Archive for May, 2014

WINE#1 – Elderberry Wine

My first kit wine! Made the kit according to instructions, adding nutrient and yeast as directed. Will add elderberry flavouring at a later date.

28/06/2014 – Bottled into 750ml swingtops and got 5 bottles from the batch. Tastes a little rough, but you’d expect that. Some aging will work wonders on it. I hope..

AG#15 – Winterfell Smoked Porter


Despite having never drank a smoked porter before, I’ve always wanted to brew one. I’ve had the White Gypsy Imperial Stout, which definitely includes a small portion of smoked malt, probably peat-smoked. The Stone Smoked Porter is one of the more famous homebrew clones of smoked beers available on the internet, and I’ve always liked the look of the recipe. Peat-smoked malt seems to divide people – some commentators, like Jamil Zainasheff will say that peat-smoked malt has no place in beer brewing. I’d take the more pragmatic approach, if great breweries like Stone and White Gypsy are using it, then why the hell not?

From the research I’ve done (yeah, browsing the ‘net..), restrained use seems to be very important when using peat-smoked malt, unlike beechwood-smoked rauchmalt (using in the smoked lager style ‘Rauchbier’, which has a more subtle flavour and can be used as a large percentage of the grist. The Stone recipe uses 4 oz. (bloody American measurements!) of the peat-smoked malt, but the effect is reported to be a subtle smoke flavour. I want something that is going to be an unashamed smoked beer, without being overwhelming. I also want something that is going to age well. So I’ve decided to add an extra ounce of peated malt, bringing me up to 150g.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.40 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.064 SG
Estimated Color: 72.2 EBC
Estimated IBU: 56.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 81.9 %
0.550 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 8.5 %
0.300 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (147.8 EBC), 4.6 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 3.1 %
0.150 kg Peat Smoked Malt (5.5 EBC), 1.9 %
35 g Magnum [10.40 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 51.6 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
20 g Goldings, East Kent [6.90 %] – Boil 15.0, 5.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) (500ml slurry from Bad Landlord Best Bitter)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.475 kg
Mash In           Add 18.13 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 14.25l) of 77.0 C water

11/05/2014 Brew Day – I was concerned that I wasn’t getting a vigorous enough boil, but I boiled with two elements for much of the time, cycling one of the elements on and off. Got more boil-off than usual, but this not being a hoppy beer, I didn’t have any of the hop soakage I’d usually have, so I still got 19 litres into the fermenter.

12/05/2014 – Finished up the brew and pitched yeast about about 8pm last night, so I was a bit surprised to see that fermentation hadn’t really kicked off when I got up this morning. A bit of bubble action going on, but I’d have expected kreusen nearly 12 hours later, considering it was yeast slurry I pitched. Not too worried though, as there were bubbles coming through. Fermentation had well kicked off by the time I got home from work.

13/05/2014 – Huge amount of sulphur coming off this WLP002 yeast. I got huge sulphur from the Bad Landlord ale too and I thought it was because I was fermenting it in a really cold room. But it must be just a characteristic of this strain. Vigorous fermentation happening over the last 24 hours.

25/05/2014 – Bottled (estimate). Also racked 1 gal to a demi-john and added 8g of oak chips for some aging. I used less oak chips than I used in the American barleywine, as I thought that toasted a bit too oaky.

08/06/2014 – Bottled the oaked portion of this beer and got 8 bottles as expected. There’s definitely oak flavour there, but not as noticeable as in the American barleywine. It was oaked for about 8 days I reckon.

06/07/2014 – I was really looking forward to tasting this, but the first taste is quite disappointing. The carbonation level is way too light. And I’ve no way of knowing what it should have been, because I didn’t take proper notes! Aside from the carbonation, there’s not much smoke flavour in it at all. It’s probably a decent porter, nice and roasty, with some nice fruity esters from the English yeast strain. Can’t get over the carb level though! Did the WLP002 flocc out too soon, I wonder? I don’t think this is going to be one of my aging beers after all.

10/07/2014 – This bottle was a little better. The carbonation was better and the head formation was improved. Head didn’t last long though. Might be because the beer is not getting a chance to cold condition in the warm shed. Good flavour though, despite the lack of peat smoke coming through.

22/08/2014 – Sampled a bottle of the oaked version. Tastes nice, but the carbonation level from the drops is disappointing. The oak level is quite nice though – subtle, I suppose. The base beer is a decent porter, but the low carbonation lets it down.

23/11/2014 – The consensus online seems to be that smoke flavours will drop out of a beer given an extended aging period, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with this beer. The smoke flavour is still prominent and the beer is still tasting great. Great mouthfeel from the English ale yeast.

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