On a cold, rainy weekend, we went to visit friends in Aveyron and spent the two nights in their beautiful holiday cottage, Bellevue. We went down the meadow and collected chestnuts. A few. Many. So many that we split the harvest amongst ourselves, and we came home with more than 4kg of them. My SO made some chestnut cream, but we found it very fiddly to peel them, so I wondered if I couldn’t find some process to brew a beer without having to go through the peelage pain.

Most of the Internet uses chestnuts to brew gluten-free beer, which I’m not that interested in. I did find a discussion on BeerSmith forum that inspired the following recipe:

For 20 litres:

  • 4kg Pale Ale malt
  • 250g Chocolate Carafa 900
  • 3.6kg Chestnuts
  • 40g Northern Brewer (9%) 60 mins
  • 500g Muscovado sugar
  • 600g Blond sugar
  • Safbrew S-04

(This is sort of a Christmas beer: I used leftover hops, it doesn’t really matter what goes in.)

Clean the chestnuts, chop them in half, boil 20 mins. Reserve the water, roast the chestnuts 20 mins at 200°C in the oven. Chop the chestnuts further in a food processor.

Set the malt first in the strike water, then add the chestnuts and the cooking water (there’s sugar in the water, and we want a bed of malt to avoid clogging the filter with chestnut puree.)

Standard infusion mash 1h@65°C

Add the sugars at the beginning of the boil 60 mins boil

The wort tastes very nice, with an OG of 14°B (1057).

I’ll update the post with info on FG and tasting notes when it gets done around Xmas.