Smoked Porter

After my first brew kettle/MLT sprung a leak, it was time to retire my 5 gallon ghetto setup. I decided to upgrade to a 10 gallon megapot from Austin Homebrew. I added the Blichmann BrewMometer and stainless steel 3-piece ball valve. While the new kettle is awesome, dealing with Austin Homebrew was not the best experience. It took more than a month to arrive, thanks to an incredibly stupid system in which the thermometer and ball valve are shipped directly from Blichmann. Despite it being listed as “in stock” on the Austin Homebrew site, the thermometer was, in fact, not in stock. When it finally was, Blichmann shipped, then recalled the order due to an “invoicing error.” Anyway, the full order finally arrived last week and I got to work on the smoked porter I had planned out ages ago.

The recipe is primarily based on the Stone Smoked Porter clone from the Dec 08 issue of BYO. I had to make a few modifications to correct for a slightly shitty efficiency and to use up some crystal malt I had. Also, I scaled down to fit the batch into my 5 gallon primary fermenter (corny keg). Here is the recipe I used:


10 lbs 2-row pale malt
1.5 lbs chocolate malt
5 oz crystal 60L
4 oz crystal 90L
.25 lbs peated malt.

Added to make up gravity points:
.75 lbs light LME
.25 lbs brown sugar


1.5 oz Perle (7.6% AA, 90 min)
.5 oz Mt. Hood (Kevin’s Fresh Hop rejects, 5.8% AA, 15 min)

Yeast: 1 pack Safale 04

Other: 2 tsp Irish moss (15 min)

Mashed at 154, with 4 gallons of water. After a 60 minute mash, batch sparged with 3 gallons of 170 degree water. Collected 5.5 gallons of smokey wort.

Since the new pot is gigantic and cannot fit on my stove, this was all done on the back patio with the help of the turkey fryer. Few things are as disgusting as the act of deep frying an entire turkey’s dead body; however, the burner is significantly cheaper than anything from homebrew shops and a million times more efficient than my electric range. Most importantly, it allows me to bring the brewing outside – great for spring days like this brew day. Big thanks to Kevin for this. He needed a kettle a while back and picked up the fryer kit on sale at Boscovs (as he put it “nothing more humiliating than being vegan and walking around a store with a turkey fryer.”) Split the cost – he got a $20 7 gallon pot, I got the burner, which the new kettle barely fits on.

Keeping the mash at 154 was much easier with the thermometer. It dropped down to about 150 midway through, so I added a few cups of boiling water to get it back to 154.

My target pre-boil gravity was 1.053. I ended up with a corrected reading of 1.049. To compensate, I added some LME I had in the fridge and a little brown sugar. After a 90 minute boil, I ended up with about 4 gallons of 1.066 wort. I probably could have gotten another half gallon out of the sludge at the bottom of the kettle, but, mostly out of laziness, I decided to leave it behind. I needed headspace in my keg anyway. After it chilled to 68, I transferred directly to a corny keg. I’ve been using corny kegs as secondary fermenters for a little while now, but this is only the second time I’ve used kegs for primary fermentation. I got the idea from an article in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of BYO. It’s pretty simple and has many benefits (less space, don’t break easy, no light and a built in handle to name a few). Just pull out the little tube under the gas-in post and put a barbed gas quick disconnect on the post. Run a hose from the disconnect as you would a blow-off tube.

This should ferment at 68 for about 3 weeks. Once the primary fermentation is over, I’ll transfer to another keg (through a tube connected to each liquid-out disconnect) using CO2. I may add about .25 oz of bourbon soaked oak chips I’ve had around for some time. That’s yet to be determined.