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April 15, 2006

raising the edmund fitzgerald

an easter weekend brew day for the biergotter crew, even if there were only two of us present today. that's ok, the beer goes farther when you only split it two ways! :)

eric and i tossed around a bunch of ideas about what to brew, but last weekend when he said 'hey, we should do a clone of ed fitz', (referring to the fantastic Edmund Fitzgerald porter by the Great Lakes Brewing Co) i was sold. porters are my favourite style, and ed fitz is one of my all-time favourite beers, so it didn't take much convincing. i found some info about the ingredients and what was supposed to be a close recipe, and went shopping. hit the usual wine and beer factory for some yeast, hops, and grain on tuesday and we were set.

today also gave me a chance to try out some new hardware: my shiny new barley crusher grain mill, the deep-discount stir plate and glassware, and a nice oak mash paddle that i made this week (post on that to follow). the barley crusher was kickass, and tore through the grain in no time (even with cranking it by hand). crush looked great with the factory setting and efficiency is right around where i expected. the stir plate led to a boatload of really happy yeast. and the paddle worked out even better than i thought it would.

also present for part of today were a couple of guests, rob and taavi. both are interested in learning more about brewing, so i invited them to drop by and see how we do things.

on with the photos!

two of the stars of the show: the stir plate and barley crusher. smacked the yeast thursday morning and transferred it into a starter thursday night just before taking this photo.

mmmm, portery goodness. nice color, even on the head. this is the grain during the saccarification rest.

rob (left) and eric (right), consuming some much-needed coffee. note the handle of the mash paddle sticking out of the keg on the left. more photos of it in a second.

heating it up for mash out.

eric stirring the mash.

closer view of the mash paddle, made from a piece of red oak. it worked much better than the broom handle we've been using.

a couple quality shots of me cleaning out the tun, transferring the spent grain to a clear garbage bag so it can go out with our organic recycling. eric needs a little more practice with the camera (although he'd probably blame his hangover).

not one, not two, but THREE shots of the hot liquor on its way towards the boil. i think this was about when rob and eric said it'd be boiling "anytime now". it actually started boiling about 45minutes later. the wind seemed to make things heat up kind of slowly, and led to a larger boil off than we expected. more on that later.

so the barley crusher is supposed to fit nicely on top of a 5 gallon pail. lets just say that it doesn't work quite as well on a 6.5 gallon pail. started trying to turn the crank and promptly flipped the barely crusher, spilling about a half pound of pale malt all over the garage floor. oh well, we figured our efficiency would make up for it (and it did). this won't be an issue once i get around to motorizing it...

here we have rob skimming the hot break. mmm, skum.

eric and taavi monitoring the first carboy as it fills.

me, keeping an eye on the racking cane and trying to keep it out of the sludge at the bottom of the kettle. can you tell porter makes me happy?

two shots of the starter, just prior to pitching. stepped it up on friday, so by pitching time it was full of nice, happy yeast.

the two carboys after about 90 seconds of pure oxygen from the 0.5micron diffusion stone and pitching the yeast. fitted with blowoffs and ready for what i expect to be a fast and vigorous ferment.

when the day was done we had 10.5 gallons of wort at 1.075. woops! we were aiming for 1.058 from 80% efficiency (which should have gave us about 5.8-6.0%abv), but actually hit 81%. pre-boil we had about 13.2 gallons at 1.053, which looked fine, but we lost almost 3 gallons during the 90 minute boil. so that put us at 1.075, which will likely put it closer to 7.5%abv. oh well, if it turns out anywhere close to ed fitz we'll be pretty darn happy.

oh yeah, here's the recipe. enjoy!

Posted by grub at April 15, 2006 11:54 PM

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Last Modified: Sunday, 05-Aug-2012 10:33:18 MST