Batch #8-10: Porter

Style Porter
Ingredients View Here
Brewing Date: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Primary Fermentation: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Original Gravity: 1.042
Secondary Fermentation: n/a
Bottling Date: Tuesday, September 28 2010
Final Gravity: 1.013
Release Date: Friday, October 29, 2010
Alcohol by volume: 3.9%
Brand: Master-Yeast Theatre
Release Name: Bat out of Hell

This will be a first-time Porter.  Release scheduled for Halloween weekend.


21 Sep @ 9:00PM — This brew produced a nice aroma, like rye bread, and it was a fairly uneventful brewing session.. until the very end.  I decided to use ice at the bottom of the fermenting bucket, instead of a 20 minute ice bath, before emptying the wort into the bucket.  I topped the bucket off at 5 gallons with near-frozen water I had in the freezer for 3 hours.

The ice didn’t melt completely, and the bottom of the bucket was still quite warm while the top part was very cold and building condensation.  I waited 5 minutes before pitching the yeast.  Because of the temperature differential between top and bottom, I couldn’t get an accurate temperature measurement, and I fear the yeast may have gone to the lower portion which was probably above 90-95 degrees.  I hope I waited long enough, but I don’t know.

Because of this, I don’t recommend putting ice directly in the bucket to cool the wort.  It’s worth the wait for the 15-20 minute ice bath for the brewing pot.. even for just the peace of mind.  I broke a pattern here, and I may pay a price.

Fermentation is again using wick cooling.

22 Sep @ 2:28PM — I’m breathing a sigh of relief: the yeast bubble cycles are at 9-18 seconds, so the yeast is alive, or at least… it survived !  Normally, with a good yeast starter and my normal cooling technique for the wort, the cycles are between 3-6 seconds, so a portion of the yeast may have been damaged/killed by falling to the bottom.  There was definitely a lesson learned here: if it works, don’t let time pressure or anything else tempt you into an unproven shortcut.

23 Sep @ 6:30AM — Overnight, my S-airlock suffered a blow-out.  There was only a couple of drops of water in the airlock, and traces of trum on the sides of the barrels in the airlock.  There was also less than an ounce of wort spilled near the grommet.  I carefully cleaned around the base of the airlock, removed the dust cap from the air lock and added some more water to it.  It’s pretty clear that the wort was not exposed to air.  This is the first time for me, that an S-airlock was overrun by the fermentation rate.  I guess I will use a blow-off tube for the first 48-72 hours on batches from now on.

This little incident has also cast doubt on my initial gravity reading of 1.022, since it takes a lot of sugars to get that kind of overload.  I think I may have misread 1.032 or 1.042.

28 Sep @ 10:00 PM — Bottling produced 3x 34oz snap tops, 4x 16oz PET and 41x 16oz glass bottles.   Priming sugar was 1/2 cup of corn sugar heated in 16 oz of water, cooled, then added to the bottling bucket before siphoning the wort into it.  Judging from the strength of the brew (taste), I would say the original gravity was probably 1.042 instead of 1.022.

02 Oct @ 10:00 PM — Opened the first bottle after 6 days of conditioning.  This was a pleasant surprise.  Despite the problem with yeast pitching, and the blow-out, the beer generated a decent 1/2 inch of very smooth head, and the taste was great.  It has a light hint of coffee/chocolate, with a hint of fruity aftertaste.  I’m very optimistic about this batch.

29 Oct :: This was a good beer for those who liked dark beers.  I don’t think I can think of a commercial equivalent for this.  The roasted malt flavor really blended well with the other flavors in the final weeks of conditioning.

Personally, I found the flavor of this beer to be outstanding.  And to qualify this, I am an avid coffee drinker, so the coffee/chocolate flavors were very pleasing to me.  I will definitely do another batch with this recipe in the future.