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Robust Porter brewday

PorterBrewMy weekend filled with to do list items to the point that I lost the opp to brew… so I decided to take Monday afternoon off and squeeze it in. I replaced the stainless steel braid with a new one (again, made from a water supply line, chipping off the ends and removing the inner lining). The old one (2 years old) had take a beating, was crimped and crushed in places.

Hand cranked the barley crusher through the 13+ lbs of grain, hit my mash temp of 155° and hit my calculated preboil gravity of 1.050. Unfortunately, I have not been exact in my boil off measuring since day 1. I think I was just lucky for a while, but lately my OG has been low (several recent batches). I aimed for a slightly lower preboil volume. The outside temps are getting colder now, so I figured that, combined with the lower preboil volume, would help, but I still came out a few points lower than anticipated (1.054). So what I need to do (have long needed to do) is create a volume measuring stick of sorts as my boil kettle is just a Stainless pot, without a sight-glass to tell me accurate volumes.

I do have to say, brewing this porter (haven’t tried a porter since my first all grain batch a couple years ago) was far easier once in the kettle given the much more simplistic hop additions. 21g of N Brewer at 60 min, 7g of Cascade at 30, 7g of Tettnanger @ 5. Should put me around 35 IBUs. I went with a higher mash temp so as to finish a bit higher, and also used the dry English yeast (S-04). My fear is now that my OG is lower than desired, this won’t be so “robust” but more of a 5-5.3% ABV porter. Ah well. Shouldn’t be too bad of an issue, assuming all else goes well in the fermentation.

Managed to get the wort down to about 72° with the immersion chiller, then 63 in a cold water bath after the transfer into the carboy. Pitched, and set the fermwrap to 65 overnight. Will slowly increase the temp controller over the next few days.

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2 comments on “Robust Porter brewday

  1. I found once I started hitting my volumes correctly, the rest of my numbers came around. Do you use a tool like beer smith or sparge buddy to figure your sparge amounts and expected runnings? That can also help you determine where your numbers might be off.

    • I use beeralchemy (mac app) for my recipes and mash calcs. My problem is that I haven’t taken accurate volume measurements in my kettle. I always estimated 70% efficiency, and aimed for 7 gal in the kettle, assuming 1 ga boil off. In the winter months I would have a greater boil-off rate due to freezing temps and lower air humidity. This year I seemed to have forgotten why I increased my goal for preboil volume and paid for it with over sparging, lower than intended OG. I need to create some kind of volume measuring stick for the kettle to really know what my boil-off actually is.

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