Brewing Little and Large

First brewing large. Last Saturday I went over to my friend Ed's house to help him out with his first all grain brew day. Ed's been brewing for a while. His wedding present to us was a fridge stocked with bottles of tasty beers in loads of different styles. They went down a treat at our after wedding party. A little too well maybe since Ed ended up promising my uncle he'd brew him beer and the uncle promising Ed fields of barley. He recently did a few extract brews but he thought if he was going to buy extra kit he might as well go the whole hog and go all grain. He'll need the kit if the uncle carries out the threat and lands a bag of grain up to him.

We had a lovely day brewing in the sunshine in Ed's back garden. I have kettle envy now, Ed's boiler is a huge 10 gallon one with two powerful elements in it. It heats up very quickly and boils easily. It makes the brew day so much faster, I may have to think about getting one as it takes my gas ring a good while to bring my wort to a boil. We sprinkle sparged the mash which worked really well. At the end we ended up with 23 litres of wort all flavoured with lovely Nelson Sauvin and Cascade hops. Ed's full recipe is here.

Now for the brewing little. One of things I like about brewing is how varied it is. You can have a big 10 gallon set up like Ed's or a stainless steel automatic micro brewery like some of the guys on Irish Craft Brewer or you can do like me and make tiny batches of beer on your cooker with a minimum of fuss. I have some hops and grain I want to use up before they go out of date and I had just enough extract to make a small brew. I checked my stocks after this brew and I have very little specialty grain or hops left so I will need to do an order soon.
I wrote an article about small scale brewing which goes into the other reasons to brew small batches.

For this brew I wanted to use up some golding and fuggles hops that I had for ages. I decided a mild ale might be nice. But I can never leave things alone and so I put in some crystal malt, chocolate malt and oatmeal to steep before the extract. So I think that sort of makes this a porter. At the end of the boil I put in a cup of nice strong espresso. I've had a few coffee stouts and they're always nice but I think the coffee should add something to the porter. I think I like porter better than stout, I'm not keen on the dry roasty flavour of stout and the sweet ones I find too cloying. Anyway here's the recipe.

Westley's Breakfast Porter

Boil volume: 10L
End volume:8-9L

680g Light dried malt extract
Steeped grains, steeped at 66 deg C for 30 minutes
60g Crystal malt
20g Chocolate malt
20g Oatmeal

60 mins: Fuggles and Goldings
30 mins: Fuggles and Goldings
15 mins: Fuggles and Goldings
End: Fuggles and Goldings
Cup of strong espresso

Hop amounts: My accurate scale's batteries died but there's about 5-7g of each hop in each addition. It looked like a lot of hops but they've been there a while so they might be starting to loose flavour anyway.

Yeast: Danstar Nottingham

OG: 1.045

It should yield about eight 500ml bottles. I'll just bottle it straight from the primary better bottle in a bout three weeks time. Thanks to The Beer Nut for his suggestion that this should be a breakfast beer. I think it will be a nice one to sup when the trees start to change colour and thoughts and nights turn that little bit darker.

4 Responses to "Brewing Little and Large" (Leave A Comment)

Velky Al says
August 17, 2009 at 8:42 AM

That article about small scale brewing was the inspiration behind my Limelight wheat beer, which Beer Nut was most complimentary about. Thanks for writing it!

Leigh says
August 23, 2009 at 3:03 AM

Interesing stuff, Laura. I (so far) have only brewed my standard 23-25L Brewlength, but am interested in small scale for piloting recipes. I will save and read your previous article. The beer sounds great - Nelson Sauvin and Cascade - can see that working a charm!

Mike G says
August 26, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Hi, really like the blog. I am an all-grain brewer in Oregon, but returning to Ireland soon...Is it easy to get the ingredients over there?


Bionic Laura says
September 1, 2009 at 4:49 AM

Excellent to see the small scale brewing article is being used by people. I love small experimental batches.

@Mike G. It's getting much easier to get homebrew supplies in Ireland these days. Visit and join up. It's a fab community full of information about brewing in Ireland. We do meet ups as well so you can show off your homebrew when you come back.