Beer Making Day

Its been a while since I made a batch of beer!  I decided to make a batch of basic Porter, today.  I use BeerSmith ( 1.4 for my recipe design.  The recipe below is a pretty middle of the road modern Porter, just to get my feet wet again.  Eventually, I want to start working on a more authentic Porter that is slightly more traditional.  Porter was originally a beer that was made in massive quantities, and was actually used as sustenance by the working class.

Back in those days grains were roasted over open flame, as such they had more of the flavor of the wood smoke on them.  Second, Porter was originally made from 100% Brown Malt.  This was just about as dark as they could make a malt back then because they didn’t have the temperature control that processes have today.  Any darker than Brown, and they would burn the malt.  So, to make a dark beer like Porter they used 100% brown malt.  But, brown malt doesn’t mash very well.  Most of the enzymes that convert the malt starch into sugar have been damaged, so the conversion was VERY slow, and incomplete.  This would have made for a full bodied beer.

Finally, they didn’t have refrigeration back then.  But, they made enough porter during the winter months to last for a complete year.  That is a LOT of beer…to feed all of England beer for 12 months.  The thing is, they had to store the beer for that long, too.  By the end of the year they beer was getting stale or sour.  They would then mix this sour beer with some fresh beer to make the final product.  But, it was undoubtedly sour.

So, that’s my goal: a smokey, slightly acetic (sour) full-bodied dark Porter.  But, to start…I’m just making a modern Porter.

Since its been 2 years (!!!) since I last made a beer, I seem to be a little out of practice.  It took longer than it used to, and I didn’t get the same extract efficiency (79%) that I’m used to getting (83%).  In addition, my strike temperature was off, too.  My mash started too high, I added 13 of the 14 qts of water, and the mash temp shot up to 156.5 degrees.  I held back the last qt and stirred vigorously, but the mash temp wouldn’t come down.  So, I added some 1/2 qt of 100 degree water but this pulled the temp down too much (to 148). I added back some 200 degree water but, I only managed to pull it back to 152.  I should have run inside to calculate the right temperature adjustment….oh well.  I knew better.

After I got everything going, I downloaded an Android app for my phone.  That way I can calculate this stuff without running back inside.  Anyway, at the 15 minute mark, I drew off 2 qts of wort and brought it to a boil…sort of a decoction.  This brought the mash temp up another few degrees.  I did this again at the next 15 minute mark.  This boiling would have denatured some of the enzymes, maybe that’s why my efficiency was off.



Brewer: Tom Hampton Alcohol: 4.56 % OG: 1.053 SG
Category: Robust Porter Cal: 239 cal/pint FG: 1.018 SG
Category Num: 15 A Date Brewed: 10/8/2011 Batch: 6.50 gal
Medium to full body, slightly dry. Well balanced, low to medium malt flavor and hop bitterness. Dark brown to black color. Medium to no hop flavor. Low ester, fruitiness, diacytl. Low to med carbonation.

Amount Item Type % or IBU
8.33 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.2 SRM) Grain 72.73 %
1.04 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 9.09 %
1.04 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 9.09 %
0.52 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 4.55 %
0.52 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 4.55 %
0.75 oz Nugget [13.90 %] (60 min) Hops 27.6 IBU
0.30 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
12.00 gm Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) Yeast-Ale

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Connect with Facebook




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.