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Style of the Week: Brown Porter!

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January 23, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Who's your Taddy? Here we see the benchmark of the style, served in a proper British Imperial Pint Nonic glass.

Who’s your Taddy? Here we see the benchmark of the style, served in a proper British Imperial Pint Nonic glass.

One of the very first beers I learned to brew was the style known as Brown Porter. It’s a weird sort of beer, as it sits squarely between the English Style Brown Ales, and the more roasty toasty Robust Porter. While it still has a nice roasted, toasted character of its own, it’s more chocolaty, nutty, with a low toasty, roasty flavor. This comes mostly from the use of roasted malts like Chocolate Malt, and toasted malts like Special Roast. I’ve seen a lot of recipes that use Brown Malt, thinking that it’s more apropos, since Porter was originally made up entirely from Brown Malt. Unfortunately, the Brown Malt of year’s gone by, and the Brown Malt we have today are completely different. Earlier versions were mashable, and contained enough enzymes to convert their own starches into sugars. While the current product has no enzymes, and is therefore more of a high kilned malt used for flavor, and aroma. I prefer the domestic version of this malt, as I find it gives me the color, flavor, and aroma I want in a Brown Porter. One of my favorite examples of this style is the Porter from Samuel Smith’s. One sip, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Below is a recipe of mine that makes a reasonable facsimile of a British Brown Porter.

Extract:

3 lbs. Light DME

3.3 lbs. Munich LME

(Or substitute 6.6 lbs. Maris Otter LME for above base extracts)

½ lb. Crystal 40 Malt

½ lb. Crystal 120 Malt

½ lb. Chocolate Malt

½ lb. Special Roast Malt

2 oz. Goldings Hops (Bittering)

2 oz. Willamette Hops (Flavor)

1 oz. Each of Goldings & Willamette Hops (Aroma)

Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss

Wyeast 1028, WLP007, or Nottingham Dry Yeast

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grains, and rinse with 165°F water
  • 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 remaining, add the flavor hops.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At 7 minutes remaining, add the aroma hops.
  • At knockout (0 minutes), turn off the heat, 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 68°F to 72°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to three weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain version:

10 lbs. ESB or British Pale Ale Malt

½ lb. Crystal 40 Malt

½ lb. Crystal 120 Malt

½ lb. Chocolate Malt

½ lb. Special Roast Malt

2 oz. Goldings Hops (Bittering)

2 oz. Willamette Hops (Flavor)

1 oz. Each of Goldings & Willamette Hops (Aroma)

Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss

Wyeast 1028, WLP007, or Nottingham Dry Yeast

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

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 152°F for 90 min with the Calcium Chloride Salts.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Add the rest of the salts after the boil commences.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours total time.
  • Add the bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 60 more minutes.
  • At 20 minutes remaining, add the flavor hops.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 15 minutes.
  • At 7 minutes remaining, add the aroma hops
  • 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 50~55°F in a Nonic Imperial Pint glass, share, and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew.

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