This could be interesting...

I went into this weekend thinking I wouldn't be brewing.  Wedding anniversary, clingy kid from having a wicked cough, spotty weather, and plenty of other things needing to be done. But, when my lovely wife tells me I should go brew, who am I to say no?? Soooo....

It started with this...

I've had the grains for another round of the Foggy Lane Smoked Porter on hand for a bit. It was finally time to use them! Since the Porter tasted a lot closer to a stout, I decided to push it a little further to a stout and threw in a bit of Black Roasted Barley.  The roastiness should work nicely in the mix no matter what, so this may very well be a stout by the time things are done.

A perfectly fine temp for a stout.

Things went a bit wacky from the start though. As my water was heating up, I tested the cooler to make sure it was watertight. It seemed to be. So, once I hit the right temperature, I poured everything in only to see that a leak had manifested itself somewhere between the spigot and the inside. So, everything got dumped into the kettle so I could fix things.

At this point, I lost my helper. My little brew boy decided he was done for the day before we even really got started.  That was kind of a bummer, but my wife was nice enough to let me continue so I soldiered on.

Once the repair was made and I was back to mashing in the cooler, things went pretty smooth.  As usual, the temp in the cooler held steady the whole time, and sparging the grains went well enough....though I did have more volume than what could be handled in one rinse.  That was kind of interesting to try and figure out, but thankfully, my little brew buddy left his 2 gallon pot outside, so I was able to "borrow" that for a bit.

Let 'er rip!

The boil took a little longer to get to than what I expected, but then again, I had a bit more volume than I usually do. It also seemed like it wanted to bubble over quite a bit. Whether this was from the recipe or from me just pushing it a little harder to boil the volume off, who knows. It just made it a little harder to walk away from for much longer than a minute.

As what seems to be usual lately, I ended up switching up the hops a bit.  I just didn't have what I had on hand before, but I did have plenty of substitutions that made sense. But to REALLY throw things for a loop, I didn't have the yeast available that I usually would have used. But, I had a small supply of German Ale yeast.  I knocked together a starter and had that going in the background. It wasn't ready to pitch until Sunday morning, but I'm glad I made it because...

When all was said and done, I ended up with what looks like about 4 gallons of 1.070 wort. More than expected and stronger to boot!  This could be interesting because the German Ale yeast might be a little under-pitched (not enough) for that volume/strength. Having made a starter will help, but I'm not sure if it will be enough.  As you can see below, it is chugging away nicely as of this morning. On the bright side, that particular yeast was more effective on my Marzen Rover than expected, so I'm just hoping it doesn't get stuck at something ridiculous like 1.030. Yes, this baby'll be getting rocked...a couple of times. Hopefully that will help to keep the yeastie beasties chewing away at the sugars.

Just how close to the top will it get...

At this rate, this will most likely be ready by Christmas. Well, the straight version will be. Since I have this much volume, I'm definitely going to split off a gallon of it and put it on some bourbon soaked oak for a while.  There was a thought of doing a coffee gallon, too, but we'll have to see if that actually pans out.

After this, I may try and revive my Belgian yeast that has been hanging out in the refrigerator for far too long.  Weather will be a bigger factor since fall is showing up in full force and winter is just around the corner. Oh! And the local kiwi has been picked, ripened, and I should be able to freeze enough for a big batch of the Kiwi-hef for spring/summer enjoyment. As for the next beer, if that belgian yeast wakes up, I may knock out a dubble with figs.