Vanilla Porter – “Batch #1 – Unnamed”

They say no brew day is the same, and boy are they right – this brew day had me sideways, upside down and inside out with the problems I faced. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

The recipe kit I had this weekend was the CraftyBrew Vanilla Porter that I ordered via The porter was going to have (and still might) coconut in it for the working title two-shy-shy but the name is undecided yet.

I had a new pump that I wanted to get setup so I have one for the mash and then the submersible one just for chilling (and as a backup). However, this pump’s DC adapter didn’t fit the power adapter and that pissed me off a little as I was sure I bought them together as a set. Anyway, the old pump was already setup to the chiller so I didn’t want to change that up again. So I snipped the wire, connected a DC adapter that I had from the first pump (it came with 2 in the set – lucky for me) and we were off to the races.

The mash is where it really started to fall apart on me, you see I put too much water in and the grains started to drop down the sides of the grain basket. Luckily for me though the pump was still working – if at 50% flow rate. I had a choice, stick with it for the 90-min mash or pull it all out, sieve it and then start again with less water, or just let it ride.

N.B at this point it was day 3 of a heatwave in Britain and I am not great with the heat at the best of time, a little swearing and thought I went with – let it ride.

After 90 mins, I took out the grain basket, moved it into a bucket to let it drain, emptied the rest into the other bucket with the sieve on top of it. About 15 minutes later I was back to a kettle full of wort ready for the boil. I topped it up to 28 litres as this was a 90 minute boil and I knew I would loose about 6 litres at least.

The boil went off without a hitch, I spent that time cleaning up the mess that had been caused by the grain issue. The hops were added in the hop spider that I managed to recover from my parents shed, where it had been put before the move to the new place. This worked perfectly until….


With 10 mins left of the boil I wanted to sanitise the cooler, but it wouldn’t fit in when the spider was in. So I waited until the end as I was going to be adding 19g of hops at flame-out anyway.


I dropped the hops in and started chilling, it wasn’t until I was at 24 degrees did I notice the mistake. I turned on the tap to empty the wort into the fermenter – perfect until it clogged with about 2 gallons to go.

Out comes the sieve again and I carefully pour the wort into the bucket and I am at 21 litres.

Pitched the yeast US-04 and that is now in the fermentation fridge at 20 degrees for the 4 days, then I will add the vanilla then let it ride for 10 days.


Hop spider works well and easy to clean (when the hops are put into it)

I made a porter!

I used IG Stories to record the brew day



Water level at the start – DON’T overfill

Pump issue with power cable – check everything before brew day

I didn’t save all the photo’s and videos to my phone when posting to IG stories! 



The porter turned out great in the end!  After conditioning in the keg for a week, the flavors have come together and there is a lasting taste of vanilla, which compels you want to take another sip. We also came up with a name for it – Madagascar Midnight.