Sunday, March 28, 2010

Porter Brewday

I decided to run a second porter since the last one was so far over the intended OG; my local homebrew club, DRAFT, has a throwdown with another local club, the Beaver Creek Badasses, in May, so I want to get something a little closer to the ballpark—it’s a knockdown, kick ’em when they’re down, no-holds-barred Robust Porter ass-whupping event. I was originally aiming for 1.058, so I can’t be too upset with today’s results. And yes, I know you’re supposed to start with smaller gravity beers and move to larger gravity beers when brewing sequentially on the same yeast. But I also know that sometimes brewing doesn’t work out the way we intend it to...

67. Porter
1 lb. Weyerman Pale Wheat
1 lb. Crystal 60° L
1 lb. Breiss 2-row
8 oz. Breiss Chocolate
8 oz. Dingeman’s Chocolate
8 oz. Dingeman’s Cara 8 Belgian

Mashed @ 154° F for 60 minutes; raised to 168° F
Sparged with 1 gallon of 168° F water

Added fluid to brew kettle, brought to a boil (90 minute) and added:
5 lbs. Breiss Golden Light DME
.6 oz. Galena pellet 14.1% AA
1 teaspoon gypsum

w/30 minutes to go: ¼ oz. Cascade pellet 7.5% AA
w/15 minutes to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss
w/5 minutes to go: ¼ oz. Tettnanger pellet 4.7% AA

Cooled wort, racked to bucket, and pitched on pancake of White Labs 007 Dry English Ale Yeast from last Porter

Brewed: 3/28/2010 started @ 63° F; bubbling within 2 hours
Secondary: 4/3/2010; @ 1.016
Bottled: four gallons on 4/25/2010 with 6.25 oz. Pilsen Light DME

OG: 1.059
FG: 1.016

Tasting Notes (main batch) 9/15/2010: Pours a clear medium brown (almost cola-esque) with a light creamy ivory head; the nose is a grainy sweet malt with low levels of roastiness—there is no discernable hop aroma, and not much else. Flavors open sweet with a brown sugar flavor and light graininess; the middle is lightly bitter with notes of fruit before finishing with smaller amounts of roastiness and chocolate. There is a slight acrid flavor that lingers on the palate—it could be some hop astringency via the lighter body, but it does detract a bit from the beer. There is a slightly creamy mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation. I’d say this has gotten better in the last three months, but it is still not spectacular. The finish is a bit harsh—a combination of the lighter body and hop bitterness that borders on astringency. Next time I make this I will try to leave a bigger body to create more balance and richness, and push to develop the dark, roasty complexity.

Barley’s 15th Annual Homebrew Competition (June 13, 2010): 28
Dayton Beerfest (9/11/2010): 33.7

Also on 4/25/2010, moved 1 gallon to carboy and added .3 oz medium toast French oak chips soaked in 1.1 oz. of Blanton’s bourbon & ¼ of a vanilla bean split open; bottled on 8/6/2010 with 1.25 oz. Pilsen Light DME.

Tasting Notes 8/6/2010: I should have bottled this one sooner (the three plus months on the oak chips was a bit much); while there is an excellent initial flavor, the oak tannic bite that comes in after this dries out the palate heavily—it is a big ol’ oak tannin bomb right now, so we’ll be sitting on this one for a while to see what happens.

9/15/2010: Pours the same as the original version, although the head is less and disappears quicker. The beer is still pretty oaky in the nose, but as I was running out of the regular version, it was time to do at least some basic comparison. There is still a lot of tannic oak in the nose, covering over much of the malt and leaving a bit of a sharp or harsh impression, although a small amount of creaminess sneaks through. While flavors are similar to above, the overall impression is drier and has a fair amount of what Elli would refer to as a “mouthful o’ acorn” flavor that hasn’t settled out or married with other flavors, and there is a drier impression in the mouthfeel via the oak. On a more positive note, the harsh finish of the above beer has been replaced with a bitter tannic bite, although I am not sure one is an improvement over the other. All in all, the rest of this will probably be sitting for a while.

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