Author Topic: Playing with Porter  (Read 1101 times)

Offline qm3k

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Playing with Porter
« on: October 14, 2011, 04:15:41 PM »
Hi all,

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.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2011, 08:14:50 AM »
You should post your stout recipe.  In my Porter, I usually cut down on roasted grains like roasted barley, but increase the chocolate malt with some crystal.
Dan Chisholm

Offline Malticulous

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2011, 08:30:39 AM »
I would try London's water profile.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 08:03:24 AM »
This is interesting. I am reading 'Malt and Malting'  right now. It is a big ol' thick text about malt written in the 1880's. One of the things the autor mentions is that roasted barley was originally used mainly as a way around malt taxes and was considered quite inferior to dark roasted malts in all dark beers of the time. (porters and stouts being pretty close in style at that time). He is of the opinion that not only shoudl roasted barley not be used, really dark roasted malt shouldn't be used either. He advocates kilning to a dark chocolate brown and no more. Don't know if this helps with the OPs questions but I though it was interesting.

He also suggests roasting your own malt as close to brew time as possible which goes against current 'wisdom' but would be an interesting experiment to attemp.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline speed

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 09:42:48 AM »
maybe mash higher and add some wheat or oatmeal

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2011, 11:16:03 AM »
Can't offer much help other than wishing you luck with the Lucky Bucket Homebrewers Contest! Plus, the winner gets to brew their Porter on their system. Should be a hoot!  Cheers!!!
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 11:21:27 AM by hamiltont »
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline speed

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2011, 04:34:55 PM »
Can't offer much help other than wishing you luck with the Lucky Bucket Homebrewers Contest! Plus, the winner gets to brew their Porter on their system. Should be a hoot!  Cheers!!!
so are you entering? cause if you are then i ain't cause i know i won't win :)

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 06:23:44 AM »
Can't offer much help other than wishing you luck with the Lucky Bucket Homebrewers Contest! Plus, the winner gets to brew their Porter on their system. Should be a hoot!  Cheers!!!
so are you entering? cause if you are then i ain't cause i know i won't win :)
You're funny Dan!  I am thinkin' about it though.  Porter's aren't in my sweet spot so you have no worries...  ;)  Cheers!!!
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline wfaris

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Re: Playing with Porter
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 11:04:44 AM »
I'm brewing up a mexican chocolate porter for the same competition so neither one of you stand a chance.   ;D

Looking forward to tasting yours.  I'm new to Omaha so I still need to figure out the water.  We should be able to learn something from each other.

Wayne
Bugeater Brewing Company
Nebraska Brews Since 2002