Monday, February 11, 2008

Avery Porter Clone

Our repeat performance of the full array of brewing tasks went much smoother than last week. We managed to get bottling started at eleven in the morning and were able to finish brewing just after 6pm. With efficiency in mind, we were a bit excited and almost got ahead of ourselves by bottling before we added priming sugar. Fortunately, Kat realized this after we had capped only one bottle so we were able to correct the mistake painlessly. The good news was that we had a large sample of our IPA to taste. Although the beer was flat, it was actually very good: slightly bitter with a big aroma, and had a fantastic color and clarity. I think this beer will get us a lot of "you made this?" from friends since it's more of the style our friends prefer (and it's tasty)!

After bottling, we started on both of the next tasks - brewing our porter and racking the Pliny clone. Tackling both at the same time was a great use of time since there is always down time during brewing. Our Avery Porter clone started with just under 4 lbs. of malted grains for our pre-boil mash. The featured grains included carapils, chocolate malt, and black patent malt to give it a rich dark chocolate smell and look. While those were steeping, we started added hops to our carboy which will dry-hop our Pliny clone. If you look at the photo we took, that's six ounces of hops just for dry hop. For comparison, we haven't yet brewed a beer outside the Pliny that used six ounce total, let alone for dry-hopping. Tasting showed that the beer's bitterness had mellowed out considerably, and left behind a large hoppy aftertaste. We expect this to be a big beer that leaves a mouthful to "chew" on when it's complete in 3-4 weeks.

The porter brewing went off without a hitch. One difference from previous batches was we added half of our malt extract late in the boil for this recipe. Bob mentioned that this helps hop efficiency, which should bring out more of the bitterness from the Columbus hops. Fuggles were used for aroma and again in a week for dry-hop (dry-hopping is unconventional for a porter). These are very aromatic and have a nice fruity and earthy balance. The wort was cooled and we pitched our London Ale yeast at 70F. It's been fermenting nicely since Saturday night. Now we have to decide whether or not to brew again this weekend. Can you believe that I'm leaning towards the 'yes' side?

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