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Old 05-05-2011, 08:39 PM   #1
INWarner413
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Default George Washington's Porter

Most of us have already seen this recipe.

Please note that I am hoping to simply re-create the beer exactly as George's was; I am not interested in comments like "this would make the beer taste better". If George's beer tasted bad by modern standards, then I want this batch of beer to taste bad by modern standards. Translating his recipe, here's what I've come up with for a five gallon batch:

Grain: "A large sifter full of bran". I'm going to use 2.5# of 6-Row. From what I've read, this is most likely what type of grain they had. The amount is a pure guess, but in line with how much grain is typically in my extract porter.

Molasses: "put in 3 Gallons Molasses". I know this part is about right. A gallon of molasses weighs around 12#; his recipe called for 3 gallons [36#] for a 30 gallon batch, so dividing the batch size by six gives me 6# of molasses.

Hops: "Hops to your Taste". I think around 2 ounces of hops would put me where "my taste" is for a normal five gallon batch, but as you'll read below, I am going to replicate George's three hour boil...sigh. So, given the crazy long boil, I'm going to need more. How much more, though? 4 ounces? 8 ounces? Could use some advice on this front. Also, what type of hops is the question...I think centennial and cascade would work well, but what type of hops do y'all think GW used? Any information as to what type of modern hops would best replicate the types of hops that GW used?

Yeast: "Then put in a quart of Yeast". I'm probably going to go with Nottingham, the most basic yeast I can think of.

Procedure: Here's where things get interesting. I want to nearly replicate his exact procedure, meaning that I will boil the grain and hops for THREE hours and then "drain the molasses into the Cooler & strain the Beer on it while boiling Hot." I'm going to use a bottling bucket instead of his "cooler". I will deviate a little from his procedure by using a wort chiller instead of his "nature", and ferment like I normally would - a week in primary, a week in secondary, and then bottle. They'll be opened on the 4th of July.

So, summarizing the advice I'm looking for:
1) 2.5# of six-row seem about right?
2) How much and what type of hops for a three hour boil?
3) Nottingham yeast make sense?

Should be a fun experience, regardless of how the product turns out.

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Old 05-05-2011, 08:51 PM   #2
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I don't have a whole lot of advice, but I'm excited to see how this turns out.

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Old 05-05-2011, 08:57 PM   #3
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I would figure a low aa% hop for the beginning of the boil, so the 3 hours doesn't make out extremely bitter. Maybe even do first wort hop. Probably wouldn't need any other hops until the end of the boil. Not sure if he would have had the typical american citrusy hops though. Really not sure. Interested to see how this comes out for you!

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Old 05-05-2011, 09:05 PM   #4
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I wouldn't suggest adding boiling wort to a plastic bucket.

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Old 05-05-2011, 10:22 PM   #5
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Chapa: Sounds like it makes sense.

TacoBrew: Good point. Will pour the boiling wort over the molasses in another brew pot to chill, then into the bottling bucket for fermentation.

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Old 05-06-2011, 12:31 PM   #6
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I ran some of the figures thru Beersmith and came up with this:

3lbs 6 row
6 lbs molasses
2.5 oz Cluster hop pellets - 180 min (Cluster is an old American variety)

OG - 1.059
IBU - 65
SRM - 34

This sounds like a fun experiment. Please post back and let us know how it turns out.

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Old 05-06-2011, 01:00 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting, Johnnybob. I was unaware of the history of cluster hops; they're certainly the ones I'll use in this. Brew day is tomorrow!

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Old 05-06-2011, 03:57 PM   #8
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GW probably used an English variety of hops not American.

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Old 05-06-2011, 04:52 PM   #9
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A while ago I saw a recipe credited to GW looking very much like this one calling
for Hallertauer hops. I can't say for sure if this is it. It was called something
like "General George's Potent Potable".

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Old 05-06-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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Clusters were THE American hop before prohibition. They were commercially cultivated as early as the mid 1600s, so it seems that clusters would have been the hop of choice for GW. However, he may have imported fuggles or goldings since he was a rich old white guy and imported stuff seems to be what old rich white guys like best. Not that it matters much, since they are strictly a bittering addition. I love historical beer, this should be a cool experiment. I have heard that GW's small beer ends up being quite minerally due to the iron content of the molasses.

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