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Style of the Week: London Style Porter

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November 15, 2014 by fhsteinbart


Fuller's London Porter

While not everybody will agree, this is my vote for the best London Style Porter. What’s better than sharing a round of these beers with your mates on a cold winter’s eve?

When I was stationed in jolly old England back in the 1970’s, I was quite fond of Fuller’s London Porter. The British have had a love affair with this beer for a long time. Like 300 years long. I can understand that though, because after just one sip, the rich caramel maltiness combined with the roasty, toasty dark malt flavors balance just equally with the hop bitterness and character. This is a beer for sipping next to a blazing fire on a cold winter’s night with your mate’s and enjoying the camaraderie of an evening in the local pub. While Fuller’s isn’t the only representative of this style, it is my favorite, as the more northerly beers seem a bit too dry, and hence acrid by comparison to me. Below is a recipe clone of mine, that while not entirely representative of the beer I enjoyed so many years ago, it is quite the marque of the style. Just as in the law, it’s the spirit and not the letter that makes this beer such a joy to brew and imbibe. It’s also more traditional in it’s alcohol content, so remember to sip this beer, and reflect on the history of its pedigree, and all the brewer’s and drinker’s that did the same for the past three centuries.

Extract version:

OG: 1.070 FG: 1.015

7½ lbs. Light DME

1½ lbs. Crystal 80L

¾ lb. Brown or Special Roast Malt

¾ lb. Chocolate Malt

10 AAU’s Target hops for 60~90 minutes

5 AAU’s Golding’s hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Fuggles or Willamette hops at 7 minutes

1 oz. East Kent Golding’s hops at end of boil (steeping hops)

2 oz. East Kent Golding’s hops (Dry Hopped)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss at last 15 minutes

¾ gm. Burton Water Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in boil

Wyeast 1968, WLP002, or S-04 yeast

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops.
  • At 20 minutes add the flavor hops.
  • At 15 minutes add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.
  • At 7 minutes add the aroma hops.
  • At knockout (0 minutes), turn off the heat, add the last addition of aroma hops, then cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller.
  • Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 64°F to 68°F for up to two weeks.
  • Add the dry hops at 4th or 5th day of fermentation, for 10~14 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to four weeks before packaging up as usual.

 

All Grain version:

OG: 1.070 FG: 1.015

10 lbs. British Pale Ale or ESB Malt

1½ lbs. Crystal 80L

¾ lb. Brown or Special Roast Malt

¾ lb. Chocolate Malt

10 AAU’s Target hops for 60~90 minutes

5 AAU’s Golding’s hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Fuggles or Willamette hops at 7 minutes

1 oz. East Kent Golding’s hops at end of boil (steeping hops)

2 oz. East Kent Golding’s hops (Dry Hopped)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss at last 15 minutes

¾ gm. Burton Water Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in both mash and boil

Wyeast 1968, WLP002, or S-04 yeast

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 154°F for 90 min with the Brewing Salts.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Add the rest of the Burton Water Salts after the boil commences.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Then add the bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 60 more minutes.
  • Add the flavor hops at 20 minutes remaining.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 15 minutes.
  • Add the first aroma hops at 7 minutes remaining to the boil.
  • Add the second charge of aroma hops at flameout.
  • Add the dry hops at 4th or 5th day of fermentation, for 10~14 days.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 90 gms. corn sugar (approx. 2/3 cup), or kegged to 12 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 55~60°F in a 20 oz. British pint mug, share and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months and years, so keep some for the future to enjoy as it ages.

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