Monday, October 14, 2013

Beer Batch 4: Baltic Porter

After seeing how well the brew-in-a-bag method was, it was time to make our second all grain beer. I convinced the others that a strong, dark beer should be a good addition to the beer cabinet.
Porter Grains
16 lbs of grain

Baltic Porter (5 gallon batch)
11 lbs Base Malt
4 lbs Munich Malt
8 oz Chocolate Malt
4 oz Black Patent

1 oz Challenger
1 oz Hallertau
2 oz Willamette

Safale US-05

BIAB ready
Brew day started off quick
The biggest challenge of the day was seeing if 16 lbs of grain could fit into the grain bag. We loaded it up our kettle with 6 gallons of water and we almost overflowed it after adding all the grain.
BIAB mashing
Stirrin' it up
To help improve efficiency, we agitated the grain periodically during the mash. This involved stirring it around with the paddle (read as giant spoon).
BIAB looks like cocoa
Feels like I made a giant pot of cocoa
The color of the wort turned dark brown pretty quickly, thanks to the addition of the darker chocolate and black malts. Once the mash was up (90 minutes), removing the grain bag proved to be quite the challenge. During removal, the grain bag ripped. Luckily, only a little bit fell out during removal (there was quite a bit of burnt grain found on the bottom of the kettle once the kettle was emptied. To improve the squeezing of the bag, we applied a new method to "juice" the bag.
A bad idea
This worked surprisingly well.
Using our specialty grain bag, we scooped small amounts of spent grains into it and squeezed that. We got back a lot more sweet liquor this way. Once we processed all the spent grain, our boil began and hops were added.
Boiling Porter
Porter is boiling
We boiled it for only 1 hour this time instead of 90 minutes to prevent too much water from being driven off. Cooling the wort went seamlessly as usual, but siphoning the wort into the fermenter proved quite the challenge. A lot of spilled grain clogged the siphon tube, forcing us to restart several times. A strainer was used to keep grain out of the fermenter on the receiving end (and it caught a lot of grain).
Cooling porter wort
Cooling wort
Our pre-boil gravity reading was 1.050, which is much better than the gravity reading we got from our Centennial Ale we made last week. Post-boil gravity was 1.070. Since there was only 3.25 gallons of liquid in the fermenter, we topped it up to about 4 gallons using boiled water. That lowered the gravity to 1.066, which should give an estimated ABV between 6.5% and 7%.
Pitching porter yeast
Ready to pitch!
I didn't get a good efficiency calculation yet, but I still don't think it improved. I think our bags are too fine too achieve good extraction. Plus with the rip we had today, I think that we could do with buying a better bag.

Yeast fermenting
The yeast is producing
An observation we noticed after we pitched our yeast: there was sediment up to the 1.5 gallon mark in our bucket. Today, we can hear the yeast bubbling away and nearly all that sediment is gone. Those yeast work quick! It'll be about 10-14 days until secondary, then 7 days there until bottling. I hope for the best with this batch.

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