Sunday was another brew day and the second time making a new recipe on the new brewery. One thing we are running into is the pre-heating of water challenge. We are using the HLT kettle to heat up the water before we start. But taking into account the “loss” at the bottom of all the kettles that are used, the total amount of water needed quickly gets up to the limit of the kettle. We did this the first time around, ran out of hot water for our sparge water and had to re-fill during sparging.
To avoid this, and to have plenty of usable hot water towards the end of the brew, we heated water in two stages. First for the mash, then refilled and added water for sparge taking into account the bottom loss for all the kettles. This turned out to be around 60L left in the HLT. This also allows us to start the pumps and run the mash water in the HLT during sparge water heating. This process took around 30minutes before the HTL kettle and the mash tun were running at the correct temperature.
Having never brewed a porter before, this was a new experience on all counts. Both the type of recipe, malt combo and hops. Its based heavily on pale malt and then infused with some dark, chocolate roast and crystal malts. This again makes the dark but not black color.
Brewing with the new setup and controller was as the fist time a complete success. So easy to control and maintain throughout the brewing.
Its currently fermenting on 19.4 degrees C for a week before the magic happens. What magic you ask? Well, adding the vanilla and some special trickery.
When trying to find the best way to fuse vanilla to a porter, it turned out that this should be added with the same principle as dry hopping. This is to avoid a vanilla flavour thats to dominant, but also allowing all the best aromas and flavours to be extracted from it. But we also decided to add another touch to it. We sliced the vanilla pods down the middle and scraped all the seeds and meat out of them. Then we put this and the pods themselves in a bowl of VSOP cognac and hopefully are able to get the best of two things in the blend. So at secondary fermentation, we plan to add this mix cognac and all into the tank and let this fuse with the porter for the last week. To us, this sounds amazing, but that is yet to discover 🙂 So stay tuned as we create our own vision of a VSOP Vanilla Porter.