The king cake is an integral part of the Mardi Gras celebration. It’s said that thousands of the cakes are consumed in the annual Fat Tuesday celebration in New Orleans alone!
This year, Big Beach Brewing Company (Gulf Shores, Alabama) is celebrating its favorite holiday with a King Cake porter dreamed up by brewers Rod Murray and Ryan Bingham. Not only does the recipe incorporate additions of cinnamon sticks and vanilla, signature flavors of king cake, but it also includes actual king cake from local coffee shop and bakery Buzzcatz Coffee & Sweets in the mash!
If you’re in the Gulf Shores, Big Beach will tap King Cake Porter at 2 p.m. on Fat Tuesday.
Big Beach Brewing Company offers AHA members 15% off merchandise and a free pint glass! Not a member? Start your 30-day free trial today to enjoy 2,100+ member deals! (no payment info required)!
Big Beach Brewing Co. King Cake Porter | Specialty Beer
- MALTS AND SUGARS
- 9 lb. (4.08 kg) pale ale malt, 2-row (Briess)
- 1 lb. (454 g) Munich I malt (Weyermann)
- 13 oz. (368 g) caramel malt, 40L (Briess)
- 10 oz. (283 g) chocolate malt, 430L (Simpsons)
- 4.8 oz. (136 g) black malt (Briess)
- 0.7 oz. (20 g) Warrior, 15.4% a.a. @ 60 min
- 0.5 oz. (14 g) East Kent Goldings (EKG), 5% a.a. @ 15 min
- 0.5 oz. (14 g) East Kent Goldings (EKG), 5% a.a. @ 0 min
- ADDITIONAL ITEMS
- 1–2 lb. traditional king cake (avoid any icing, cream cheese, or plastic babies)
- 2 cinnamon sticks @ 5 min
- 4 vanilla beans (secondary, 5 days)
- 3 oz. cinnamon sticks (secondary, 5 days)
- 1 pkg Fermentis US-05, White Labs WLP001, or Wyeast 1056
- Original Gravity: 1.061
- Final Gravity: 1.013
- ABV: 6.2%
- IBU: 39
- SRM: 32
Target a mash thickness of about 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain (a 3:1 liquor/grist ratio by weight). Mash at 153°F (67°C), adding the king cake at mash-in, until enzymatic conversion is complete, about 60 minutes. Conduct a mash out at 168°F (76°C). Sparge with 170°F (77°C) water.
Conduct a 75-minute boil, following the timed additions listed in the ingredients section. Any kettle finings, such as Irish Moss, can be added in the last 15 minutes. After the boil, chill the wort rapidly to 66°F (19°C), let the break material settle, rack to a fermenter, pitch the yeast, and aerate thoroughly.
Ferment around 67°F (19°C) for 3 days and then allow to temperature to rise to 70°F (21°C) until the yeast drops clear (14 days maximum). With healthy yeast, fermentation should be complete in a week but don’t rush it. Rack to a keg or secondary fermenter and add the cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans in separate “dry hop” bags that can be removed when the desired flavor levels of each are reached (taste daily!). Rack to a keg and force carbonate or rack to a bottling bucket, add priming sugar, and bottle. Target a carbonation level of 2.5 volumes (5 g/L) of CO2.