In mid-April, roughly two months after brewing, I did a formal tasting of Live Long & Porter.
- The Basics
- Starting gravity = 1.050; final gravity = 1.016; abv = 4.5%; estimated IBU = 30
- Coffee and a hint of chocolate. Nice.
- Creamy, tan-colored head, very persistent. Dark brown beer with good clarity.
- Chocolate, coffee; some maltiness behind it. Finish a little more bitter than perhaps I like.
- Carbonation is good, but body is pretty weak.
- Would I brew this again?
- Probably not in this form; it’s a good enough beer (and the aroma absolutely nails what I love in a porter), but the body is too thin, which really detracts from the overall beer. For the next iteration, I would probably add a bit more carapils and crystal malt, as well as perhaps some flaked oats.
- Overall rating:
Today, Stardate 68649.4, I kegged Live Long and Porter. This beer had been fermenting for nine days, with some nice and vigorous yeast action along the way.
Final gravity was 1.016, down from a starting gravity of 1.050. This works out as 4.5% abv. The slightly higher final gravity is probably due to the warm mash temp (155°), which I’m guessing left the wort a little less fermentable. Because this is a porter, I don’t consider the extra body a tragedy.
The final product is a beautiful chocolate brown. In addition to a full 5 gallon keg, I also got one 22-oz. bottle. I am carbonating that with 2 carbonation drops (per the dosage instructions on the package). Because there is a little bit of “sludge”, and the bottling process wasn’t terribly tidy (will have to work on that for the next batch), I’m going to consume the bottled beer as soon as it is carbonated. The keg is carbonating under my usual settings for the keezer, ~13.5 psi at 42°, or ~2.5 volumes of CO2.
The “Live Long And Porter” is fermenting vigorously, barely 40 hours after pitching the yeast. Many of the online reviews for WLP051 (California Ale V yeast from White Labs) noted a strong sulfur aroma during fermentation; they weren’t kidding! It’s a genuine rotten eggs smell in the chamber. We’re fermenting along at between 66° and 68°; another week, and it’s into the keg with this one!
Today, Leonard Nimoy (better known as Mr. Spock) passed away after a long and prosperous life. As someone who really enjoyed his work and found his public presence to be a positive one, it only seemed appropriate to name today’s brew in his honor. I had a porter recipe that was otherwise untitled…thus, “Live Long and Porter” was born.
Live Long and Porter
- 7.5 lbs. 2-row malt (Great Western Malting)
- .75 lbs. chocolate malt
- .75 lbs. Vienna malt
- .5 lbs. Carapils malt
- 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% estimated alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% estimated alpha), 20 minute boil
- 1 tsp. Irish moss
- 1 tbs. 5.2 pH stabilizer (in mash)
- California Ale V yeast (White Labs WLP051), prepared 24 hours in advance in 1.5 L starter
- 1.048 s.g., 1.012 f.g., 4.7% abv
- 29.5 IBU
- 23.8 SRM
- I mashed in with 3.125 gallons of water at 172°; the mash stabilized at 155°.
- I let the mash sit for 80 minutes and then added 1.15 gallons of water at 190°. I let the mash rest for 20 minutes, and collected 3 gallons of wort.
- I added 3.15 gallons of water at 190°; the mash was a little too hot, so I added ~0.25 gallons of ice cubes to bring the temperature down to 168°. I let this sit for 20 minutes.
- In total, I collected 6.85 gallons of wort, with a gravity of 1.043 at 60°. This works out to roughly 83% efficiency!
- I brought the wort to a boil and added the first round of hops. These were boiled for 60 minutes total; the second hops addition was boiled for 20 minutes. For the last 15 minutes of the boil, I added 1 tsp. of Irish moss.
- After 60 minutes of boiling, I removed the kettle from the heat and cooled it down using my wort chiller. Final volume in the kettle was roughly 6.2 gallons.
- The “official” measured starting gravity was 1.050 at 60°; this is just a hair above my predicted target (1.048), but well within the bounds of acceptability. The wort is a rich, chocolatey brown…very pretty!
- I ended up with around 5.75 gallons of wort in the fermenter (after adding the starter), with a starting temperature of approximately 72°. I pitched the entire yeast starter and transferred the whole lot into the fermentation chamber. I’ll ferment it at 66°.