Ingredients I used:
- 1 lb. crystal malt (110L I think)
- 0.25 lb. black patent
- 0.25 lb. roasted barley
- 5.1 lb. dry malt extract
- boiling hops:
- 1 oz. crystal hop pellets alpha = 4.7%
- 0.5 oz. crystal hop pellets alpha = 3.3%
- 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
- 0.45 cup honey
- 7 oz. carob chips (leftover from previous carob porter)
- 2 tsp. gypsum
- 1 cup brown sugar
- finishing hops: 1 oz. galena, alpha = 13.4%
I added 1.25 gallons of water to the pot while grinding the grains.
I put the pot on the stove on high heat and waited for it to boil ... and it boiled over (error #1):
Then I became the anal retentive chef and and cleaned everything:
I then put the pot back on the heat, and it boiled over again (error #2). Yes, I really did that twice. I caught it much more quickly the second time, so I was able to quickly sponge up the mess. Sorry Alex! With the mixture back at a boil, I added 2.1 lb. of old dry malt extract I had, including this hardened lump:
I then added the molasses and the honey. Side note: the recipe actually calls for 1 cup of molasses, but I only had 1/3 cup, so I used this sweetener comparison, specifically this information on the relative amount of sugar in 1/2 cup of each:
honey: 139 gI needed 2/3 cup molasses, so I multiplied that by the ratio of the sugar in molasses to the sugar: in honey
molasses: 93 g
2/3 cup * 93 g sugar molasses / 139 g sugar honey = 0.45 cup honeyI added the honey to the measuring cup already containing the molasses until it reached slightly above the 3/4 mark (0.33 cup molasses + 0.45 cup honey = 0.78 total).
I then added the boiling hops and the carob chips. I boiled with the lid off and noticed that it foamed up to within ~1 inch of the top of the 4-gallon pot, and was possibly in danger of foaming over, so I turned the heat down for a bit. The foam was fairly stable, and when it began to subside I turned the heat back up - which brought the foam back up, but not to the point of overflowing from the pot. Here's a video showing the high-foaming boil, and then cutting to the later, low-foaming boil:
I also noticed that the solid piece of dry malt extract was gooey on the outside but not dissolving quickly. So I fished it out with a slotted spoon, cut it into somewhat smaller pieces, then put it all back in.
After a while the foam began to subside, so I put the lid back on partially, playing with the size of the opening until I discovered a lid position where the foam would be stable. Eventually the foam subsided and I was actually able to boil it with the lid completely on, although I checked it frequently to see if it was foaming up again.
After 22 minutes of boiling, I added 2 tsp of gypsum and 1 cup of brown sugar. The delay was not for any good reason; I simply forgot to add them initially (error #3).
Edit: my friend R Fox asked me what the gypsum is for. Gypsum's chemical name is Calcium Sulfate dihydrate. I believe it acts to make the water harder / more acidic, if the water is soft to begin with. My water is probably hard enough, but I haven't tested it and I also know that tap water can vary quite a bit - I believe the gypsum also acts as a buffer, effectively attempting to hold the pH of the water in the same place regardless of the starting pH of the tap water.
31 minutes into the boil I added the new dry malt extract. Again, not for any good reason; I really did also forget this, one of the most important ingredients (error #4). The wert foamed up again very strongly - as I did before, I turned the heat down a bit to keep it from overflowing, then turned it up again once the foam had subsided a bit. I never put the lid back on because the foam never completely receded.
At the 43 minute mark of the boil there was still a substantial amount of foam, so I decided to continue boiling for another 15 minutes. At the 58 minute mark the foam was greatly reduced, so I added the finishing hops, and then at 60 minutes I turned off the heat and added a gallon of cold water. I added the cold water to cool the mixture so that it would be easier to handle, especially during the transfer to the carboy. I then put the lid on and put it outside in the coldest corner of the garage, and then sterilized my equipment.
I put ~1 gallon of water into the sterilized carboy, and then siphoned the wert into it. The siphon quickly jammed - the wert was thick and had lots of material floating in it. Since I was using an auto siphon I was able to force the blockages out, but it wasn't pretty. I had to hold the siphon significantly above the bottom of the pot and there were a few cups of wert slurry left when I was done. I then added water to the carboy to bring it up to 5 gallons, added the yeast, put the overflow airlock in place:
Now to wait ~2 weeks and then transfer to a secondary fermenter.
Edit update: It's bubbling nicely!
Edit update: It's bubbling nicely!
Edit update 2016-01-18: We were away for ~11 days and the temperature in the house during that time was 40 F. When we returned, there was much more liquid in the beer carboy - and much less in the bubbler pitcher. I suspect that the cold temperature caused the pressure of the gas in the head of the carboy to drop, causing water to be pushed in.
I racked the beer into a secondary fermenter, making sure to aerate it and I gave it a good shake as well. There was some limited bubbling immediately after I put a regular bubbler back on. Next time we're away I'll keep the beer down by the boiler where it should be slightly warmer.