With the Brewery construction is ramping up, so is the constant variables (aka Stress) that keep getting added to the process: engineers, lawyers, architects, bankers, and miles and miles of bureaucrats (municipal, state, & federal), forms for this, forms for that, etc. To combat all of this, I did what I do best: Brew. Todays batch was a Coffee Rye Imperial English Porter. To double down, we double batched this massive beer (55 Gallons), brewing from 8 AM all he way til 10 PM, nothing says de-stress quite like a 14 hour Brewday. Building off of our Intro to Recipe Development, we’re giving you an inside peak on what our Pilot brew days look like.
We tested out Wet Milling on this batch, to see what process changes and efficiency changes might occur. This is done by lightly misting the grains prior to milling, which in theory should cut down on the amount of dust created as well as keeping the husks intact which would help with our lautering even as we tightened down our crush size (which should increase the amount of sugars we can efficiently pull from the grains). While we definitely liked how the crush looked at the end of milling, our malt mill was not in love with the barley flour ending up caked in places it probably never should have been. Consider Wet Milling a work in progress for us.
This was also the second batch (and third batch) brewed on our borrowed Electric Brewing system. Some of the advantages of Electric Brewing include increased cost efficiency as the Electric Elements can only heat the liquid it is touching, while Gas Burners tend to heat the entire room nearly as much as the vessel they should be heating. This increased efficiency is then passed into increased speed on heating the liquid, which allowed for a sped up double brew day.
Making an 11% beer isn’t easy, and it sure isn’t light work. Each batch (Approx 27 Gallons each) of this Coffee Rye Porter took 103 lbs of grain. As an English style I decided it would be best to go with Maris Otter as my base malt, something you’ll see commonly in my beers. To make this a truly English Porter rather than a Stout I used a combination of Brown Malt and Chocolate Malt to provide the astringency and color that you would expect from a proper Porter. For additional sweetness and complexity there is a substantial amount of crystal malts, providing those background toffee flavors. But the real separator in this beer are the two flavorings I decided to top everything off with: Fresh Coffee Malt, and Rye. The rye should provide a distinctive note of Earthiness and a slight “spiciness” that rye is known for. The Coffee Malt tops everything off as an additional hint of fresh roasted coffee for aroma and flavor while not having the harsh tones that actual roasted coffee tends to add to beer when added early.
While English Porters are definitely not known for their Hops, this is America, and we love our hops. Almost a pound of hops went into each batch, with the bulk going in later in the boil to provide Aroma. The majority of the bitterness in this beer was derived from Columbus and Phoenix which are typical high Alpha Acid hops known for their bittering qualities. Throughout the boil additional Columbus hops were added for flavor and aroma complexity as hops added later to the boil isomerize differently, leaving more for Aromas, as well as Aromas that attach themselves to the beer better. The last hop punch in this beer was a Flameout addition of Amarillo, which provides an aroma of citrus, melon, and stone fruits. The final IBU will be approximately 45, which should help to balance the sweetness and alcohol burn that higher ABV beers can punch through.
Fermentation, Whats Next:
As of this morning the Coffee Rye Porter is oxygenated, and pitched with 3.4 trillion cells of yeast (US-05, American Ale Yeast). US-05 is great at exemplifying the malt and hops added without adding too much of its own flavors leaving a clean beer as a result. We’ll be leaving all 55 Gallons in the Fermenter for the next 3 weeks, deciding what to do next with it, whether it be adding cold pressed coffee, barrel aging, or maybe even both.