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True Batch Brew all-grain Porter kit (with equipment)

Started by derfel, February 23, 2014, 09:36:19 PM

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I picked this up in Bradleys on North Main st. a few weeks ago  - I'd seen a tweet from Hollands about it so when
they came to Cork I decided to try one out. I've been doing kits and been planning to move to small batch all grain so
this is a nice way to dip a toe in the water.

You get basically everything you need, bar 2 decent sized pots - 7 litres+ each and a funnel.
I decided to follow the instructions as precisely as I could. The only thing I changed was to use Starsan instead of the VWP supplied.
This is the porter kit.

True Batch all grain kit, via Bradleys by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

My first problem was the largest pot I had was 5 litre, so I had to source a larger one. Luckily, Heatons had nice large stock pots for a decent price - so now I'm sorted for brewing and (I've been told) the ham for Christmas!

Step 1 - bring 3.3l to 71c and then add the grain.

Ready to add grain to water by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

then keep the temp between 63 and 68 for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

The mash by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

Temperature  control was a bit tricky - it dropped below 63 at one point for a couple of minutes - I misjudged the lag and
let it drop.

At the end of this stage you bring the temp to 77c.

Step 2 is the sparge - they say to get 4l of water ready, strain the pot into a new vessel and then add the 4l to the mix, pouring over the grain. So now I have one nice big pot and the next largest I have is 5l - so I improvised with 2 smaller pots. One of which I had 4l of fresh water in. It was a bit like one of those riddles where you have 3 pots and have to hit a certain amount of water in one :)

Getting ready to sparge by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

So, I got on with it. It took a fair while.

Mid way through sparging by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

Repeat 3 times.

Sparging by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

After sparging Step 3 - the boil. you boil gently for an hour, adding the bittering hops, irish moss and aroma hops at 15 mins, 45 and 55 respectively.

Hops and irish moss by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

Filter into the sanitised demijohn:

decanting to demijohn from pot by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

Cool to 21c and pitch the yeast. Cooling took a while - I used a water bath in the kitchen sink. I should have put a couple of cool packs into the freezer. Next time maybe.
Once it cools, you pitch the yeast, pop in the solid bung and shake the heck out of it for a couple of minutes.

Yeast pitched and demijohn shaken by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

Switch to the hollow bung, attach the syphon tube and put the other end into a glass of sanitiser solution.

Fermenting! by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

Leave it in a cool dark place for a couple of days and then switch out the hose contraption for a standard airlock.

Fermenting in the kitchen by Brian Clayton, on Flickr

Its currently bubbling away on the kitchen table.

It was good fun and a real eye opener. I've only ever done kits, so seeing all grain was fantastic - it's a very different experience.
Way more involved and fun. I'm looking forward to tasting it - I think I can bottle in about 2 weeks.

The kit is €55, I imagine you could save money buying the individual components online, but its great for a beginner - all you need is the pot. (unlike me you might want to check that you do actually have a large enough pot, or even 2. oh, and that you actually have a funnel. You could save yourself two emergency shopping trips :) ).


Great write up and excellent photos.

Well done.

As you are a full member and have done a review now, watch out for the raffles of free stuff that needs reviewing.
Remember: The Nationals are just round the corner - time to get brewing


Great work Brian!
Be sure and post a review of the resulting beer too.
No doubt a bottle will surface at a meet. ;-)


Looking good Brian. Did you get a gravity reading?


Ferm.: Pear Wine
Cond.: Cider
Bottled: Helles Lager, Pumpkin Ale
To Brew: Ginger Ale


Thanks all.
It's the porter kit.
The whole process took about 4 hours, which was a nice way to spend a Sunday morning. It's currently bubbling away very enthusiastically on the kitchen table,
I've just had a message from herself that it's very loud and annoying :)

OG was 1.058, which surprised me, seems quite high.

I should be able to bring a bottle to the next meetup in Midleton.


Weird... I had a dream about these kits last night and this review answered all the  questions I had!

Great job Brian Clayton, on Flickr


Yeah but Brian had no clothes on in that dream.


Well.. who's to say that he had any on while brewing?
Look closer and you'll see he's wearing nothing but an apron.
Look at those hairy bare legs poking out :


Ah Jesus I can see a belt around his knees, Brian what are you stirring with :o


Hold tough lads, they might be Mrs Claytononflickr's legs? I can't see any hair on them myself but A+ for observation Eoin  :P


Jeez you have to careful posting photos here ???

Auld eagle eyes (aqnd there are many) will spot the most modest infraction!
Remember: The Nationals are just round the corner - time to get brewing


They did something like that in Blade Runner with the bathroom.


TBB have a website now as well, and ever better are based in Bray ;D


Just to confirm, those are my legs. You nutters :)