Homebrewing: Robust Porter Brew-Along Day 18


Tips and techniques to help you brew better beer at home.


[Photograph: Sarah Postma]

The Robust Porter is ready to bottle. I checked the gravity of the beer one more time to be sure that fermentation is completely finished, and it showed exactly the same number as last week, 1.019. This means that while there are still some sugars left in the beer, they are not the type of sugar that can be easily fermented by the type of yeast we're using. It's possible that your porter will take longer to ferment than the three weeks it took for this one to finish, but always be patient and wait for two separate gravity readings to be consistent. If fermentation is still active when you bottle, even if it's really slow, it will cause over carbonation or possibly even exploding bottles.

I used my standard method to bottle the beer. From the measurements on the side of the bucket, the final volume of beer I had was about 4.75 gallons. I thought that a medium-low level of carbonation would be good for this beer, so I used about 0.75 ounces of corn sugar per gallon of beer, which works out to roughly 3.5 ounces of corn sugar. Your calculation might be a little different, depending on the final volume you end up with and whether you want a higher carbonation or not. For the Robust Porter style it would be fine to use a medium level of carbonation, which would be as high as 0.9 ounces of corn sugar per gallon.

When transferring the beer to the bottling bucket using an auto-syphon racking cane, it's a good idea to leave as much sediment behind as possible in the fermenting vessel. It can be tough to do, especially when using a bucket for fermentation, but I try to keep the racking cane at least an inch off the bottom of the bucket or carboy. This sediment is dormant yeast cells, protein, and bits of grain and hops, so it's not really harmful to your beer, but when it's ready to drink you don't really want this stuff floating in your glass of delicious porter.

Since the beer is done fermenting, the more gentle you treat your beer the better. Exposing it to oxygen by shaking or stirring will cause your beer to become stale quicker than normal. The phrase "syphon quietly" is often used to describe what you want to achieve at this step. Don't splash your beer when moving it around, and be sure that the syphon hose is all the way at the bottom of the bottling bucket before you begin. This is the best way to ensure that your beer will be the best it can be in the weeks and months after bottling.

I'm going to put these bottles in a closet for a while at about 70°F and let them carbonate. These will be ready to drink in about two weeks.

Go Back in Time

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Robust Porter Brew-Along Day 1 »
Robust Porter Brew-Along Day 2 »

Robust Porter Brew-Along Day 3 »
Robust Porter Brew-Along Day 4 »
Robust Porter Brew-Along Day 8 »
Homebrewing: Robust Porter Brew-Along Day 11 »