Where there’s smoke, there’s beer.

How good can a beer smell? Very good if you judge that on the Alder Wood Smoked Porter! What a great smelling beer! Very dark too. Here’s a shot of the wonderful looking grain, if only the internet could transmit odors too. If this is as good as I think it may be, I’ll be very sad that they don’t have the smoked malt anymore. Maybe I can find some of my own alder and smoke some 2-row myself. I’d prefer an all grain version anyways. That is the pale LME. Things did not go smoothly today. I brewed because I was trying to shed the stress of the past reunion weekend off my back. I finally no longer have to worry about how things will go, because they already went and things went well. Maybe I should have waited since I was still pretty worn out feeling. I’m probably fine, just didn’t have things go as planned. That’s EKG hops, and some 5.2. Two sets of pH strips have been sent to me and neither work, I just figure the 5.2 does the job it is supposed to for now.

Here we go. I chose to steep the grains biab style. I potted 3 gallons of water and brought that up to 160F and stirred the grains into the water inside my biab bag. Then I covered it and wrapped it in my blanket for 30 minutes. While that steeped, I brought another 3 gallons of water to a boil figuring I’d combine the two and use some of it for the sparging. I let it sit after it boiled so the temperature was down around 170F. When the steeping was done, I twisted that bag, squeezing the grains (I don’t fear the squeeze, I know better.) I then dunk sparged the bag of grains in the clear 3 gallons of water. I again twisted and squeezed the heck out of the bag. Things were still going smoothly.

Typical recipe with 60 minute hops and flame out hops. Some Irish Moss for 15 minutes and the immersion chiller for 15 minutes. I chose to do a late LME addition so that needed 15 minutes too.

Problem 1: Put the flame out hops in at 15 minutes left of the boil. Oops, oh well, no biggie.

Problem 2: If the picture zoomed out a bit more, you’d realize I have just put the flame out, turned on the water for the chiller and was removing the hop sock…all with that bucket of pale LME sitting on the table beside the kettle. Oops. Biggie!

That’s ok. I’ve got enough experience, and not enough fear to go and figure out how to fix things when I screw up. I noticed I was a little low on the water, a bit more boil off than I usually see, the humidity must have changed some. I thought it looked like I was a little over a gallon off, a total judgement call since the chiller was in there still. So while my wort chilled, I boiled up a couple gallons of fresh water. I was going to boil the LME alone in the water and mix that in with the wort after I chilled it. Can’t see any reason this won’t work. And here it is at 1.072…and that’s with over 5.5 gallons. Not bad at all! Tasted nice too, not overly smokey, let’s see how this one does with a ferment. S-04 for the first time for me.

Then when I coming out the door, I somehow managed to close my finger tip in the door and separate the fingernail from my finger a little. And later I didn’t get a good seal on my bottling bucket spigot so it dripped the whole time I was bottling. Things don’t always go smoothly, but RDWHAHB!

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