All part of my job…

I recently donated a brewing session to a silent auction fundraiser. Not only is it good and important to contribute to worthy causes, but I usually end up hooking another new homebrewer. Part charitable work, part preaching the gospel. Probably some karma in there as well. And here we are having survived the Rapture, living to brew another day.

This morning, Ginny and Chas, winners of the auction, came over to participate in the brewing process and to taste and learn about a few beer styles. I let them crush the grains and help watch the kettle, while I regaled them with stories about brewers and beers, successes and failures, and in the end I am pretty sure they are going start brewing fairly soon. Chas has a background as a biologist and as a chef – the perfect combination. And Ginny is a woman who likes dark beer and IPA. I don’t see how they can go wrong…

We tasted my Doppelbock, my Fishhead 60 IPA, the year-old Scotch Ale and the Rauch-Schwarzbier. Starting at about 9:30 am on a Sunday… and it was Ginny’s birthday, to boot! So happy birthday and cheers!

Smoked Porter

5 gallons, all-grain


  • 7 lbs. organic 2-row pale malt
  • 1 lb. German Rauchmalt
  • 1/2 lb. 120°L crystal malt
  • 1/4 lb. malted wheat
  • 1/2 lb. Carafa III malt
  • 1/2 lb. kilncoffee malt
  • 1/2 lb. dark Munich malt
  • 1 oz. Revolution hop pellets (@6.2% aa)
  • 1 oz. Independent hop pellets (@5.4% aa)
  • 1 oz. whole Columbus hops(@13% aa)
  • White Labs London Ale yeast (WLP013)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Procedure: Heat 13 quarts water to 165°F. Crush grains. Mash in grains and hold 60 minutes at 155°F. Heat 15 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 26 quarts sweet wort. Bring to boil. Adde Revolution hops, boil 30 minutes. Add Independent hops, boil 20 minutes. Add Columbus hops (in mesh bag), boil 10 minutes. Remove Columbus hops and remove kettle from heat. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading. Pour wort into a sanitized fermener, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 7 – 10 days at 65°F. Rack to secondary, condition cooler (55°F) fo ten to fourteen days. Prime with corn sugar, bottle and age 2 weeks.

OG: 1060

IBU’s: 48.4

Notes on style: Porter was originally, so they say, a “tonic” for baggage porters in London. It was said to fortify the men who carried heavy stuff around. Stout developed as an even stronger fortifying beverage. The porter style sort of disappeared until brought back in the 1960’s and especially the 1980’s by North American crat brewers. This particular version is something like the one brewed by Alaskan Brewing, although they smoke their malts over alder, this recipe uses a German beech-smoked malt.

Notes on hops: This recipe gave me a chance to try some new hops. Revolution and Independent were developed by brewmaster John Maier of Rogue, in Oregon; Columbus is a newer bittering hop (also known as Tomahawk and Zeus), here used as an aroma hop in a late-kettle addition.

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