Sunday, December 11, 2005

Back to Basics

I decided to brew a batch of porter yesterday. I kept it simple and easy, using two 3.3 pound cans of Munton's Amber extract, a half pound each of 120L American crystal malt and Belgian Special B, a pound each of Belgian chocolate malt and Biscuit malt, some left over whole Centennial and Chinook hops (an ounce each) and a vial of White Labs English Ale yeast.

I crushed all the grains myself in a corona-style grain mill. I sort of steeped/mashed the grains with a half ounce of the Centennial hops (sort of a first wort hopping experiment) in a large grain bag in my brew kettle, raising the temperature to about 150 degrees F. and holding it between 140 and 150 for about a half hour. I then added the malt extract and turned the heat up to bring the mixture to boiling. Once I got the boil started I added a half ounce of the Chinook, followed the rest of the Chinook after a half hour. I added the rest of the Centennial hops about five minutes before the end of the boil. It was at this time that I sanitized my wort chiller by letting it sit in the boiling wort for the last five minutes of the boil. I cooled the wort with the chiller in about 20 minutes to about 80 degrees F., poured it through a strainer into my plastic fermenting bucket and topped off with artesian spring water to bring the total volume up to five gallons. I pitched the White Labs vial directly into the wort (no starter) and it was rather messy. The vial seemed to be under quite a bit of pressure, as the yeast and liquid inside sprayed out even though took care to crack the vial slowly and relieve the pressure inside. This has happened to me on a couple occasions now.

I much prefer the Wyeast Activator packs, but particular homebrew shop I visited doesn't sell them. Perhaps I'll be going back to having everything shipped.

1 comment:

Ben, aka BadBen said...

I like Wyeast activator packs, also, but have had very good results with White Labs, as well. I usually make a starter 24 - 36 hours in advance for a 10-gallon batch, though. Pitching directly for a 5-gallon batch should be fine.