the primary for about 2 weeks and then bottling and aging cold in the bottle until Thanksgiving.