Blackhawk Porter

Saturday October 11, 2014

This is Dickie’s beer and write up.

It is the beginning of a new hockey season, and what better way to celebrate than with brewing a beer dedicated to my beloved Blackhawks.

I had been debating what type of beer to brew for a few weeks. First, I thought a stout would be pretty good for the upcoming winter, but I didn’t want it to conflict with Tommy’s stout, which is undoubtedly on the horizon. Then I thought, well we made a pretty good pale ale last time, maybe I will go with that. Then my kid suggested a porter. It was pointed out that we don’t have a porter in the collection yet either, so my decision was made.

In anticipation of the brew, I started reading a little bit about the porter style. This led me to making a basic porter recipe. There are only three grains involved. As this beer got it’s start in 18th century London, I used all UK ingredients.

It had been raining all week and things weren’t forecasted to be much better Saturday. I was preparing for a wet day of brewing. However the sun came out from behind the clouds as I began the brew, which is a good omen.

Brewer: Dickie

Grain Bill:

  • 16 lb Pale 2-Row (UK)
  • 1 lb Chocolate (UK)
  • 4 lb Crystal 80L (UK)


  • 3 ounces East Kent Goldings 6.6% Alpha


  • London Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs 1028)


  • Strike temp 160˚ – 6.5 gal
  • 1:40 Mash in – Mash temp 147˚
  • 2:55 Vorlauf #1
  • 3:05 Runoff #1- yielded approx 4 gal wort
  • 3:15 Added 5 gal @ 170˚  – Mash temp 156˚
  • 3:30 Vorlauf #2
  • 3:35 Runoff #2 – yielded approx 4.5 gal wort
  • 3:45 Added 6 gal @ 170˚ – Mash temp 160˚
  • 3:55 Vorlauf #3
  • 4:00 Runoff #3 – yielded approx 5.5 gal wort
  • 5:05 Achieved boil
  • Added 3 oz EKG for 60 minutes
  • 6:10 Boil ended
  • Cold Break
  • 7:30 Racked into (2) 7 gallon carboys. Still had over 12 gallons of wort (estimated). One Carboy was filled a bit too close to the top. I am sure this will cause issues.

OG Hydrometer Reading: 1.044 (out of spec)

OG Spectrometer Reading: 12 Brix = 1.048 (maybe? I dunno how that works yet)

Gravity readings came in a little lower than I had planned. The primary issue is that I pulled too much wort on the third runoff. The color of the wort during runoff still looked good, so I figured I would grab as much wort as possible. Instead of having 12.5 gallons of wort pre-boil, I was closer to 14. I am hoping this does not come back to haunt me in the beer flavor. This is also probably going to adversely affect the color of the finished product as well.

  • 8:30 – Pitched yeast

Went to bed a little discouraged by the low OG readings. However, I am optimistic about the taste of the sample.

Sunday October 12, 2014

  • 6:15  Sat down at the desk and the carboys are going guano crazy. They are laying down a drum beat you can dance to.
  • 6:30 Begin brew day experiment #2 – “Lagerbars” an experimental energy bar made from spent grains
  • 8:15 The carboy that is too full is making some serious noise now. Wort is bubbling through the airlock.
  • 8:30 Decided that I am going to install a blowoff tube
  • 10:30 Blow off tube is working, however wort is still bubbling out of the carboy through the secondary airlock and blowoff tube.
  • 11:30 This shit is a mess!!! Foam overflow!

Current Thoughts:

When I put together the plan for this brew, the last thing I put on the list was a clear mind and patience. I feel like I had neither throughout the day. There were a few moments where I did things I know better than (like pulling too much wort, and filling a carboy too full). Overall, this will be a success. I learned lessons and I think it will produce a drinkable beer.

October 23-

I racked to secondary tonight while listening to the Hawks game. I measured the gravity and tasted the sample. The color is light for a porter, the sample was weak and the gravity measured at 1.011 from 1.044. So a 4.33 ABV.

November 3-

Bottled. The sample seemed very bland the first time, but this second one was decent. I am anxious to see what it is like carbonated.

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