Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Batch 10: Papa Bear Porter: Primary Fermentation

The fermenting ramped up within 24 hours of pitching, and there was obvious airlock activity for seven days after that at a consistent 67°. I halved two vanilla beans, and cut the halves into 1" pieces, which I added to the sanitized 5-gallon carboy. I racked the beer to the carboy for secondary fermentation after nine total days in the primary and measured the specific gravity at 1.014, which (if my measurements were correct) puts the ABV at nearly 8%. The sample had subtle coffee notes and strong chocolate flavors, a reversal from the previous batch. I'm planning to let the beer condition for four or five weeks before bottling.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Batch 10: Papa Bear Porter: Brewing Day

Today is a first for me; I'm introducing a friend to the joys of brewing. Clint H., welcome to the fold!
  1. Boil 4 gallons of water, and set aside to cool over night.
  2. Steep 1/2 lb. crystal 60L malt, 1/2 lb. chocolate malt, and 1/4 lb. black malt in 3 gallons of water at 160º ±10º for 30 minutes.
  3. Add 3.3 lb. of pale LME, and stir till dissolved.
  4. Bring to boil until break (approx. 20 minutes).
  5. Hop.
    1. 0.5 oz. Magnum hops T-60 minutes.
    2. 0.8 oz. Willamette hops T-40 minutes.
    3. 0.5 oz. Willamette hops T-20 minutes.
  6. Add half a tab of Whirlfloc T-10 min.
  7. Add 6.6 lb. of pale LME at knockout, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  8. Chill wort with ice bath and frozen water in soda bottles to below 70º.
  9. Siphon wort to to pail, leaving behind as much sediment as possible[1], and add cooled boiled water to just over 5 gallon-mark (or approx. 3 inches from top of pail).
  10. Measure original gravity.
  11. Pitch White Labs California Ale Yeast (WLP001).
  12. Aerate the wort by pouring back and forth between sanitized pails.
  13. Siphon into 6.5 gallon carboy primary fermenter, and affix airlock.
  14. Ferment in swamp cooler at 70º ±2º.
The original gravity was 1.074. I expect the final gravity to be around 1.017, which should put the ABV a little above 7%.

Our friends, Becky and Clint, and my wife. #NoFilter

Becky and Clint's daughter (above) with our daughter (below).


My daughter and I at the brew supply shop.
[1] - Turns out, there's just not much sediment to leave behind at this stage. It's not worth siphoning.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Batch 10: Papa Bear Porter: Ingredients

  • 9.9 lb. – Golden Light LME
  • 8 oz. – crystal 60L malt
  • 8 oz. – chocolate malt
  • 4 oz. – black malt 
  • 0.5 oz. – Magnum hops 
  • 1.25 oz. – Willamette hops
  • 1 vial – White Labs California Ale Yeast (WLP001) (for fermentation)
  • 1 packet – Wyeast American Ale Yeast (#1056) (for carbonation)
  • 2 – vanilla beans
  • 4 oz. – corn sugar
Typically, I would just go with the Wyeast American Ale Yeast (#1056), but the shop only had a single packet of that so I got the White Labs California Ale Yeast (WLP001), the identical strain, as well. The previous batches of this beer had been under carbonated so I'm trying something new and will be pitching again for bottling. Previously, a clerk at the shop suggested steeping the specialty grains, setting the tea aside, and only adding it to the wort at knockout to avoid drawing out the acridity of the chocolate and black malts. I did this with the previous two batches of this beer, but I've grown suspicious that it's really not necessary. Another clerk at the shop today confirmed that I didn't really need to bother so I'll be doing a single steep/boil/chill this time.