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Saturday, October 6, 2012

The President's Porter

In a previous post, I described the last batch of beer I made. It's time to start a new batch. As the Whitehouse recently released their recipe for a honey porter, I thought I start there. I also changed some of my methodology to correct some of the problems I encountered in my last batch.


The recipe I used is based upon the Whitehouse recipe. My local brew store was out of Nottingham yeast; so I am used Windsor yeast. I used a local organic honey instead of Whitehouse honey. I used 9.6 HBU of bittering hops instead og 10 HBU, and 1 oz. or aromatic hops instead of 1/2 oz., because the quantities are more convenient, and a little more aromatic hops never hurt anyone. I  used diammonium phosphate as a yeast nutrient, and gypsum for flavor. Also, I will use a process that is somewhat modified from the Whitehouse process that I will describe here. 

Emerald House Honey Porter

Ingredients:
  • 6.6 lbs. Cooper's Light Malt Extract
  • 0.75 lbs. cracked Munich Malt
  • 1 lb. cracked Crystal 20 Malt
  • 6 oz. cracked Black Malt
  • 3 oz. cracked Chocolate Malt
  • 1 lb. local pure raw honey
  • 1 oz. German Northern Brewer hops
  • 1 oz. German Hallertau hops
  • 3/4 cup dextrose
  • 0.388 oz. Windsor Yeast
  • 1 tsp diammonium phosphate
  • 2 tsp gypsum
  • 5-6 gallons Rocky Mountain spring water
Preparation

First, I sanitized everything.

I put the grains in hop bags, covered with water, heated to 160 °F, and let them steep. As they steeped, I adjusted the temperature with the goal to keep it between 155-165 °F. During the process, it got as hot as 180 °F, and as cool as 140 °F.

I drained the liquid into my 5 gallon brew pot, rinsed the grains in more 155-165 °F water  and squeezed the excess liquid from the grains into the same pot. I discarded the grains. I added the remainder of my first 2.5 gallons of water to the brew pot and put it on to boil.

While the wort was heating I added the honey, the malt extract, the gypsum, and the diammonium phosphate.

I brought the wort to a boil and added half the Northern Brewer hops after about 10-15 minutes. In another 15 minutes I added the remainder and boiled the wort for another 15 minutes.

I opened another 2.5 gallon container of water that I had put in the refrigerator and decanted a cup.  It had only had time to cool to 65 °F. I heated the cup of water  to 85 °F in a microwave and added the dry yeast.

I poured the remainder into the the brew pot with the hot wort, and measured the temperature at 16:08 as 120 °F. At 16:20, it cooled to 115 °F. I went to my neighborhood convenience store and invested $5 in a 20 pound bag of ice. At 16:27, the wort had cooled to 105 °F. At 16:49, it reached 80 °F, and I removed the wort from the ice.

Fermentation

At 80 °F, the hydrometer read 1.055 on the specific gravity scale. At that temperature I have to add a correction of 0.0022, but my accuracy is at best to the thousandths, so rounding the specific gravity is 1.057. That puts my potential alcohol at 7.7% by volume, or about 6.2% by mass.

I siphoned the wort into the carboy, dry-hopped the German Hallertau hops, and pitched the yeast.

The wort in the carboy.

I tasted the wort and found it to taste like a sweet, flat porter, which is I suppose what I expected. It definitely had a good malty flavor. The sample I tasted had a lot of the hops that did not get siphoned.

This time I used a blow-out tube instead of a fermentation lock.

The wort with a blowout tube.

The tube is submerged beneath a sanitizer solution. The carbon dioxide can bubble out, but oxygen cannot get in.

The other end of the blowout tube is submerged beneath sanitizer.

The purpose of using a blowout tube is to avoid fermenting wort from pushing through the fermentation lock as I experienced last time.

A full carboy can overwhelm a fermentation lock as it did on my last batch.
Reracking

After five days of fermentation, I re-racked the wort. I siphoned it into an ale bucket, cleaned the carboy, and put the wort back in the carboy. Re-racking allows time for secondary fermentation that should help prevent over-carbonation. The primary cause of over-carbonation in my last batch was over-priming from being confused about my own recipe, but this time I took measurements as well.

R-racking the wort.


At this stage I measured a specific gravity of 1.021. At 70 °F, I have to add a correction of 0.001; so the specific gravity was 1.022. The potential alcohol is 3%. Since the original potential alcohol reading was 7.7%, the wort has an alcohol content of 4.7% by volume, or about 3.8% by mass. I put the fermentation lock on the carboy this time; the primary fermentation is over and I should not have to worry about blowout.

At this point the wort had most of the flavor of a porter, it was malty with a very slightly burned caramel flavor. It was sweeter and hoppier than the final product, and of course, there was no carbonation yet.

Bottling

After a week, the corrected specific gravity was 1.019, or 2.4% on the potential alcohol scale. So the approximate alcohol content by volume is 7.7% - 2.4% = 5.3%. The wort tasted much more like porter now. It had a little of the burnt flavor of some porters and a hint of honey. I could taste the hops, but not so strongly as before. I boiled some Rocky mountain Spring Water, added the priming sugar and bottled.  I use mostly dark bottles, but I like to use a couple of clear bottles so that I can observe what is happening.


Final Product

This time there was no issue with over-carbonation. The beer tastes somewhat sweet and has a distinct flavor of honey. The black and chocolate malt flavors come through well.  There is a hint of hops, but it is by no means a hoppie beer. The beer was foamy enough that it was difficult to get an accurate specific gravity reading. It should be a little stronger than 5.3% alcohol by volume, or  about 4.2% by mass.



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