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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: mincksj on November 26, 2010, 07:31:46 PM

Title: portlike beer
Post by: mincksj on November 26, 2010, 07:31:46 PM
I have a simple question. Randy Mosher gives a recipe for a portlike beer. Has anyone brewed this or any fortified beer like this? I have searched the forum but haven't really seen anything. Google-ing, I have found several threads on other forums but alas, no updates on how it actually tastes. I want to know whether it is worth the hassle.
Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: a10t2 on November 26, 2010, 08:22:36 PM
I don't have Mosher's book handy, so I'm not sure what the recipe is, but it seems like most very high-alcohol beers have a portlike quality. DFH's Raisin d'Extra and 120 Minute come to mind. I brewed one a couple years ago: http://seanterrill.com/2009/11/05/batch-25-tasting-notes/
Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: capozzoli on November 26, 2010, 08:27:05 PM
I brewed a beer with maple syrup in it. It had strong notes of port in it. I found it very undesirable.

Thomas Hardy's Ale. is port like. Look for recipes like that.
Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: bonjour on November 26, 2010, 08:58:07 PM
Thomas Hardy's Ale. is port like. Look for recipes like that.
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Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: The Professor on November 27, 2010, 12:57:44 AM
I have a simple question. Randy Mosher gives a recipe for a portlike beer. Has anyone brewed this or any fortified beer like this? I have searched the forum but haven't really seen anything. Google-ing, I have found several threads on other forums but alas, no updates on how it actually tastes. I want to know whether it is worth the hassle.

There's only one way to find out if it's worth it...and that is to make a small batch.  Some people like this kind of brew, others don't.   But f you are a careful brewer with a palate that enjoys port, sherry, and specialties the likes of SA Triple Bock or Utopias , my guess is that  you'll probably wish that you made a full batch or more.

I have made fortified meads for years, using brandy (just as one would do making port or sherry).  The closest I've come to a fortified beer was a Burton/Barleywine that I reserved about a gallon of and to which I added a healthy measure of Scotch Whisky.  It was quite good, but a little too good...I think that in an uncharacteristic (for me) bit of impatience, I consumed it before it had a chance to really age and meld flavors together.  I think with the fortified beers, an extended post-blend aging would certainly always be beneficial. 
I do know that the effect is amazing in the fortified meads I've done;  I've just bottled a strong (to begin with) mead that was brewed in 1991, fortified with brandy in 1993, and aged in bulk (on wood) ever since in a few  very full 1 gallon jugs. 
The effect is  quite potent, certainly sherry-like, and with that extra added  'something' that comes from the original honey ferment.  Right now, it is the oldest fermentation of any real volume currently  in my cellar (not counting a dozen or so  old bottles of commercially made strong beer).

I think that with a well aged, fortified beer you could expect pronounced sherry notes, some degree  of sourness (depending on your original ferment and sanitation, and when you added the fortifying alcohol)  as well as the usual raisiny, almost mollasses-y notes that  any well made and really strong beer would develop.

The only thing I can say based on my limited experiences in this regard, is that it's probably worth it to take a chance and make double the batch you normally might.  It may seem like a risky shot in the dark right now, but if you are a 'clean' brewer with confidence in your procedures, you very probably won't  regret having made a full or extended batch  when you finally sample  any remaining bottles years down the line.

Of course, the problem is (for me anyway) keeping my grubby mitts  off of the stuff while it's aging...
Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: mincksj on November 27, 2010, 02:33:27 PM
What is fascinating about this beer is that it undergoes extensive ageing in a warm place and uses sherry yeast to ferment. This yeast is supposed to form a layer on top of the beer which consumes the oxygen.  Also I am a big fan of fortified wines, port, sherry, etc. However the whole process seems complicated and prolonged. Well we'll give it a try. and if I still remember that I started this thread by the time I actually drink it, I'll let everyone know.
Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: beveragebob on December 01, 2010, 10:57:41 AM
Probably a great question for Ask the experts, being Randy is currently the one that is in the rotation.
Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: CASK1 on December 09, 2010, 04:30:28 PM
Oxidation of beer is usually a bad thing (cardboard, etc.), but can lead to sherry- and port-like characters in high-gravity beers.
Title: Re: portlike beer
Post by: James Lorden on December 09, 2010, 05:32:41 PM
Oxidation of beer is usually a bad thing (cardboard, etc.), but can lead to sherry- and port-like characters in high-gravity beers.

Oxidation of wine is usually a bad thing too...

I like the idea of making a standard beer, cutting off fermentation at the desired level of sweetness, then fortifing with a neutral spirit...  add some oak chips for flavor... sounds great!