I'd intended to make a smoked brown porter, but I printed out the wrong recipe when I went to the homebrew store. So I ended up with the ingredients for a smoked robust porter. That smokey brown will have to wait for another day.
This batch is headed for a party in July, so I decided to make 10 gallons instead of my normal 5. Brewing a full 10 gallons on my system pushes it to its limits. This oft-referenced mash tun chart claims I should be able to mash 24 pounds (10.9 kg) of grain at a 1.25 qt/lb (2.6 l/kg) mash thickness. But I'd like to actually see someone achieve that feat. I got about 23 pounds into the mash tun today and couldn't even put the lid on the thing without it overflowing. It took 30 minutes to mash in just because I had to be so slow and careful with the last few pounds of grain.
The full grist weight was 26 pounds, which I knew my would be too much for the tun, so I'd already set aside the crystal and black patent malt to use as steeping grains. A good approach, since these aren't grains you really need to mash. Black patent is only there for color, and crystal malt doesn't need mashing.
The slow mash in led to a mash temp in the high 140s, instead of the 152 I'd wanted. And with no room in the tun I couldn't add any boiling water to up the temp. So the beer will be dryer than intended.
When picking out ingredients I had my choice of 3 smoked malts: peat, rauch and cherrywood. I sampled the grains and decided to go with peat. When I got home I started looking into peat malt only to find a bunch of forum posts saying "Oh god, the peat, it burns! Don't use more than a sprinkling of this stuff!" And this was the grain that made up 20% of my grist. Oh.
But throughout the brew day the peat smelled and tasted fantastic. Some of the best tasting wort that I've ever had, honestly. We'll see how it tastes once the yeast does it job, but so far I'm pleased with the peat malt.
Once fermentation is done I intend to split the batch and do a coffee addition to one of the kegs. I just need to find a coffee that can add enticing, complimentary flavors to this peaty beer.