Tag Archives: porter

The Friedlieb, Coffee Porter IV – Review

The Friedlieb is a beer Chas has been working on for a while. Back in the middle of 2015 he made the fourth version of this beer. No write up on the brew day, but I can say that the changes to the recipe were more of a slight alteration rather than any significant.

The Friedlieb IV for drinking

The Friedlieb IV ready for drinking and review

Before starting the review, I need to admit I had this beer for about eight months. Got it in June 2015. Drank it in February 2016. The flavours had settled down a fair bit and the forward hops softened to almost nothing. Now that’s out of the way, onto the review.

This is a big coffee porter. It comes in at 10.2%, the strongest version of this beer yet. You can see from the photo it’s very dark. You can’t quite see that it’s not very cloudy.

There’s a smooth coffee aroma. Has a push of smoke towards the end and slight very soft rounded yeast aroma.

The beer starts with plenty of smoothness. Dark malt from start to end. Smoke and coffee giving this lots of complex flavours that keep it lively and interesting. The yeast flavours are present the whole way from the middle. This yeast is a bit Belgian in style, rounded and with some slight tropical fruit to it.

There’s heaps of flavour here and character. Body is good with only a tiny bite from the alcohol.

For food matching this would go well with big winter food. Think mixed flavour stew. Or rich tasty sausages. Or super slow cooked red meat, lamb or beef. Anything hearty and deep flavours with pleanty of protein would work a treat.

This beer has heaps of flavour, but not a big thick body. So you need something to eat with this, or you get overwhelmed by the end. Really good beer, with a slight tweak this would be a great beer.

Chas has been working on this recepie for a good few years. I’m hoping he’ll return to this and brew another batch. Would be more than happy to help give a hand in the quality testing of the final product.

-Mikey

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Gravity reading, fermenting in the tube

Don’t you hate it when you take a sample of your wort and it starts fermenting before you get a reading? No? Just me? This very odd scenario came about last last week due to a series of events. It all started with an idea to make an oatmeal stout.

Oatmeal Stout 1 steeping

Oatmeal Stout #1 with oats steeping in grain bag

I’ve been thinking about this style for a while. Did a bit of research online and wasn’t impressed with the information on how to make an extract only oatmeal stout. The advice was either: “you have to include (two-row or six-row) malted grain and do a mash” or “you have to steep with specialty grains”. In short, you need to have with grains. The reasons appeared contradictory. Some saying “you need to convert the starch” and others saying “you need to keep the sweet starch flavour”. After plenty more reading I think it comes down to the moth feeling you want from the beer. Mash if you want a smooth oily feeling. Steep if you want thick body feeling.

That’s fine, but doesn’t really answer the question for me. I want to know if it’s possible to skip the grain steeping altogether. Enter my recipe Oatmeal Stout #1.

Start with 500 grams of quick/breakfast oats. Put into a pot and 1.5 litres of water, or more. Put on heat and bring up but not too a boil. I elected for 65°C. Leave for about an hour.

Oatmeal Stout 1 sparging

Oatmeal Stout #1 with oats in grain bag ready for more sparing

I found that there wasn’t enough water and the pot was too small. It ended up overflowing. I transferred the oats into a grain bag. Then bag and liquid into a much bigger pot. Pot had an extra two litres of water added. Interestingly the starch kept settling to the bottom. So it was important to keep stirring if the heat was on. I had to leave it at this point and return the next day. And I left the bag stay in pot and cooled overnight.

Next day was about sparging the oats and washing out as much starch out as possible. Grain bag rested on a sieve and I poured water over semi regularly. This took a fair bit longer than expected, so was left overnight. Next day was finally time for boil. Started at about 11 litres. First 1.5 kilograms of liquid dark malt was added and heat slowly brought up to a boil. From there was straight forward sixty minute boil. Warrior hops at the start. Rest of liquid malt and sugar with ten minutes to go. And Fuggles hops at flame out.

Oatmeal Stout 1 chilling

Oatmeal Stout #1 chilling in ice bath and with ice inside

Sugar addition was to help push up alcohol content. I believe a stout should be strong, and over 6%. Plus the “dryness” from sugar should work well against the thick oat starch feeling.

  • 500 grams oats, soaked for hours in hot & cold water
  • 1.5 kg Briess Traditional Dark Liquid Malt Extract
  • 11 litre boil
  • 10 g Warrior hops @ 60 mins
  • 1.5 kg Briess Traditional Dark Liquid Malt Extract @ 10 mins
  • 500 g raw sugar @ 10 mins
  • 5 g Fuggles hops @ flame out
  • Chilled with ice (bath and direct into wort to bring to 14 litres)
  • Pitched onto Windsor yeast (from previous brew)
Milk Porter 1 FG

Milk Porter #1 Final Gravity

While the wort from the stout was chilling it was time to bottle the Milk Porter #1. That was a big effort. 15 litres were racked off for bulk priming, then into 45 stubbies. The remaining 3 litres were bottled into long necks with a very special twist. Each of the four bottles were primed, one shot of coffee each AND a 2 cm cut from a dried vanilla bean. These four bottles will be conditioned for a minimum of two months. Really excited about these.

Milk Porter 1 bottled

Milk Porter #1 bottled in 45 stubbies and 4 long necks

The final gravity of the Milk Porter #1 came in at 1.030 which was a bit higher than I hoped. After bulk priming this will end up at 4.2% alcohol. Not bad, but a bit short of the high 4’s I was hoping for. That said, the sample I tasted had plenty of promise. While the long neck bottles will be a few months away, the stubbies should be ready by mid/late July.

The wort from the stout took a while to chill. Over an hour even with a big chunk of ice direct into it to cool down. Then finally was ready to pour into the fermenter that had the Milk Porter, and the yeast left behind. A good shake up and done. All that was left was to get a gravity sample. This came out with a bit of froth. I left it for a bit to settle down. Then had to leave before it was clear.

Oatmeal Stout 1 OG

Oatmeal Stout #1 Original Gravity, with krausen

Next morning… krausen! The gravity sample had started fermenting with the yeast that was there. All I can do is estimate the gravity reading. The photo looks like nearly 1.090, but I think that’s partly due to the krausen pushing it up. If I remember correctly from the day before, it was closer to 1.080. The recipe should have hit about 1.081 and I’ll go with that. Moral of the story? If your gravity sample has yeast in it, get a reading ASAP!

Looking forward to trying the stout. It looks plenty dark and should be very think with all the starch in there. Might be a bit too much, but won’t know for quite some time. Not to worry, in a few weeks the Milk Porter should be ready. Yum.

Did I really skip the grain steeping part to make an extract only oatmeal stout? Probably not. As I spent so much time on the oats I think you could say this really is a extract and grain recipe. Even if there were no malt/barley grains. But I’m happy with it.

-Mikey

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Grains and milk, it’s dark

So good to be brewing again. Finally got around to brewing something I’ve been wanting to get down for a while. Plus, Chas was able to make it for another fun brew day.

Sunday before last, the seventh, was a bottling day for the Lazy House Ale #1 and brew day for a porter I’ve been wanting to make for a while. With the new place there was a bit of getting-use-to the place, but the day ran smoothly.

Milk Porter 1 chilling

Milk Porter #1 chilling in a cold water bath

The porter is an extract brew with steeped grains. Plenty of added bonuses to fill out the flavour and body. Milk Porter #1:

  • 11 litres of water
  • 1 kilogram Briess Golden Light dry malt extract, 60 minute boil
  • 35 grams Willamette hops, @ 60 mins
  • 5 grams Fuggles hops, @ 60 mins
  • Steeped grains (see below), @ 5 mins
  • 300 grams Maltodextrin, @ 5 mins
  • 350 grams Lactose, @ 5 mins
  • 5 grams Willamette hops, @ 60 flame out
  • 15 grams Fuggles hops, @ flame out
  • 1.5 kilograms Briese Dark liquid malt extract, flame out
  • Windsor yeast (nearly a full pack)
  • 400 grams Crystal malt 140 ECB
  • Steeped in 2 litres of water for 40 mins

Getting the 11 litre boil going and grains steeping was priority. Chas got to cracking the grain while I sorted the water. Once all set it was time to bulk prime and bottle the Lazy House Ale.

Lazy House Ale 1 FG

Lazy House Ale #1 Final Gravity

Used 64 grams sugar dissolved in about 200 millilitres of hot water. Put this in the big fermenter and carefully racked the beer into it. Took a gravity reading and was surprised to see it hit 1.012, just as calculated. You might remember I didn’t get a proper original gravity so it might have been higher, or maybe I’ve finally got the hang of this home being thing. On a side note, no temperature control in this and it would have dropped below 10 degrees a few times.

Bottling went without incident. After not too long there were 36 bottles filled and capped.

Lazy House Ale 1 bottles

Lazy House Ale #1 all bottled

Back to the porter, there was a bit of a rush. Lactose, maltodextrin and steeped grains were meant to go in with 10 minutes to go, but distractions meant they went in 5 minutes later. Oh well. I’m sure it shouldn’t make much difference.

Flame out then last hops went in. Rather than start chilling straight away, like last time, the liquid malt went in. Then into the ice bath with an ice and water top up. After a good half an hour or so of cooling we poured into the fermenter and sived out the hops. Realized that not all the liquid malt dissolved. Lesson for next time. Then topped up with cold water to 18 litres.

As the wort wasn’t cool enough yeast didn’t get pitched for a while. Wasn’t until next day that yeast went in. Nearly a whole pack of yeast, maybe half a teaspoon left. Was only a matter of hours before airlock started up. Always a good sign.

Milk Porter 1 OG

Milk Porter #1 Original Gravity

The original gravity came in at a respectful 1.060. This should come down to high 1.020’s giving a solid 6% alcohol and plenty of body backing it up. The sample tasted really good and I’ve got high hopes. If everything goes well I might pitch another dark beer wort onto the yeast. Maybe a coffee porter or stout.

Speaking of dark coffee beers, Chas brought around some bottles of his latest (4th) version of his coffee porter The Friedlieb. At 10.2% alcohol it’s a lot more like a stout. I’ll get a review up in the week or so.

The Lazy House Ale sample tasted great. Not over the top with hops like I feared, which is good. First tasting will be this Thursday. Probably a bit too early. Will wait and see.

Good to be back into brewing. Plenty to be excited about.

-Mikey

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The Friedlieb, Coffee Porter III – Review

Way back on 29 July Chas made the third version of The Friedlieb, his coffee porter. This latest version is an all grain. And it’s pretty bloody good. All the relatively fresh coffee that went into this helps drive this beer.

The Friedlieb coffee porter III

The Friedlieb coffee porter III ready for drinking

The aroma is simply great. Big coffee and molasses hit in the nose. Good smoke end to the aroma, long and lasting but not harsh. This really draws you into the beer.

Up front this beer is a little deceptive. The dark malt feels somewhat light but the smoke is there. Plenty of peated malt. Chocolate is there at the start and coffee too. The rye malt is a little harder to pick up. Slightly overpowered, but giving some backing to the rest of the malt. The hops are not really there, but more to help balance.

There’s a big mouth feeling to this beer. Small bubbles give it a sort of creamy hint to it. After the first impressing the smoke and coffee take over. They’re mixing around and washing together. The alcohol in this is 6.8%, though you don’t really notice any of that anyway. The smoke and coffee cover it very well.

All the peated malt takes over and this does get slightly too much. That’s when it’s cold. Once this beer warms up there’s more of a slight sweetness to this. The chocolate malt comes out a bit and the brown malt flavour comes out a lot more. There’s a biscuit/toast flavour to it. But it’s the coffee that really becomes the king flavour and reminding you that there really was a LOT of coffee put into this beer.

The downside for me is the smoke from the peated malt. When I reviewed the second version of The Friedlieb I mentioned that Chas was really looking for this. It’s too much for me. Chas really wanted to push this, and I think it’s something he really likes. Don’t get me wrong, this is a well made beer with good complexity, nice body and long lasting flavour. For me one bottle is enough.

This is a beer for the end of the night. At home, settling in for the night and have next to a fire. Don’t need anything to eat because this beer is full of character and flavour. Maybe not the last beer, ‘cos the coffee will keep you going. But a good solid flavour hit to slow things down.

-Mikey

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Making the Friedlieb all grain

DSC_0410Back in October 2013, we made a second version of a coffee porter called the Friedlieb. It used malt extract and some specialty grain. Now we figured we’d try to make it an all grain.

We basically had to start again to try to adapt what was about 1.5 kilograms of liquid malt and 250 grams of dry malt (for 12 litres). The liquid malt was a golden light and the dry was a dark malt, so we decided to replace this with 2 kilograms of traditional pale malt and up some of the other darker grains as well (for 8 litres).

The beer might not turn out “portery” enough, but this is just the start of things, so if we need to up the dark malts a little more, we will. All that being said, this has always been a fairly light porter, so we’ll see.

We also upped the peated malt to try and bring out even more smoke in the brew. Some would say we’re pushing it too much, but it’s hard to get the peat to come out above the large amount of coffee we’re putting in there, so…

The ingredients were (for an 8 litre batch):

  • 2 kilograms of traditional pale malt
  • 180 grams dark crystal
  • 100 grams chocolate malt
  • 150 grams peated malt
  • 100 grams melanoidin
  • 120 grams rye malt
  • 6 grams Willamette (bittering) – 30 minutes
  • 6 grams Fuggles (taste) – 15 minutes
  • 6 grams Fuggles (aroma) – 0 minutes
  • 16 shots espresso
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • Windsor style ale yeast

All the grains were mashed for an hour in eight litres of water at 65 degrees. We were able to keep the temperature pretty constant, and this seemed like a good amount of water for the grains.

DSC_0413We played around with the pots a bit to do everything right. Basically, we just let the grains mash in the biggest pot we could get (about 12 litres) without a bag or anything like that. After the mashing process, we strained all this (through a few bags) in a couple smaller pots. With the grain now in a couple grain bags, we transferred all the wort back to the big pot and sparged. It worked pretty well! But we still need a bigger pot…

From there, it was pretty standard.

The brown sugar and coffee went in with 5 minutes left to the boil.

Cooling was pretty easy and we were left with about 7 litres of liquid, so there wasn’t a whole lot of topping up to do to get it up to 8 litres.

The original gravity was 1.063 which isn’t bad considering we were approximating the grain from a previous extract brew with an OG of 1.073. Depending on how things turn out, we may up the malt a bit and/or mash the grains for a bit longer to bring that original gravity up a little bit.

Anyway, the beer is currently bubbling away and should be ready to bottle pretty quick. I’m eager to see how it turns out and modify further!

-Chas

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Baltic Porter II – review

Last weekend Mikey had another brew day with a few tastes, one of which was a take two of the Baltic Porter, and it turned out quite well.

The beer was intentionally lower in carbonation, as per the style, which was quite nice, felt good to drink and was nice to look at.

Baltic Porter IIThe initial impressions of the smell were quite interesting.  There was a bit of banana and yeast up front, which may be a sign of the fermentation being a bit warm, but it wasn’t an off putting smell at least.  With the banana were hints of honey and a bit of apple too.  This all interacted very well.  The banana was a bit too up front, so if we try this again, I’d like to make sure the temperature is better controlled.

Body was interesting and creamy, but a little bit confused.  As a porter the beer should be a bit heavier, but there are a lot of lighter porters out there that are great.  This beer couldn’t seem to make up its mind exactly how and where it wanted to sit in your mouth: it was heavy and light at the same time.  This added an interesting, albeit a little confusing, element to the beer that I quite enjoyed.

In regards to taste, there was a little bit of sourness in there that I usually associate with a stout, but it seemed to work well here.  Fruit flavours continued throughout with a bit of sweetness as well.  There was some hop bitterness as well, but it was well hidden; it could have been the Warrior hops pushing through as it really sat in my mouth after awhile.  The hops were nice, but a little unexpected for the style.

All in all, this was a great beer.  A little confusing, but still nice to drink!

-Chas

 

 

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The Friedlieb, Coffee Porter II – Review

What an amazing beer. Best beer we’ve ever made? Pay attention and you’ll find out.

The Friedlieb II is the second coffee porter from Chas. The first one was done back in June and turned out pretty good. I had some issues with the sweetness and Chas wanted more smoky-ness. This version didn’t address the smoke but sorted out a few things.

The Friedlieb coffee porter II

The Friedlieb coffee porter II ready for drinking

Now, I’m giving away a bit here, normally I will have a glass of this beer with me when I type up the review. But for this one no such luck. I wasn’t around when Chas bottled the beer and he only brought around one beer when we tasted it back on Sunday 15th. So, I’ll go by my notes and memory.

First up there’s a huge coffee aroma. There’s some hints of chocolate and sweetness as well. This beer smells like exactly what you would expect from a coffee porter. That’s a big plus. Flavour. A dark creamy hit on the palate is the first thing you notice. Plenty of coffee the whole way through this beer from start to end. Lots of full body and big dark malt flavours. So smooth across all the flavour. There’s a chocolate builds up from about the mid point which works well with the coffee and dark malt. And there’s just enough bitterness to hold it together without any noticeable hop flavours.

The beer came in at 7.3% alcohol. Quite a respectable amount. With the coffee in there and so much grain flavours it could of gone any way. Lucky for Chas it worked out a treat.

Matching this beer to food is really hard. Not because it’s a dark beer with lots of coffee and hints of sweetness. It’s because it’s so amazingly good. You really want to drink it by itself. It could work with any rich or roasted food. Dark meats or big robust vegetables. Something with a dark sauce like red wine or gravy. Other option is to have this as a dessert beer. Possibly the perfect dessert beer.

So, is this the best beer we’ve ever made? I think the answer is a resounding YES! (Chas, bring me some more!)

-Mikey

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New and old, recipe and brewer mix up

Saturday brew day was a long one, nearly 5 hours. I wanted to have another crack at the Baltic Porter. Chas wasn’t available so my mate Kilan came over to give me a hand.

Kilan has done a bit of home brewing over the last few years. Most of his equipment is in storage. He’s still been able to make some cider and brought over a bottle to share. Will talk about that later.

Was fun to have Kilan over for the arvo. We worked on a few things that neither of us had done before. Had a couple near misses and a whole heap of improvisation. By the end of the day we had bottled the Hoppy Heart IPA and brewed what we felt would be a really good beer.

The last time I did the Baltic Porter it was a 10 litre batch. The beer came out nice enough but lacked some body. The beer had a little too much sweetness. There was room to adds more complexity. In short, there was a lot that could be tweaked.

Baltic Porter #2 Mash

Baltic Porter #2
Grains in bag, in pot and mashing

Given the relative ease of the full grain mash at Chas’s last week I thought of trying a mini mash. The recipe was upping to a 17 litre batch and ingredients to match. That meant a lot more grain. Last time the recipe only had Crystal grains, which can’t mass by themselves. With advice from Chas I decided to include some Chocolate malt, which I believe can mash. So all 2kg of the grain went in to mash.

Kilian was a champ and crushed the chocolate malt grain. The only thing I had was a mortar and pestal which meant some grain got crushed. Hope that doesn’t make much difference.

The Crystal grain went into a grain bag and into the pot. The Chocolate grain got thrown into the bag then all was stirred in. Mash was done at 68°C and had 5 litres of water. Wow, that grain soaked it all up and expanded like a balloon! Mash went for a full sixty mins.

While waiting for the mash to finish we bottled the Hoppy Heart IPA. The final gravity came in at 1.019. With the carbonation drops it will be 6.4% alcohol. And before you ask, yes I will move to bulk priming soon.

We opened the apple cider that Kilan brought. That was an interesting drink, and I mean that in all ways. We chilled it right down and was cold most of the time. First up it tasted like alcoholic orange juice, not like apple. Sort of super sweet and slightly tart. The smell was pretty bad, almost like something off. As it warmed up the cider became more like apple and more dry. Much better cold. I think something might have gone wrong with the yeast and / or fermentation. Let’s see euchre same thing happens to my cider.

Back to the brew, and mash was done. Only problem now was how to sparge the grain. And there was a huge amount. Was fortunate that the kettle we have at home has different temperature settings with the lowest being 75°C. So we used that and poured the water over the bag of grains. Each time we tried to press out as much liquid as possible, but we didn’t really have the right set up. After a few kettle’s worth of water at said temperature there was a lot of volume for the boil. I would have liked to do more sparging, but the boil pot just wouldn’t hold it all.

Baltic Porter #2 Grains

Baltic Porter #2
Grains ready for more sparging

So onto the boil. Earlier I realised that I didn’t have the exact amount of hops to do what I wanted. There wasn’t as much Warrior and that was suppose to be the bittering. As a compromise I moved some of the Fuggles from aroma stage to taste. By moving them earlier it should add a bit more bitterness, and hopefully balance. Will have to wait and see.

Once the boil started we re-hydrated the yeast. It’s the first time I’ve done this. It was pretty easy. The only problem is the water that was boiled so early on it cooled down too much. A quick zap in the microwave brought it back up to temperature. The yeast sat in the water while we dissolved the tea spoon of dry malt in half a glass of boiled water. Then waited half an hour before adding that in and gave it a mix.

I held off on adding the dry malt for a bit. Have been getting advice not to add all malt at the start of boils and wanted to try it out. As a result we didn’t get a hot break, it just came to a boil. Bittering hops went in at start, then taste hops at thirty minutes with the first 800 grams of dry malt a five minutes later. Another fifteen minutes later added in the last 400 grams of dry malt. Five mins after that the aroma hops. Then only five more mins before flame out.

Pot was transferred to an ice bath. Some ice cubes went directly into the wort, water previously boiled before frozen. A second bath for the pot. Then into the fermenter. Added a little more sparged grain liquid, that might not have been the best idea as I’m not sure if that could have lead to contamination. Too late now! The liquid malt only went in at this stage, note that it wasn’t part of the boil. Not sure if that will make much difference. Let me know what you think with a comment below.

The wort was still quite hot. That was even after adding about four litres of very cold water. Will need more ice if I’m going to do something this large and this method again. After a couple hours the temperature was down to something close to what I wanted. Yeast was pitched at about 25°C. I forgot to put the yeast nutrient in at the same time. So, went back an hour later and put in four heaped teaspoons and sealed back up.

 

Baltic Porter #2 Yeast

Baltic Porter #2
Re-hydrated Yeast in the jug

60 min mash at 68°C

– 1.5 kg of Crystal 120
– 500 grams of Chocolate Malt 600

Boil wort from mash
60 min
add 8 grams of Warrior hops
30 min
add 14 grams of Fuggels hops
25 min
add 800 grams of light malt extract
10 min
add 400 grams of light malt extract
5 mins
add 5 grams of Fuggels hops

Into ferment:
– wort
– 1.7 kg of Amber liquid malt extract (Black Rock)
– water & ice to bring to 17 litres

Once at 25°C
add 7 grams of yeast, 5g Windsor & 2g kit yeast (previously re-hydrated)
add 4 heaped teaspoons of yeast nutrient

A bit of a strange brew. Some new techniques and processes. Some corrections from previous brews. Some ingredients just thrown together, like hops and yeast. The final gravity came in at 1.071 which is pretty good given the calculated was only 0.002 higher than that. If fermentation can take it down to 1.025 that will mean about 6.5% alcohol before bottling. And this one will be bulk primed.

-Mikey

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Friedlieb Coffee Porter – Second Trial

Back in June, Mikey and I made a coffee porter that I named The Friedlieb. It turned out great, but I was after a little bit more peat smoke in there, and Mikey found some of the sweetness “distracting”.

Coffee!

Coffee!

So we modified the recipe a little bit.  First off, we were doing twelve litres this time around, not the four we originally did; mostly we just multiplied everything by three.  We also added a bit more peated barley, a bit less light liquid malt extract, and, as there were some malted grains in the grain bill, decided to mash the grains rather than just steep them.  Hopefully this achieves the desired affects.

Anyway, before I go into the recipe, as mentioned, this is a coffee porter.  When we made the first batch, we were only using eight shots of coffee, which isn’t too difficult or expensive.  Upping things up to twenty four shots of coffee wouldn’t have been too expensive or difficult, but there’s always a better way!  So, a big thanks to my good friend from Husband Cafe for supplying his wastage.

So the recipe (for 12 litres) was:

  • 1.5 kilograms golden light liquid malt extractFried 4
  • 270 grams dark dry malt extract
  • 270 grams dark crystal
  • 150 grams chocolate malt
  • 180 grams peated malt
  • 150 grams melanoidin malt
  • 180 grams rye malt
  • 9 grams Willamette hops (bittering) – 30 minutes
  • 9 grams Fuggles hops (taste) – 15 minutes
  • 9 grams Fuggles hops (aroma) – 0 minutes
  • 24 shots espresso
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • Windsor style ale yeast

As mentioned, we decided to mash the grains.  The right mashing temperature can change depending on what you’re after and what grains are being used, but we were winging it a bit and just decided to mash at 65 degrees C; it’s nice and middle of the road.  The mash time was 60 minutes in 5 litres of water.

Unlike the all grain pale ale we did a couple weeks ago, we didn’t have as much trouble keeping the water temperature steady.  This was probably because we were using much more water.

So the grains sat there for an hour while Mikey and I bottle the pale ale.  It tasted great by the way, but we think it will need quite a bit of time in the bottle to calm down.

With the mashing done, we threw in the malt extracts and got everything to a boil.

Once the boil started everything was pretty standard.  The bittering hops went in at the start, fifteen minutes in came the taste hops, and the aroma went in at flame out another fifteen minutes later.  Along with the aroma hops we threw in the espresso and the brown sugar.

A little tip on ingredients: always double check that you have the ingredients.  I assumed I had enough brown sugar but I didn’t!  Thankfully I was able to steal some from my housemate.  Also, let’s see if my housemate actually reads this blog, because she doesn’t know I took it!

Fried 1Getting the wort cold was difficult.  We ended up with about seven litres of liquid: five litre mash, a couple litres for sparging, coffee, etc.  We got it coldish pretty quickly with some ice and cold water, but even in three ten minute water baths it wouldn’t drop below 30 degrees.  I need to start taking a cue from Mikey and preparing lots of ice and cold water.

Anyway, we poured everything into the fermenter, topped it up to 12 litres, and took a quick break on the homebrew couch while we let things cool a little.  The wort was about 27 degrees by the time we topped up the fermenter, but we wanted a few degrees lower.

After that, we pitched the yeast and gave it a good stir to aerate it.  The gravity reading was 1.073, which is quite high, so we wanted to get plenty of oxygen in there.  I’m quite excited about this high gravity.  The mash obviously added quite a bit.  If we’re lucky and get the final gravity down enough, hopefully we’ll end up with quite a strong beer!

I’m really excited about this beer.  It’s going to be about two weeks in the fermenter, and then quite a bit of time in the bottle.  We’ll report in after that.

-Chas

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Baltic Porter – Review

Mikey made his Baltic Porter while I was away, and luckily enough, it was ready for drinking as soon as I came back!

It definitely looked like a porter!  Nice and dark, good head.  That’s where the porteryness ended though – although it still turned out to be a great beer!

baltic porterOn the nose, there was a ton of apple and a bit of honey along with a bit of malt.  I’m not sure where the apples were coming from, but the honey was probably coming from the added Crystal grains.

This continued through with the taste, along with the apple.  This was right up front and very refreshing.

With that, there was a good amount of body, just not as much as I usually like to see in a porter.  So while it looked like a porter, this beer was very quickly moving away from what I’d consider a porter.  I’d classify this closer to a dark ale.  The good news is I love dark ales, and this was a good one, so I’m not complaining.

On the porter side though, there was a hint of the typical porter tang/bitterness at the very end, along with a very minor hint of smokiness, but the beer was so light it was still hard to call a porter.  It was a bit creamy like a porter, just not robust like a porter.

The surprising part about this beer is that it was 7.2% alcohol, which you’d never know by drinking it – until you’ve had a couple that is…  it’s a pretty smooth beer with only the slightest hint of dryness from the alcohol.

Overall, great beer, regardless of what you call it.  I’d gladly drink more.  Mikey wants to add some chocolate, which I’d welcome.

Given the sweetness and apple/honey tastes, this beer would go well with either apple or pumpkin pie.  It’s a desert kind of drink…

-Chas

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