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Old 02-09-2007, 04:58 PM   #1
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Default Second Batch - Robust Porter

Brewed my second batch ever last night.

First batch (see thread further down) was a mild success. The ingredients were cut-rate, but the process was successful. The resulting ale is drinkable if not quaffable. It really improves if chilled to near freezing.

Last night, I started Batch #2. Bought the Brewer's Best Robust Porter kit from my LHBS, along with a 5gal carboy to use as a secondary.

Here's the recipe:

8oz crushed crystal malt 60L
4oz crushed chocolate malt
4oz crushed black patent malt

Steeped in a muslin bag for 20min at 160-170F

Brought water to boil, added:

6.6 lbs Cooper's Amber LME
1oz Cluster hops (bittering)

Boiled 55min

Added:

0.5oz Willamette hops (finishing)

Boiled 5 more minutes.

All went well, no boil-over this time. Hooray! While boiling, sanitized all fermenting gear. Prepped an ice bath in my laundry sink in the basement to cool the brewpot and the wort. That worked TOO well. After adding the cooled wort to 2gallons cool water, the stuff was at 55F. Yikes! Added another gallon of hot water to top off at 5gal, brought wort to 70F. Success!

One minor hitch - while using a sanitized saucepan to ladle hot wort out of the brewpot, through my funnel/strainer and into the 6.5gal carboy primary, a lot of grain/hop pellet residue clogged up my strainer. The mesh is too fine, I guess. So I washed my hands with anti-bacterial soap, rinsed in the sanitizing solution, then delicately reached in and tilted the strainer a bit. Now the wort flowed through, and MOST of the trub was strained.

17 hours after pitching yeast, the proto-beer is at 72F in the primary, bubbling once every 4 seconds with a nice, yeasty kreusen.

So, my question:

When I rack to secondary in a week, and then when I rack to the bottling bucket two weeks after that, will most of the hops/grain residue sink down, and thus allow me to siphon without sucking it up? I worry about getting a gritty porter after all this effort.

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Old 02-09-2007, 05:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by NOVA Brewer
So, my question:

When I rack to secondary in a week, and then when I rack to the bottling bucket two weeks after that, will most of the hops/grain residue sink down, and thus allow me to siphon without sucking it up? I worry about getting a gritty porter after all this effort.
Yes...as your trub settles, you will rack the beer off that to your next vessel. Though, it is no big deal if you suck a little through in the process.
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:34 PM   #3
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Absolutely. And when you rack, try to siphon from the top/middle first, then move down the column as you siphon the beer. This isn't exactly necessary, but you definitely won't get any trub into your beer if you keep the racking cane/siphon away from the bottom of the fermenter until necessary. A clamp for your racking cane/siphon helps tremendously.

And you mention "proto-beer" -- methinks you may have some training in biology??

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Old 02-09-2007, 07:13 PM   #4
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[quote=NOVA Brewer]Brewed my second batch ever last night.

First batch (see thread further down) was a mild success. The ingredients were cut-rate, but the process was successful. The resulting ale is drinkable if not quaffable. It really improves if chilled to near freezing.

Last night, I started Batch #2. Bought the Brewer's Best Robust Porter kit from my LHBS, along with a 5gal carboy to use as a secondary.

Here's the recipe:

8oz crushed crystal malt 60L
4oz crushed chocolate malt
4oz crushed black patent malt

Steeped in a muslin bag for 20min at 160-170F

Brought water to boil, added:

6.6 lbs Cooper's Amber LME
1oz Cluster hops (bittering)

Boiled 55min

Added:

0.5oz Willamette hops (finishing)

Boiled 5 more minutes.


That recipe looks very good I'll have to try it.

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Old 02-09-2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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I'll add a piece of advice I've picked up along the way.

Don't necessarily rack to the secondary after x days. Your brew may require a little longer (or less, I suppose)...I transfered my IPA after ~10 days and my raspberry wheat after 7. The wheat could/should have stayed in primary for a few more days as I has massive foam-over/blow-off in the secondary despite leaving lots of trub behind in the primary!

You'll be surprise by how much the beer clears over time! You'll get lots of clearing in the bottles too!

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Old 02-11-2007, 03:11 PM   #6
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Well, we're at Brew Day + 3 now. The kreusen has mostly fallen back into the beer, and bubbles pop up through the airlock about once or twice a minute now. Seems like that's a little slow...

The beer has been kept at a constant 70 to 72 degrees, in a dark closet. Is the fermentation stuck, or is the dramatic part over? Everyone has mentioned blow-outs in their secondary, but I can't imagine that happening to my porter at this stage. Any thoughts?

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Old 02-11-2007, 07:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVA Brewer
Well, we're at Brew Day + 3 now. The kreusen has mostly fallen back into the beer, and bubbles pop up through the airlock about once or twice a minute now. Seems like that's a little slow...

The beer has been kept at a constant 70 to 72 degrees, in a dark closet. Is the fermentation stuck, or is the dramatic part over? Everyone has mentioned blow-outs in their secondary, but I can't imagine that happening to my porter at this stage. Any thoughts?
I'm a newbie brewer also with my second batch in the primary. I used Nottingham Dry yeast for both brews so far (came with the kits). I noticed both my batches have slowed or stopped bubbling after 3-4 days. On my first I was very concerned about it not fermenting completely so I swirled it several times and increased the heat up from the normal 62-64F in my basement.
However all my worry was for naught as the FG was right on target when I transfered it to the secondary after 5 days. My second batch is doing the same thing but this time I am not worrying. It sound to me like your primary fermentation is wrapping up.
As I have seen many times RDWHAHB (Relax don't worry have a home brew).
I think as beginner brewers we worry alot about the process because there is so much time to worry.
Craig
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:02 PM   #8
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Not only do we worry because there is time to worry, but I thought beer was some delicate thing that must be guarded like a baby. Now I think about how the british were brewing beer in huge open vessels using yeast from the air etc. and I think to myself... damnit, if the poms can do it like that, Im sure my airlocked, tight, sanitizes, specialty yeast / grain / hops can give them a run for their money!

but now that I actualy have some homebrews stockpiled, I CAN RDWHAHB

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Old 02-12-2007, 11:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kadmium
Not only do we worry because there is time to worry, but I thought beer was some delicate thing that must be guarded like a baby. Now I think about how the british were brewing beer in huge open vessels using yeast from the air etc. and I think to myself... damnit, if the poms can do it like that, Im sure my airlocked, tight, sanitizes, specialty yeast / grain / hops can give them a run for their money!

but now that I actualy have some homebrews stockpiled, I CAN RDWHAHB
I like to think that my brews are proof positive that you have to really have to go out of your way and try to mess up your beer
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Old 02-15-2007, 08:55 PM   #10
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2/15/07 - Racking to secondary

Took some time this afternoon to rack from the primary to the secondary. I must say, I'm getting tired of lugging that full carboy out of the spare bathroom (my dark, temp-controlled environment) down to the kitchen for siphoning work. I should look into one of those carboy haulers sold by AHS or NB...

Anyway. Sanitized my new 5gal carboy, my racking cane, tubing, beer thief, hydrometer, airlock, and bung. Racked out of the primary into the secondary, leaving the last inch or so. This being my first brew with steeped grains and hop pellets, I've discovered that trub is pretty gross-looking.

After racking, took a sample with the beer thief, then plugged in the bung & airlock.

SG at secondary = 1.012, compared to an OG of 1.060. Final ABV should be ~6.3%, a robust porter indeed!

Sampled from the hydrometer flask after reading was taken. By God, it tastes like a porter! Thick, malty, with some early hops bitterness. I expect the coffee/chocolate characters to become more pronounced during secondary and bottle conditioning.

I'll probably bottle around the end of the month, and be drinking the first of it the third week of March. Eager to get a Northwest pale ale going in my primary. May order than and a few gadgets from AHS next week...

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Primary 1 : (empty)
Primary 2 : (empty)
Secondary: Kolsch
Bottled: Pumpkin Ale, Ed's Apfelwein IV
Kegged: Irish Stout, Northwest Pale Ale II
Thinking about: Rye Ale, Russian Imperial Stout
Gone: Robust Irish Porter, Ed's Apfelwein I, Ed's Apfelwein II, Northwest Pale Ale, Ed's Apfelwein III, English Brown Ale, Blanche de Chambly clone
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