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(Cherry Chocolate) Oatmeal Robust Porter

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brewsumore:
I am using up the last of a pound of Goldings I have in the freezer.  I have read that many British brewers traditionally hopped stouts/porters with low alpha hops, so it doesn't concern me much.  I felt that 37 IBUs was a decent middle ground for splitting the beer.  That said, my tastebuds are twisted from lots of IPA!!!!  I agree that it's a bit high in alpha acids for the fruit/chocolate half of the beer.

I hope that the wheat and aromatic don't muddy up the flavors.  I will consider removing the aromatic.  Due to the fruit, I want to leave the wheat in since fruit (and chocolate?) can be a head killer.I've seen plenty of porter recipes with the same dark malts plus a small wheat malt addition.

brewsumore:
Well, after mashing too hot (~157.5)  :-[, the beer still came down to 1.018 after a week - close enough.  It is a bit hoppy for treating half the batch with fruit, but I still went ahead with that.  After all, porter in the 1700's was around 60 IBUs or up to even 150 IBUs, so 38 IBUs isn't over the top.  Otherwise the recipe tasted very nice.

Anyway, yesterday I added the fruit and chocolate, 10 lbs of my thawed cherries (mix of sweet and tart), that I first pitted + ~8 oz. of "Tart is Smart" montmorency 100% cherry juice concentrate + 8 oz. Hershey's unsweetened cocoa.  I put it altogether in a pot and pasteurized at ~160F for 20 minutes.  This wasn't too hard since I have a quick read thermocouple digital thermometer for numerous quick checks.  I stirred a lot with a clean plastic spatula (gets into the corner where the pot wall meets the base) to keep the temp uniform throughout the batch.  I poured that into a sanitized 6.5 gal bucket and then chilled that in a cold water bath until below 70F.  There was one gallon of it.  Next, I racked 5 gallons of the 1-week old porter on top, and added some anti-foam drops just in case!  I don't think I sucked up enough of the yeast cake when transferring.  After 24 hrs there was still minimal pressure out the airlock, so I just added another packet of US-05 and it is doing well now. 

Man, my kitchen smelled great with the cherry chocolate goodness!  After 10 - 11 days I will cold condition for a day or 2 and then rack to a keg, with a small sock of sanitized cheesecloth or similar clamped over one end during racking to keep fruit sediment out of the keg.

Oh, I also checked again and in case you don't know, the diacetyl rest for a porter is done solely by leaving the beer an extra couple days in the fermenter before kegging or bottling.

And, I found that toasting the flaked oats went well at 325F, stirring every 6 minutes until done.  I used a hotel pan that had a lot of surface area to make it go a bit quicker.  It took about 30 minutes, while the strike water was heating.

brewsumore:
This beer turned out very well - both varieties. 

The straight porter is smooth and creamy for a robust porter due to the oats and if anything, could have had a bit more roasty character (for the 11 gallon batch I could have added .25 - .40 lb more of the black patent malt).  Still I got what I was shooting for and it is not overhopped - very balanced I feel.  In fact, due to it's smoothness and great creamy head on co2, I don't think I'll hook it up to beer gas, since that would strip more roast and hop character from the beer.  And I really like the good body and mouthfeel of the beer.

The chocolate cherry process worked very well.  At first I was afraid that I overdid the cherry character, but after having gotten a few glasses into the keg, this is not the case (well maybe just a little bit).  However, the chocolate notes are a bit reserved.  I taste it more as a lingering taste rather than up front.  I think that I should have stirred after racking onto the cherry/chocolate mixture, to distribute the chocolate flavor more.  With the additional added packet of US-05 after the fruit/chocolate addition, it fermented completely dry and after 10 days I cold conditioned for +48 hrs and then kegged.  The head is there, a little reduced, and not very long-lasting due to fruit, as should be expected - all the more reason to add the wheat malt and oats to the recipe.

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