Friday, August 22, 2008

Robust Porter

It's time for some robust porter. A style of beer we don't see too often commercially, and one I've never tried brewing before. Haven't brewed any classic style porters either, and don't tend to buy them much. But, after picking up a couple new malts, I have to give it a go. And, having an ale with lots of roasted character will be great for the Autumn months.

Special Roast is a darker toasted malt having a more intense color and aroma than Victory or Biscuit. A good amount went into the Nut Brown 2, and a little will go in this porter. Another, even more intense toasted/roasted malt is Brown. I was very excited to finally get some, and upon opening the bag, I knew it would be great in this dark ale.

My hope is that this porter will have a moderate roast quality coming from many malts. Along side the Brown and Special Roast, a generous addition of British Black and Chocolate malts should also add roasty qualities and intense color.

At first, the recipe's hops were a bit understated, but after getting a sense of these intense grains, more will probably be better. I really loved the overall hop complexity in the Rhino Rye. It had good bitterness and flavor, plus a perfect small dry hop addition to top it off. This hop line-up should work really well.

Fermented on British Ale yeast, I'm also looking for some sweetness to come through. Mainly form the British 2-row & Crystal. In this recipe, I've stuck to mostly British ingredients, and hope to find a unique, and almost historical taste all together.

Robust Porter...aka..."Zen Porter"

10. lbs. UK 2-Row
1.0 lbs. CaraPils
1.0 lbs. UK Brown Malt
1.0 lbs. UK Crystal 65L
.25 lbs. Special Roast
.75 lbs. UK Black Malt
.60 lbs. UK Chocolate

1.0 oz. Target, 8%, pellet, 60min
.50 oz. Glacier, 6.1%, pellet, 60min
.50 oz. Glacier, 6.1%, pellet, 25min
.25 oz. Columbus, 12%, pellet, 25min
.50 oz. Cascade, 6.3%, pellet, KO
.25 oz. Columbus, 12%, pellet, KO
.50 oz. Cascade, 6.3%, pellet, Dry
.50 oz. Columbus, 12%, pellet, Dry

Wyeast 1098: British Ale yeast cake

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 8/21/08
Racked: 8/29/08
Bottled: 9/11/08

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 1.25 tsp Gypsum, .75 tsp Chalk in mash
2nd Sparge: .5 tsp Gypsum, .5 tsp CaCl

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.15 qt/lb
Mash Ph: acidic
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 156->154°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: 164°F/10min
1st Batch Vol/SG: 3.75g/1.070

2nd Batch Sparge Vol/H2OTemp/MashTemp: 3.25g/182°F/171°F
2nd Batch SG: 1.032

Pre-Boil Vol: 7.25
Pre-Boil SG: 1.052
Boil Time: 75min
Post-Boil Vol: 6 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 71.6%

OG: 1.063
IBU: approx. 45
Color/SRM: dark brown-black/33-46
Ferment Temp: 70's

FG: 1.018
ABW: 4.7%
ABV: 5.9%


1. This wort had aromas unlike any other beer I've made. Like coffee. In fact, after collecting the sparge "loss" for starter wort, I proceeded to drink a cup with cream, and it tasted awesome.
2. It started to ferment within a couple hours, and really took off. As I write this a day later, it has really settled down.
3. The FG is on the higher side, but it also resulted in a a beer with really great body.
4. After tasting one w/o dry hops, the beer is fantastic!
5. Tasting it at bottling w/ dry hops, the dry hops are a little strong, but I think it will definitely make it much more complex, especially with full carbonation and a couple months of conditioning.

Tasting Notes & Mugshot

Appearance: Black yet a tiny shine of light manages to slip through in a narrow glass and looks to be quite clear, dense tan head hangs around
Aroma: Dark green hop aroma almost smells like wet hops and balances perfectly with rich caramel malt aromas, a smooth chocolate scent comes through along with a late wisp of slight coffee/roast
Taste: Hops and rich malts in the taste are an accurate accentuation of the aroma, with a perfect balance of solid hop bitterness and caramel sweetness, then a fairly intense "dark-green" hop flavor (Columbus) balancing with chocolate, coffee and slight roast notes
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and medium carbonation makes it feel silky and smooth
Aftertaste: Hop bitterness lingers a tad with an overall sense of sharpness, and some late dryness also enhances the sense of chocolate/cocoa/coffee within, the flavors are full enough so that it has a lasting finish
Drinkability: Rich, smooth, hoppy and too drinkable!
Overall Impression: The hops and malts are perfectly balanced at every level of the the aroma, the taste, and aftertaste. I think the Brown malt helped round out all the other flavors, and the higher mash temp & FG with Carapils all contributed to a fuller feel. The hops add lots of interest, and create a unique quality. Perhaps the Gypsum additions helped accentuate the bitterness and hop profile. This is probably the most complex beer I've made, there isn't anything I would change, and it has moved up to the top as my favorite. I will definitely try to recreate this beer, and would highly encourage anyone to brew it as well...if you do, please let me know what you think. Cheers!

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