Author Topic: Semi-historic porter  (Read 705 times)

Offline unclebrazzie

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Semi-historic porter
« on: February 22, 2016, 10:13:57 AM »
Peepz,

HomoEccentricus gave me some brown malt to try in a porter.
I have a copy of Ron Pattinson's Homebrewer's Guide to Vintage Ales, and dragged out a recipe for Barcaly Perkins' 1821 TT porter.

Original recipe is 86% pale, 12% brown and 2% amber for a 1055 OG porter with 77 IBUs (90' and 60' gifts of Goldings).
When I run this through my brewing software, it ends up somewhere on the pale side of 23 SRM (45 EBC) which is way paler than what is now considered to be a porter.

1821 is just around the corner of the invention of black patent malt, which does not feature in the original recipe.
I decided to slightly tweak the recipe, trying to imagine the mindset of a 19th century brewer who's just setting out to begin using this new black malt everyone's talking about.

Recipe for 20 liters of 1055 OG:

83% pale
10% brown
5% black
2% cara amber

Boil 90' with
15g Brewer's Gold         @T-90'
10g Brewer's Gold         @T-60'

Leads to 42IBU which I think is plenty for a non-vatted porter. Black malt brought the colour to around just above 30 SRM.

Ferment with a lively starter of Thames Valley (again courtesy of HE).

Brewed this yesterday, bubbling away as I type this.



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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Semi-historic porter
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2016, 01:21:32 PM »
I wonder if it might taste too burnt with that much black, but I think it will be good.  Nice idea!
Dave

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Semi-historic porter
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2016, 01:24:47 PM »
Yeah, that'd be one to be sure to mash @ 5.6 pH, to soften the edges on the black malt. I like the stuff in porter though.
Jon H.

Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Semi-historic porter
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2016, 09:54:23 AM »
Seems like, the way I understand porters, black malt is kinda mandatory in contemporary (read: post-1820) recipes. After all, that's what black malt was designed for at the time.
Historic porters require brown (and lots of it), and London porters (be they old or new) require at least a bit of brown.

How much black malt a contemporary porter needs, may be up for debate. I settled on 5% for various reasons.
One is colour: 10% brown malt yields, well, brown beer. Decidedly un-porterish. I could have gone for chocolate or carafa but then I'd need to invent a time machine to introduce those malts to 19th century London and my weekend was busy enough as it was.
Another reason was speculative in nature: how much black malt would an actual 19th century porter brewer have used in initial test batches? My guess would be "a tad much", seeing as how used they were to liberally using brown malt. Granted, that's pure and unadulterated speculation from my part.
Cara-amber...yeah I know. That time machine will need to get built after all.
Brewers Gold is, of course, historically bollocks, but it was the only UK pellet hop I had on hand and it'll give me a comparative foothold next to HomoEccentricus' version which got this ball rolling in the first place.
Pellet hops were important because the original recipe calls for a 90' boil of over 100g of vegetable matter, and a 60' boil for another 100g. Made me wonder if those early porters (and IPAs for that matter) didn't all taste like a boiled grass to some extent. I contacted Ron Pattinson to ask his opinion about this. I'll make sure to follow up with his reply.
All truth is fiction.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Semi-historic porter
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 10:26:02 AM »
Follow-up:

Racked to secondary one week after pitching. SG levelled out at 1.014 after two days, with super-smelly yeast fumes.
Left it to sit on the cake and floaters for the rest of the week, then (un-historically) cold-crashed by moving the fermenter outdoors to 2-4°C. Superfloccy yeast, which settled nicely on the bottom.

Fairly thinnish body, which makes sense given the OG and the low percentage of Cara.

Nose is light roast and distinctive chocalte with a whiff of coffee and a bit of yeasty fruits. Taste is toast'n'roast with a touch of chocolate at the end. Definitey a brown porter both in looks and flavour.

I'm going to let this sit in the cellar for a couple of weeks to settle and clear and then it's bottling time :)
All truth is fiction.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Semi-historic porter
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2016, 09:36:27 AM »
More follow-up.

I lugged a couple of bottles to a British beer festival on the Tilquin premises last week. Where better to get some meaningful feedback on my porter than from the Brits themselves, eh?

General consensus was that is was good. Not stellar, but good. Good balance between the sweetness (which I attribute to cara-amber) and bitter (which I think comes from both the hops and the brown & black malt). Good body, which one brewers reckoned deserved a bit of barrel to give it something to play with.

HomoEccentricus even shot a rare compliment my way, stating I should "give up on brewing anything blond and hoppy and focus only on black stuff".

Regardless of any of the above, this baby (the beer, not HomoEcc.) took a long time to carbonate, and may need even more time to mellow out.
Next porter I'm brewing will be vatted, or will at least spend some time on wood.
All truth is fiction.
--Don Quichote