Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chocolate Porter 2012

Another day, another recipe that is close to, but not exactly the same as, Jamil Z’s Chocolate Porter.  I don’t mind using his recipes for my first shot at a style, and then if I brew again I may tweak it a little.  I love chocolate, I love porters and really love chocolate porters, so this is likely a style I will brew again, and again, so I expect to tweak this more and making it my own at some point.
But for now, here it is.  I changed to a crystal 30 from 40, as that is what I found at the homebrew store, and I went just straight Willamette hops as that is what I had and the LHBS did not have what the recipe called for.   I will try to leave this on the chocolate sludge for the whole brew, but may break down and rack this to a secondary a few days before bottling, I’ll play it by ear a bit.
As usual I have posted my BeerXML file below, and now I’m pasting a picture of the recipe as well so you can just write it down if that is what you wish to do.
I’ll return here in about 1 month and do a tasting as well.  That will be my plan going forward, to give a thorough and complete tasting to each batch / recipe that I do brew so you can see MY feedback for my beer.
I added the 6 oz of low fat chocolate powder right before flame out just to ensure it would dissolve easily and that it was warm enough to kill anything that could be living in it.

Link to Recipe for testing purposes

10/10/2012 Update:  Today I racked over to a secondary, trying to leave behind as much ‘sludge’ as I could.  According to the original recipe from Jamil Z, it is suggested to leave on the chocolate as long as you can, at least 10 days.  I more than did that.
The sample was super cloudy with all kinds of particulates in it.  It came in around 1.030 on the sample, which looks ‘high’ but remember I mashed at 156F, trying to leave some sweetness to go with the chocolate.  The sample actually tasted great as is, a huge chocolate presence, some warming alcohol actually, & the sweetness wasn’t as noticeable as one would expect either.  I could see carbonating at this point, but it needs to clear.  I will check again in a week to see if the gravity has lowered any (doubtful) and if it has cleared any.

10/26/2012 Update:  Took another refractometer reading today, and it was a steady 9B.  I will bottle this in about two days, once I get a day off from work.  Couldn’t get a good taste from the few drops I had as I was in the middle of drinking my morning coffee.  I’ll get a good sample in a few days while bottling and update.

10/29/2012 Bottling:  The scent was intense chocolate with less on the flavor.  A decent bitterness bite that I don’t think overpowers the chocolate.  Will be interesting to see how it goes with some carbonation.  Added 2 oz white sugar and bottled 2.5 gallons (25 bottles).


Another Irish Red – Jilter

Here is my third different Irish Red Recipe, this one straight from Jamil Zainasheff ‘Brewing Classic Styles‘.  It is simple, English two row, crystal 30, crystal 120.  Some EKG hops at 60 minutes and some US-05 yeast.  That is pretty much it.  This differs from my other recipes in its simpleness, no cararoma, etc.  I like the idea of a simpler grain bill, just letting the yeast and grains do their thing.
My first batch was a favorite of a good friend of ours, and my second batch was a favorite of my good friend and his dad.  I didn’t like either one very much.  There were no flaws, but just didn’t do it for me.  Again, that could be more of the style and not the beer itself.

I have this 3 gallon recipe bubbling away in a 5 gallon glass carboy (I don’t like glass carboys) that I received as part of a larger craigslist pickup.  I do like having the 2 gallons of headspace for the primary ferment.  I will only leave this for about 2 weeks, as long as I hit my final gravity, and then bottle.

10/3/2012 Update: Bottling.  I bottled this tonight with 2.4 ounces of sugar.  It was a quick turnaround and ended up at 6P but corrected for alcohol came out around 1.012.  I’m really curious how this comes out, a simple recipe for an Irish as well as having a fairly sweet taste so far.  I also noted a slight ‘rubber’ flavor, which doesn’t bode well.  Time to do a little googling, but I don’t want to be in the same vein as a hypochondriac.  I’ll just crack one open after a week in the bottle for a sample.


Mead Review Sky River Semi-sweet Mead


I’m going to give a shot at a tasting of my second mead, ever.
This is a semi-sweet mead from Sky River Winery in Washington, situated across the small valley from Chateau St Michelle Winery.
Appearance: light golden yellow, and clear.
Nose: floral, slight honey, alcohol and maybe its sulphites I smell?  I’m new to wine tasting, so that is what I am picking up.
Palate: Light, fairly sweet, some alcohol, smooth and a bit sticky from the sweetness.
Overall:  Not being a fan of sweeter wines, I still enjoy this quite a bit.  The honey really stands out and there is no doubt that it is a mead.  I am really curious to try a dry mead and see if that hits my wheel house.

Homegrown Hops

First off, it’s been a while since I’ve updated, breaking the golden rule of having a blog. Well, this is more for me than anyone else, so I’ll live.
It’s been summer ‘visit’ season, and I’ve either been visiting someone somewhere on my days off, or we’ve had a house full of guests & family.  It’s been a nice summer.

My struggling first year Centennial hop vine has finally produced a few hops.  The picture to the left you can see a few hops I harvested today.  This is from a rhizome I planted late spring in a large pot.  You can see the information on how I did that here.   I should have in total about 3 times this amount in the next two weeks.  Not enough to brew a batch of home brew, but something I can dry hop with or something.
I’ll likely brew up a pale ale and dry hop with these centennials.

Some things I’ve learned this year and will improve upon next year.  Well, mainly just one main thing.

I will place my pot and entire hop plant in full sunlight.  
We get such a limited amount of sun in Portland, that the hop plants need every minute of direct light they can get.  This is not the Yakima Valley (where I grew up) and we only get a good couple of months of sun here in PDX.

I also plan to propagate this Centennial using a method you can see here by ‘weirdbeer’ on youtube.