Rebrewing … getting back into the hobby

You may have read my post regarding a Perry and read that I’m going to start brewing again. Here’s the long story and my next steps.
Due to my wife’s job(s), we have had to relocate three times in three years.  We were living in Blacksburg, VA for 4 years.  I had an awesome brewing setup.  I had an entire basic kitchen in my basement along with a double miller sink (stove, fridge, kitchen sink, cabinets, drawers, and the double miller sink) as well as a great cellar for fermenting and even lagering in the winter months. When we had to pack up and move to Raleigh, NC all the brewing gear got shoved in a shed or closet where we lived.
Since I know that was a short term arrangement, I never got around to brewing. Likewise a year later when we moved to Ithaca, NY; where we only lived for 10 months.
We recently relocated from Ithaca, NY to Knoxville, TN where we know we will be at least three if not five years while my wife completes a Residency in Equine Surgery at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. As such, I figured that I would have time to learn my new brewing area, brew a beer a month for a few years and have most of it finished when it’s time to pack up and relocate when she if finished (hopefully to a more permanent location).
I got energized by the Perry and since then I have cataloged my supplies, made  lists of required or replacement equipment, ordered some supplies online from Northern Brewer, and am prepared for this weekend’s brew.
I’ve decided to start back into the hobby slowly. I haven’t brewed in a while and brewing is a process that is mostly defined by your workspace. Since I don’t have the awesome setup I had in Blacksburg, I’m going to be learning my new area before I jump into an all grain batch with all it’s processes.
I opened my homebrew books for the first time in years and started reading How to Brew by John Palmer (I must admit I liked the 2nd edition much better than this current edition (3rd)) just to re-familiarize myself with the setup and refresh my memory.
I’m going to make an extract with specialty grains this weekend. I’ve decided on a robust porter, which is one of my favorite styles, and also one that is rather forgiving on newbie brewers.
I’m going to modify the recipe a bit based upon my tastes and availability of hops, but the base recipe from How to Brew is as follows:
Port o’ Palmer Porter

  • 6.6 lbs pale malt extract (liquid)
  • 1/2 lb crystal malt (60°L)
  • 1/2 lb chocolate malt
  • 1/4 lb black patent malt
  • 1 oz Nugget (10% alpha) for 60 minutes
  • .5 oz Willamette (5% alpha) for 40 minutes
  • .25 oz Willamette (5% alpha) for 20 minutes

I’m not going to bump up the OG with another 1/2 pound or so of extract and I probably will not use that hop schedule as I’ll be doing a full volume boil. I’m going to visit Allen Biermakens, my LHBS, today and find some suitable ingredients and similar pacific northwest hop varieties.
I’ll update with final recipe and pictures of the brewing and process this weekend.
Here are the pictures:
The pre-boil:

Just pitched yeast:

The oops (overactive yeast):

The closeup (of overactive yeast):

The solution (1″ blow off tube):

3 thoughts on “Rebrewing … getting back into the hobby”

  1. Final recipe:
    7 lb 8 oz Pale Malt Extract (Muntons Light)
    8 oz chocolate
    8 oz crystal 60
    4 oz black patent
    .75 oz nugget (13%) 1 hour
    .5 oz willamette (4.3%) 40 minutes
    .25 oz willamette (4.3%) 20 minutes
    SafAle English (S-04)
    Grains soaked at 160 for 30 minutes.
    OG was 1.055. Racked to secondary after 6 days at an SG of 1.015

  2. I bottled on Monday which was 17 days after brewing (6 days in primary, 11 in secondary). FG was 1.015. I bottled by myself and it reminded me why I started kegging and makes me look forward to cleaning all the draft equipment and kegging in the near future. Beer tasted good. It was clean tasting with a nice roast on the back of the tongue and a decent amount of bitterness. I’ll post a tasting in a month after it’s carbonated.

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