After dropping off five yeast samples to brewer Tom Price over at Brooklyn Brewery, I’ve decided to come back and focus more on recipes that I’ve made in the past couple of months.
Soon after I brewed Winterbock, I decided to go a shade darker and brew a porter. This beer has an interesting history and legend has it that the brew was created in the autumn of 1722. A brewer by the name of Ralph Harwood created a beer called “Entire Butt“. It was a blend of mild ale, stale brown ale, and a sweet pale ale called “twopenny”. This blended beer became a favorite of porters in London that ferried goods and services, hence the name (Mosher, Radical Brewing, 2004). Two great blog posts on the history of porter, truth and speculation, can be found here and here.
Whether this story is true remains to be seen. Realistically, the advents of brown malt and entire brewing made this brew possible. Brown malt, being much lighter in color (~120°L) to chocolate malt, was readily available to brewers in the 18th -19th century and became a key flavor component of porter. Entire brewing involves draining the mash and using the first runnings as one beer, mashing the same grist again and using the second runnings for a separate beer. Porter was one of the first brews to use this industrial process (Mosher, Radical Brewing, 2004).
I decided to brew a porter following the BJCP style guidelines of a robust porter, 12B. A robust porter is an American interpretation of porter, with stronger roast, bitterness, and alcohol levels. The flavor of the beer should have a roast that contributes some dryness but also has a medium sweetness from specialty malts. For this beer I decided to include brown malt, but I doubt that the brown malt today is the same as brown malt from the 1800′s.
The recipe (5.5 gallons):
- 10 pounds Maris Otter malt
- 1 pound of Brown malt (65°L)
- 1 pound of Flaked Rye
- 8.0 ounces of Black Patent
- 8.0 ounces of Crystal 20L
- 8.0 ounces of Crystal 120L
- 8.0 ounces of Chocolate malt
Mashed with 1.3 qts/lb of grain at 152°F for one hour. Collected 6.4 gallons of 1.056 and boiled for 1 hour before adding hops:
- 1.5 ounces of UK First Gold at 60 minutes (33 IBUs – Tinseth)
- Whirlfoc, nutrient at 20 minutes
Cooled rapidly to 65°F (12 minutes), collected a total of 5.2 gallons of 1.068 wort with 69% efficiency into fermentor, and oxygenated for one minute. Pitched 307 billion cells of Wyeast 1098 (British ale). Fermented at 67°F to 71°F for 3 weeks and racked to keg.
- OG: 1.068
- FG: 1.022
- ABV: 6.1%
- IBUs: 33 (Tinseth)
This beer was brewed and drunk a long time ago. I have only two bottles remaining that I am saving for competition. Below is a picture of the brew and a review. Interestingly, I had the opportunity for Garrett Oliver to sample the beer. He liked it and mentioned it had a distinct “Caribbean” flavor. Maybe I should submit this as a foreign export stout?
Appearance: Pours black with no turbidity. Large mocha head with tiny bubbles last throughout the session. Holding up to the light reveals some dark ruby highlights.
Smell: Roast. Some chocolate peaks through with some fruit and rasin-like undertones. No hops and malt is subdued.
Taste: Complex roast character that is stringent at first but gives way to coffee and espresso notes. Chocolate really comes through for me in the brew as well as the characterfull british yeast. Mineral-like earthiness, raisins, and chocolate-covered figs come to mind. Again malt character is somewhat mellow compared to the roast level. Medium to low mouthfeel with ample carbonation. No hint of alcohol.
Overall: I love the brew, but I get different responses from people who try it. Some people mention that the roast is overpowering and one-dimensional, while others say the roast character is appropriately strong and complex. I’m somewhere in between as I would have liked a bit more malt character and the mouthfeel (body) could be increased more. I’m looking forward to getting competition feedback on this brew.