Tag Archives: brewing beer

Historical Porter Brewday

The recipe: just 7 lbs of the diastatic brown malt, I combined both batches, Fuggle and Brewers Gold (both homegrown hops) and Wyeast London Ale III yeast. I mistakenly thought I could get away with a single step mash although this wasn’t the original plan. A protein rest would have helped for sure. Surprisingly my pH was 5.24 without any water additions. I kept my mash temp. high (156F) for sweetness since I wasn’t adding any caramel malts to this beer. Conversion took 4 1/2 hours. Original gravity was 1.051. Final volume – 3.75 gallons, but I had a disastrous spill while transferring from brew pot to carboy. I must have lost 2 pints, luckily the kids were outside and didn’t hear all the swearing. The final colour was very much like a darker brown ale.

There was quite a difference in aroma between the two batches of malt, the first being quite smoky like bacon, the second very toasty with hardly any smoke. The colour of the first batch of malt when ground was, as expected, almost white, whereas the second was reddish brown. Who knows perhaps I made what would have been called an Amber malt, but  I suspect if I had made the malt darker it may not have converted at all. If I do this again I think I would make a small batch of very dark roasted malt and combine it with a lighter version.

First batch on the left, second on the right.

First batch on the left, second on the right.


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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Diastatic Brown Malt, The beers


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2013 Final tally


Maris Otter

Maris Otter

Overall this years yield was pretty pathetic, especially given how great everything was doing at the beginning. The mice and birds took at least 50% of the Conlon so I only ended up with 10 lbs. 7.5 oz of this variety. As soon as the seed heads came close to the ground they would take them. Also when I tied them together in an attempt to stop them from falling over I gave the birds a nice place to perch while they stole more grain. There is some good news though, I had great success with the Maris Otter, in fact that small little packet of 130 seeds yielded 1 lb 4 oz of grain, enough to plant all 6 beds next year. The Robust also did really well and yielded 4 lb 12 oz from the one 4×10 ft bed. Even though there were a lot of stalks that fell over the mice and birds didn’t touch any of it. I can only guess as to why they left it alone. I think since it is a six row variety the long hairs at the ends of the grain discouraged the mice. In  2 row barley these hairs and grain only come out the sides of the seed head but in a six row  the grains and their hairs surround the seed head and they are kind of prickly so perhaps this gave the Robust some added protection. The total yield for all of the varieties was 16 lbs 7.5 oz. from 240 sq. ft. of garden. If the Conlon had not fallen over I probably would have at least 10 more pounds. Oh well, there’s always next year.

The Golden Promise didn’t do so well in the pot. The stalks were very thin and weak and the seed heads just didn’t develop. You can see in the picture the grains are half the size of the Conlon barley. I didn’t even bother threshing these, there were just too few and too small.

Small underdeveloped seed head

Small underdeveloped seed head

The G.P. is on the left, Conlon on the right

The G.P. is on the left, Conlon on the right


Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Garden Updates


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2013 Planting

This year I’m planting Conlon, Robust, and about 130 seeds each of Maris Otter and Golden Promise. This video shows how a little Remay can make a huge difference. It not only protects the young plants from bugs but it creates a greenhouse effect and warms the soil so the plants grow faster. I had enough remay to cover 4 of the 6 beds. I’m planning to make some “wind” malt (air dried not kilned) as well as a more authentic brown malt.  I also want to improve my caramel malt procedure. Does anyone have any malt requests?


Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Garden Updates


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Beer # 5 The Smoked Stout

Here it is, the final beer made from this years crop of barley and hops. A smoked stout smoked with my homemade cookie tin smoker. In the video I had a hard time trying to describe the smoke flavor because I’m new to the whole smoking experience. It’s got a fruity tartness to it which I can only compare to granny smith apples and like most smoke aromas it triggers a sense of comfort deep within the brain. Lori described it best when she said “It’s like a cozy campfire” in a glass! Here’s the recipe:

  • 33.3% Pale malt
  • 27.8% Pale smoked malt (45 min on applewood)
  • 2.8% light caramel
  • 5.6% dark caramel
  • 2.8% aromatic malt
  • 2.8% brown malt
  • 5.6% chocolate malt
  • 8.3% roasted barley
  • 5.6% unmalted smoked barley
  • 5.6% chocolate caramel malt
  • Garden hops Northern Brewer approx. 8%
  • 20% 60 min
  • 40% 20 min
  • 40% 5 min
  • 25 IBU total
  • Wyeast Scottish Ale 1728 Pitch temp 19 C

Mashed in at 122F for 30 min Then used a single decoction to raise temperature to 154 F for 4 hrs. pH =5.18 O.G 1.049  F.G. 1.017 ABV 4.07%

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in The beers


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Reseeding the barley

Today I reseeded three of the six beds of barley. I thought the rats had gotten to it but there wasn’t much evidence. It was more likely that birds had eaten the seeds at the time of planting or it had something to do with the soil. I should test the soil anyway to see what I’m working with. The smoked stout is now bottled. My first impressions were not very good, but admittedly I haven’t tried a lot of smoked beers. At first what I tasted was like drinking beer out of an ash tray that had a hot dog in it – yuk. A few sips later though, it really grew on me. The smoke tasted just like it had smelled on the day I smoked the malt and it blended well with the roasted character and hop bitterness of the stout. I’m looking forward to tasting it with carbonation.


Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Garden Updates


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Caramel malts

Day three into the steeping process and the grain is soaking for the last time. It’s chitting as of this morning. Thankfully the weather has been co-operating. It’s been within the 10 -15 C range for the last week which is perfect for malting.

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Caramel malts


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It’s getting hot in here

For the final 24 hours of the munich malt germination I’m turning up the heat. When the rootlets get longer the germination process produces heat and carbon dioxide.  Too much carbon dioxide can stop the growth altogether and I still need these little acrospires to reach the full length of the grain, so last night I stacked the grain up in a large colander. This morning I stuck a thermometer into the middle of the pile and it read 24.4 C. The malting gods were in my kitchen because 25 C is the temperature you want to reach for Munich malt from the information I’ve gathered (which isn’t that much). My first attempt at Munich malt was a dismal failure because I thought the temperature had to stay at 25 C during the entire germination. I knew this wouldn’t work because of the bacteria present on the grain but I tried it anyway. A few days in it started to smell sour, almost yogurty. Another day and it smelled disgusting. I’m not exaggerating here it stunk like a pig or many pigs.  As well only about 2/3 of the grains germinated. This could also be due to the lack of oxygen during the steeping process. I only let it rest for a few hours in between soakings when it should have rested for 8hrs at least. I even decided to dry it thinking that might save it. Wrong, instead it stunk up our apartment and the smell lingered for days. This time the grain has a nice fresh watermelon smell and should be ready for drying this evening.

Some very excited barley

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Munich malt


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