Rule #1: Never brew in socks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Volcano Porter Brewday 1/5/11

For our second brew we decided to try a dark beer. The recipe comes from John Palmer, modulo some AA% adjustments.

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil Volume: 6 gallons
Calculated OG: 1.046
Measured FG: 1.015
Calculated ABV: 4.1%
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 53
Vol. CO2: 2.0
Yeast: Safale US-04
Calculated pitching temp: 65F
Fermentation high: 68
Fermentation low: 57 (day 8)
Days in primary: 13
Fermentation vessel: Better Bottle
Lag time: less than 8 hours

6 lbs Extra Pale LME
0.5 lbs Crystal 60L
0.5 lbs Chocolate
0.25 lbs Black patent
3.2 oz of sucrose at bottling

0.8 oz Nugget 12.2% AA at 60 minutes
0.75 oz Willamette 4.7% AA at 40 minutes
0.5 oz Willamette 4.7% AA at 20 minutes

One hitch in our brewday was that we put the steeping water in the main brew pot, and the water depth wasn't enough to immerse the grains in the nylon bags we were using. I ladled water over them throughout the steeping, but we may have gotten less than optimal utilization from the steeping grains. We also experienced our first near-boilover at the beginning of the boil.

We took a OG reading, but it ended up being way low as a result of the foam and, I think, the top up water not being completely mixed in. Since then I've stopped taking OG readings, because they will likely be less accurate than calculating gravity from extract. The yeast fermented quite vigorously, with airlock activity within 8 hours. After 24 hours the airlock blew off, so we put a blow-off tube on, with the racking cane attached. A few hours later the blow-off tube clogged and blew off, so we cleaned it out and took off the racking cane. After that we didn't have any more trouble.

We bottled on 1/18/10, with plain silver caps. Bottling went smoothly, though there were a lot of bubbles in the siphoning. Not sure if that was dissolved CO2, or if air was getting in somehow.

Tinseth's equation gives a significantly higher IBU value (53) than Palmer does (39), and the beer turned out hoppier than we were shooting for. Note to self: do own IBU calculations beforehand. A week after bottling hops were the dominant flavor in the beer, with roasted grains being detectable only in the smell. We decided to let it sit for a few weeks to mellow, but we opened another today (2/1/10) to add to a chili, and it already has a much better balance.

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