Sunday, January 2, 2011

Schoolhouse Porter

For the 2010-2011 brewing season, I decided to focus on porters (although I'll certainly be brewing some other styles, too). So, it seemed appropriate to start off with a batch of just that, courtesy of a kit from Beer, Beer, and More Beer (there happens to be a store within a 45 minute drive of here). This is kit #168, which they title "Brown Porter." I decided to jazz up the name a little.

Schoolhouse Porter
  • 7 lb. light malt liquid extract
  • 1 lb. English Brown malt
  • 1 lb. Crystal 40L malt
  • 1/2 lb. Chocolate malt
  • 1.5 oz. Vanguard hops (bittering)
  • 1 oz. Cascade hops (aroma)
  • 1 tablet Whirlfloc clarifier
  • 1 packet Safale S-04 dry yeast
  • I filled my brew pot with three gallons of water (tap temperature), added the malts, and turned on the heat. Following the directions, I left the grains in until the water reached 170 F. This took about 35 minutes. Then, I gently sparged them with about a quart of warm water.
  • I heated the water to boiling, turned off the heat (I'm using an electric stove), and stirred in the liquid malt. Then, I turned the heat back on.
  • Once the wort was boiling again, I added the 1.5 oz. of Vanguard hops.
  • After 55 minutes, I added the Whirlfloc clarifier. Apparently, this stuff is similar in function to Irish moss.
  • After another 4 minutes (59 minutes from the start of the boil), I added the Cascade hops.
  • After an additional one minute of boiling (for 60 minutes total boiling), I removed the pot from the heat and chilled it in an ice bath (my cooling coil was on loan).
  • While waiting for the wort to cool, I hydrated the yeast (as recommended in the directions) in one cup of water.
  • Once the wort had cooled sufficiently, I poured the wort into the fermenter, topped it up to five gallons, and pitched the yeast.
  • The starting gravity was 1.060 (with an estimated original gravity for the kit given as 1.046-1.052; not sure why I got such a high graviry). The wort had a wonderfully rich brown color.
  • This process was all started on 29 December 2010. Because I had to do another batch and only have one primary fermenter, I transferred it to a glass secondary fermenter on 1 January 2011. This was a little sooner than I wanted, but I had to brew while I had the opportunity. After these three days, the s.g. read as 1.026, suggesting ~4.5% alcohol by volume. The beer had maintained the nice brown hue, and also had a great chocolatey taste. I hope this is maintained after settling and bottling! The secondary fermenter continued to bubble steadily for two more days, so I suspect the gravity will drop a little more yet.

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