Monday, April 23, 2012

Brew Day: Coal Porter II

I sometimes wonder how other homebrewers decide on what beer to brew next. I know some people find inspiration from commercial beers or make up a to-brew list long in advance. Sorta like those guys who try and brew the entire BJCP style guideline. I even have one friend who pretty much only makes IPA's; each and every brew day is an exercise in getting as much hop flavor into the beer as humanly possible. While you won't find me doing this, I can appreciate the dedication of brewing one type of beer almost exclusively. You know, that whole quest for beer perfection bit. Anyways, while I was looking over my yeast choices to see what type of beer I wanted to brew for today, I had a sinking feeling that I needed to brew something new.... something completely different than my usual bitter-porter-bitter rotation. Something I could get my friends excited about, something I could lay into the hype and name "Leviathan" or "Destroyer of Worlds" and make up a bottle label for. Maybe a barleywine?!

So I sat down and made up a recipe for a barleywine. I even made a yeast starter for it. But the closer it came to brew day, the more I wanted to brew those styles I most enjoy. Maybe its that I've been brewing long enough to know what I like and dislike or because I've become complacent, but I'm content brewing the same types of beers over and over. Sorta like the sense of satisfaction you get when you walk into your favorite pub and the bartender greets you by name and already has a pint waiting for you. Of place and purpose. With that in mind, today is a porter brew day. Pretty much the same as any of my other porters, just a tad higher in gravity due to the large yeast starter I made for the barleywine. Nothing too different and no special names or bottle labels. Looking forward to drinking this in a month or so.

Hops are up!
Coal Porter II : Robust Porter                                                                                Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.0
Anticipated OG: 1.060
Anticipated FG: 1.012
Anticipated SRM: 38
Anticipated IBU: 35
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

80.0% - 8.00 lbs. Pale Malt, Maris Otter
7.5%   - 0.75 lbs. Chocolate Malt
5.0%   - 0.50 lbs. Crystal 60L
5.0%   - 0.50 lbs. Brown Malt
2.5%   - 0.25 lbs. Roasted Barley

1.50 oz. UK Fuggles @ 60 min for 30 IBU
0.50 oz. UK Fuggles @ 30 min for 5 IBU

Yeast: Wyeast 1318 London III
Mash 154F for 75 min

Brewed on 23 April


  1. My inspiration for choosing a style is usually the kinds of beers that local brewers don't make commercially, like milds, bitters and other session beers. I also enjoy brewing historical recipes, like the 1853 120/- Scottish ale from William Youngers that I recently did. Sometimes though I just get a taste that I want to replicate in beer, so one of my Christmas beers is a spiced Belgian amber with sweet orange peel, cinnamon, ginger and clove and I want to make a mild inspired by a Twix, so lots of biscuit, chocolate and caramel malts in that!

  2. I'm in a similar position at the moment, of the last 20 brews I have done, there's been one stout, two APA's and the rest have all been bitters/pale ales. I keep trying to convince myself to do something a bit different, but then I think about the pleasure of drinking EXACTLY what I want to drink from my kegerator. I've just kegged a Timothy Taylor Landlord clone and I have seriously considered brewing it again straight away. I think I could happily drink it and nothing else for the next few months.

  3. I definitely go through phases with which styles I like. For instance, over the last three months I have only made stouts and porters, now I am starting to really love milds especially since its starting to get pretty hot down here in Texas. Last weekend I made your Dark Mild from your 2/5/11 post. My LHBS didn't have Carafa II so I subbed it with Carafa III and cut the amount down. The color is a little lighter, but I am not worried about that. It shouldn't lose too much in the flavor right because it's debittered?

  4. I love my BrewPal app. I make up recipes just Based on flavor profiles, or new takes on classics, and featuring a specific malt, hop, or yeast. Maybe a cal common with north down instead of northern brewer, or a Pilsner malt based pale ale with spicier American C hops instead of citrusy. Only problem is trying to pick one. I usually go with whatever I've come up with closest to brew day.

  5. I like that... EXACTLY what I want. Because three bitters on tap is exactly what I want.

    I do like experimenting to a degree, though it seems most of the beers I've been brewing lately have all been a rehash of a beer I've done in the past. I go back and forth over the whole experimentation thing, but honestly I'm pretty content drinking 4-5% session-y English beers. It always seems like whenever I have something 7-8% or more on tap, I'll have a few pints and give the rest away.

    Historical beers are fun since they are familiar enough that I know what I'm getting into, but they still have that whole unknown factor about them. I hope to get back to brewing some historical beers here soon.

    Gabriel, the carafa III should be a fine sub. It is mostly for color, and a slight bit of roast character. I've even subbed it with roast barley with fine results.

  6. While I'd like to concentrate on a style or two in earnest, a feat not yet accomplished, the season is the primary factor that dictates what I brew. I'm just finishing my first foray into lagers, brewing two oktoberfests for this September. Now as my lawn has returned to its lush green splendor, I'm looking at hoppy pale ales and lighter summer ales to keep me hydrated and refreshed. Soon, hefeweizens and a weizenbock for early fall will follow. Then come bitters, browns and porters for the cooler months.


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