Monday, September 1, 2008

Robust Vanilla Porter

I had high hopes for this beer. After making a test batch and missing the mark, I decided to move forward with a full 5.5 g batch. I used tastybrew for the recipe formulation and couldn't wait to get brewing. The brew day started off very well, and I noticed as I was steeping the grains there was a frothy foam in the kettle. I figured that was from the flaked barely, which helps with the head of the beer.

I went into the boil, and hopped as scheduled. After I cooled the wort and topped off to 5.5 g, I took a gravity reading and to my surprise, I overshot it by a mile! I couldn't (and still can't) figure out why I overshot it that much. After the session, I re-did the recipe in tastybrew and in my spreadsheet thinking I miscalculated, but it was exactly what it should be. My only thought is that the guy at my LHBS didn't hear me right and gave me more than asked for. I guess I'm going to have to start re-checking everything I buy, which sucks.

I bought two Madagascar vanilla beans which I'll boil to sanitize and add them to the secondary and most likely will add an additional packet of yeast. I'm still confident this beer will finish well, just not exactly like I planned. Sometimes, that's not a bad thing I guess. Recipe and stats are below.

Batch Size - 5.5 g
Boil volume - 4 g
Mash ph - 5.0
Target Gravity - 1.057
Actual OG - 1.082

8.5 lbs Dark Malt Liquid extract
.5 lbs British Crystal 135-165
.5 lbs Black Patent
.5 lbs Chocolate
.5 British Brown
.5 Flaked Barley

2 Madagascar Vanilla Beans (secondary)

.5 oz. Challenger (7.5% AA - 60 min)
.5 oz. Challenger (7.5% AA - 30 min)
.5 oz. Fuggle (5.1% AA - 15 min)
.5 oz. Fuggle (5.1% AA - 1 min)

Yeast: - Wyeast 1275 -Thames Valley

New Notes:
(9/2) - Fermentation started with a bang. I woke up this morning to see that overnight, it had blown through the blow off tube into the collecting bowl and already dissapated back down into the carboy. It's still bubbling very frequently (every 2-3 seconds) and hopefully will ferment all those extra sugars I apparently put in.

(9/9) - It's still bubbling away. The bubbles have slowed to about once every 20-30 seconds, but it still going. Once it slows considerably, I'll rack it to the secondary and add the vanilla beans.

(9/15) - I racked it to the secondary yesterday and took a gravity reading (1.020). It still has a little ways to go. I halved the vanilla beans and they are soaking in 1/2 cup of Basil Hayden's small batch bourbon. I'll add that to the secondary tonight.



brandon said...

I'm interested in trying this one, How did yours turn out?

Jason said...

It turned out well, unfortunately the chocolate and vanilla has mellowed and it has a more coffee like flavor now. Oh well, it's still good.