Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lavender and Coffee Porter

The beer that I drink is usually determined by the seasons, but luckily as a home brewer I’m able to avoid seasonal creep (Oktoberfest beers in July). Now that it’s “fall” in Texas I’m starting to want something that’s a little darker, however, since its fall in Texas it’s still in the 90s. Something like breakfast stout is too much for the weather currently, but it will start to cool off eventually, which makes porter perfect. The only real thing that differentiates porters from stouts is the lack of roasted malt, but they are generally considered to be a little dryer and less astringent. For my porter I’m planning on something medium bodied with chocolate characteristics that I think will work well with the coffee addition. A friend of mine who I’ve brewed with before has been telling me for months that I should do a coffee porter and add lavender to it. I’ve only had a few beers that have used lavender in the past and they were all soapy. It’s a difficult spice to use and you have to tread lightly. My plan is to soak some lavender in vodka and add it at time of bottling. I’ll probably only add the lavender to a gallon or two of beer, since I’m not the biggest fan of lavender, but I always like a challenge and to experiment.

My brew day was surprisingly easy, but it’s times like this that I wish I had a secondary fermentation chamber. Since I use my chest freezer to ferment and serve beer, I can’t use it to drink from for a week or two during fermentation. I just need to borrow a pickup truck to get a second fridge. For the time being, no pale ale for me. The only issue that I encountered was post brewing. My plan was to just pitch the yeast slurry I had in the fridge and not make a starter the night before, assuming there would be a high enough cell count in a thick slurry. I completely forgot that my 1056 slurry was washed twice to remove hop particles so it’s pretty thin. I pitched both jars, but it still took almost 36 hours to see signs of fermentation.

Most of what I did during brewing was based off of my Breakfast Stout Clone including, water adjustment, mash pH, and coffee addition.

Beer Stats
Batch size: 5.5 Gallons
Boil time: 60 mins
Estimated OG: 1.062
Measured OG: 1.059
Measured FG:
SRM: 34o
IBU: 36

Grain Bill
7lbs – Pale 2-row Malt
4lbs – Maris Otter
0.75lbs – Chocolate Malt
1 lbs – Flaked Wheat
0.75lbs – Crystal Malt 80L

Hop Schedule
60 minutes – Magnum – 1oz

Mash Schedule
152oF - Single Infusion – 60 minutes

Two jars of Wyeast 1056 slurry from Tasty APA


10/3/15 – Brewed by myself. Added 3 grams of CaCl and 0.5 grams of gypsum to the mash, pH was down to 5.8 so I added 3.5ml of lactic acid to bring it down to 3.6. Added 4.3 grams of CaCl and 0.7 grams of gypsum to the sparge. Collected 7.8 gallons of 1.051 wort. Chilled to about 85oF because I forgot to get ice, added 45 seconds of pure O2 and placed in the chest freezer to chill for a few hours. Temperature set to 64oF

10/5/15 – Fermentation finally started, temperature was raised to 66oF earlier in the day.

10/19/15 - Had to dump the batch. I think during the time it took for fermentation to start some bacteria or wild yeast took off and added acidity. That's the risk you take when you brew with bugs.

10/24/15 - Rebrewed the porter using the same recipe. OG was 1.061, mash pH was 5.59. I pitched rehydrated US-05. Set in chest freezer set to 66F, but I let it naturally raise from 40F over night since my wort temp was 80F. Fermentation was going by the next morning with the beer at 55F.

10/29/15 - Temperature increased to 68F

10/31/15 - Temperature increased to 72F

11/1/15 - Removed from chest freezer and left at ambient temperature in beer room.

11/5/15 - Gravity down to 1.015, no signs of infection, placed in chest freezer at 38F to cold crash.

11/6/15 - Added 3.5 ounces of coffee from Local Coffee in Ann Arbor to the keg.

11/8/15 - Removed coffee from the keg and set carbonation to 25psi to carbonate.

11/10/15 - Lowered to 8 psi for serving. 

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