My True Brew Porter Bastardization

I thought I’d post a follow up to my post about my experiments with the True Brew Porter kit I bought a month or two ago.

If you’ll recall I bought a kit cause I had nothing else to do, and I haven’t amassed all the equipment I need to brew all grain yet. I got home, and wanted to mess around with the brew, so I added a cup of molasses to the boil. A few days later, I added some brown sugar and honey to the fermentation. And then I added some more honey a couple of days later.

I was a little worried about bottle bombs, but I had no problems.

The beer itself is a little unbalanced, as I didn’t add any hops, which I think I will next time. It’s strong, I forgot to get hydrometer readings, but I would wager it’s around 8% or 9%.

It pours like a porter should dark brown, and a thick brown head. You can taste a little of the alcohol heat, but it’s not over powering. Nicely carbonated, gives a good belch, which we all know is terribly important!

All in all, I like it. It’s gotten me eager to try something new again, but unfortunately right now, I’m short on funds, and I’m out of fermenters, my carboy and my bucket are currently filled with cider and mead respectively.

One thing I was not entirely prepared for, was the gastrointestinal pyrotechnics that came from this… Evidentally, the live yeast likes to screw with your belly. As a guy, and a work-from-home person, really wasn’t a big deal. I thought it funny for the most part… But I did some reading, people say the first year of drinking home brew is like that, as your body gets used to it…

Should be interesting.

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If You Can’t Brew All Grain, Brew Extract Kits And Bastardize Them!

So hey. How’s it going? Been a while, eh?

Well, if you’re at all disappointed by my lack of posting here, then you should also be aware that I post at MattConlon.com just as infrequently, and you could also be¬†disappointed by that.

For the longest part of my hiatus, I had nothing BrewNewbish to say. Truth be told, I didn’t really even drink much beer. The beer club has not met for quite a while, though it’s due in a couple weeks, and I really haven’t felt the need, nor had the funds to justify the expense.

However, two weeks ago, I had made some plans to go out on Friday. Lined up a sitter, banged outta work about a half hour early, packed the kids into the car, and took the family out to dinner, after which I’d drop them back off at home, and head out for a night of poker.

Then, at the restaurant, the three year old yacked all over the booth seat, and a bit on my shoes, while the 7 year old yacked in the bathroom. Best laid plans…

Fortunately, they were not terribly sick. Just the one occurance, and an early night to bed. JUST enough to make me cancel my plans for the evening. I think the moment I sent the cancelation text message, they felt fine.

So the next morning, I got up, feeling cranky. I decided that I’d like to go to breakfast. I asked the wife, and she enthusiastically said yes, having just come home from an 11pm to 7am shift. However, in the next fifteen minutes, she practically wilted right there in front of me… Understandably so, mind you.

I still wanted to go, so I asked the girls, and to my astonishment, my 7 year old said no. She’d rather sit around in her PJs. Definitely Daddy’s little girl. So my 3 year old and I went out to get some pumpkin pancakes. Of course, I picked up breakfast for everyone else as well, and headed on home.

However, I was still grumpy about my plans (which I practically never make, by the way) fell through. I got onto my droid and looked for beer brewing supplies. Much to my surprise, there’s a somewhat new place pretty close by!

Now, since the last time I brewed, (or more accurately, stood around drinking while someone else brewed) it was an all grain IPA. It ended up being so much better than any of the kits that I have ever made. UH MAY ZING. Alas, I need some equipment before I can do all grain. (Namely a¬†mash-tun, a hot liquor tank, and some ball valves, and a sparge arm if you’re lookin for things to buy me. I’m just sayin.)

Needless to say, the thought of brewing the way I wanted to brew was pushed out of reach, in my mind. But I decided, why not? Having a kit extract brew was far better than having an empty carboy! I just want something that I can enjoy making, bubbling away in my air lock.

I picked up a true brew porter. I love porter, and while I was there, I intensely considered getting some extra hops to throw in, but let’s be honest… I have no idea which ones to get, when to throw them in, or what. So I grabbed a drilled stopper, cause I needed one, and a kit, and a 24 back of Sam Adams Octoberfest, cause it’s bloody fantastic this year, I went home, and I brewed.

It was so much fun… While brewing, I also decided I’d screw around with it… and if it came out bad, I’d still have had the enjoyment of the smell, and the process. So I added about a cup of molasses to the boil.

Within about three hours of pitching the yeast into the primary fermentation carboy, the airlock was going. Next morning, I had JUST a little over bubble, blow up into the air lock. Fortinately, it was JUST a little bit, and not enough to actually spill out.

By Tuesday though, the airlock completely stopped. I was kinda shocked, to be honest. The tinkerer in me decided it was bored. I added about a half a cup of brown sugar to the mix. I didn’t disolve it though, which in retrospect I think was stupid. I waited hours, but nothing. Even after a day… No bubbles whatsoever.

So at this point, I figure, I’ve already bastardized this enough, why not keep going?

I mixed a cup of honey with some warm water, mixed it all in, and poured it in. Airlock started up after about an hour.

But again, it stopped too quickly for the little kid in side of me, who was now shouting “AGAIN!”

…So I took the remaining two pounds of honey I had, which had begun to crystalize in the bottle anyway, heated it up, mixed it with water, etc… In it went. That was yesterday. Airlock is still going strong…

However, now I find myself asking myself what to do next… No, I don’t plan to add anything else. But, I’m wishing I’d move the batch to the secondary before adding the honey. The layer of gunk on the bottom is going to be epic.

I’m also wondering how nasty this brew will taste. Frankly, I don’t really care, cause as bad as it might be, it’ll still be high in ABV, so after the first one, it won’t matter anyway. I’m guessing it’ll be something like a barley wine?

I’m not sure how long to leave it sit either. I think I’d like to rack it to the secondary soon, perhaps tomorrow, if it’s not bubbling, though I think it may be. I might have to wait until next weekend.

I know all the conventional wisdom, I’ve been told to leave it sit for a month per expected alcohol percentage, but this could very well end up being pretty high. I’m going to have to play it by ear. This will be a good experiment, I think. Maybe I’ll rack it ever month, until it tastes good or something like that.

My next conquest though, unless I somehow stumble onto a pile of equipment to do all grain, is mead. I’ll post about that soon.

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