Seventh All-Grain Brew: Brown Porter

A warm Labor Day weekend calls for a dark beer brewday anticipating cooler days ahead.  Brewed Who’s Your Taddy Porter from Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer.

Strike water to mash 12 pounds of grain at 152 degrees.  We heated strike water to 165 because the last time we brewed only using 8.75 pounds of grain we heated the water to 158 degrees to mash at 152 degrees and we lost several degrees in the transfer.  We went higher to compensate for the heat loss.  Remember to pre-heat your mash tun!  We used two kettles of boiliing water and pour it out just before adding grain and strike water.  At first stir break the water tempeture was at 160 degrees so we left the lid of the mash tun loose to cool it off a bit.  Second and third stir breaks held steady at 158 degrees.  We heated the sparge water to 170 degrees but it was down to 155 degrees by the time we sparged.  The wort at lautering smelled of coffee and chocolate.

The only problem we encountered in the boil was that wind caused the wort temperature to drop just below boiling.  We cranked up the heat and boiled a few extra minutes to compensate.  Hopefully this does not adversely affect the final product.

We also tried using a plastic bucket instead of the kitchen sink for the ice bath.  The bucket is deeper than the sink and thus we were able to use more ice and the wort cooled faster, though not as fast as we would like.  If we had the spare cash we would invest in a wort chiller, but that will have to wait for now.

We had to make an ingredient substitution: the recipe called for two packages of London Ale yeast but our supplier only had one in stock.  We used one London Ale and one Scottish Ale.  Our Brewstock advisor said the London Ale yeast would bring out sweetness while the Scottish Ale would bring out toastiness.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sourpuss says:

    I have a wort chiller, but found it not to be very useful in the warm climate of Southern California. The water temp out of the hose is too warm most of the year. You might find similar problems where you are except in the winter. Something to think about before investing in one.


    1. Thank you! We were concerned that that would be the case. Right now we do have a water pump (small) and are considering using it to pump ice water through the wort chiller. It’d be more set up, but anything is worse getting that wort chill in just a few minutes, rather than barely getting it to 80 degrees after a 20-minute ice bath.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sourpuss says:

        That sounds like a good idea. I’ve actually gone to no chill for the wort and it seems to be working fine without any contamination so far. Just wrapping the kettle in plastic wrap and leaving it on the kitchen table overnight. Works fine for sours anyhow and I’m hoping it will chill things faster once the cooler winter weather hits and maybe I can leave it outside over night.


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