This post may be a bit convoluted, so please bear with me...there is a method to my madness.
I am preparing to brew for my very first competition...it is for a local brewery and there is only one requirement -- I must brew a porter of some kind. I have several weeks and plan to brew several times in order to dial in my recipe and get it just right.
I am a pretty experienced brewer and have been producing some really good beers recently...trouble is, I tend to be a pale/amber/wheat fan, so that is what I brew. I don't have a lot of experience with darker beers. I also build my water from RO with the help of John Palmer's spreadsheet -- the water in my area is pretty horrid. You don't so much drink it as chew it (extremely hard). To make things worse, the municipal water supply is drawn from 2 separate rivers, and the source can change hourly, so getting a reliable water report is tough.
I am pretty conservative when it comes to water additions, but I have managed to get good profiles for an IPA, amber, and a German Pils...all have turned out well.
Now I will get to the point (finally). The last beer I brewed was an oatmeal stout, and, as usual, I built the water from RO to a
generic Dublin profile (seemed like a good place to start, and I am aware that I have to take water profiles with a grain of salt). The beer ended up rather disappointing...not drain-worthy, but disappointing. While I can taste a good beer underneath, with all of the roasty, full characters, it is rather insipid and watery. The fermentation was clean...no active off flavors that I can detect, and the attenuation was spot on (I got my expected F.G.). I mashed at the temperature recommended by the recipe (I don't remember off hand what it was, but I stuck to it). Head retention is also pretty crummy. I haven't had these issues with my lighter colored beers.
I am wondering if anyone has any pointers about brewing darker beers so that I can avoid this type of issue when I work on my porter.
Thanks for enduring the ramble.