Monday was a pretty great brew day. I worked the kinks out of the pump setup and ended up with a 4 hour 40 minute process, from lighting the burner to putting away the equipment. Having an assistant brewer for the first time in months probably didn’t hurt either. I’m also still playing with malt conditioning; I dialed the water content back to about 1.5% this time and had a much easier time milling the barley. Until I got to the roasted grains, that is; they seem to pulverize when being milled, which means that when wet they tend to gum up the rollers. I think that conditioning at this level – but base malt only – from now on will work well.
Anyway, I brewed my second “draft”, if you’ll pardon the pun, of a Robust Porter recipe, modeled loosely after Great Lakes’ Edmund Fitzgerald. (Kudos to GLBC, by the way, for not having me verify – or lie about – my age to use their site.) I love the flavor of EF, but for my tastes it has too much roasted barley. This time I went with just a hint – about 1% – to supplement the judicious amount of black patent and chocolate malts. I also switched to GLBC’s own house strain instead of an American ale strain, to try to replicate the great depth of ester profile and mouthfeel their beers seem to have. After less than four days between 64 and 71°F, active fermentation is wrapping up, so chances are good this one will be in the keg in about a week – and in my tummy in two.