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Old 10-23-2012, 03:32 AM   #1
reverendnathan
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Default Porter Recipe -- Critique and Thoughts as to "What it is to be a Porter".

I like the style of Porter, but I've in the past called a Porter, "something not quite like a stout, usually dialed back in roast and dialed up in Chocolate in Caramel". I've learned that this probably the wrong approach, especially to refer to a Porter as anything "dialed-back". However, that is what I've come to like in the style: but a hint of roast, emphasized on chocolate and sweetness.

I brewed a Porter last year on my own recipe, and found it ho-hum, especially coming to find that too many IBUs really creep up on the style quickly. Here's what I have in mind for my 2012 porter:

Code:
Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 6.52 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.98 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 4.60 gal
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated Color: 38.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 35.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 82.8 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
7 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        58.3 %        
1 lbs 8.0 oz          Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        12.5 %        
1 lbs 4.0 oz          Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)               Grain         3        10.4 %        
1 lbs                 Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)                    Grain         4        8.3 %            
1 lbs                 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)    Grain         5        8.3 %              
4.0 oz                Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)               Grain         6        2.1 %         

1.00 oz               Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop           7        27.3 IBUs        
8.00 oz               Malto-Dextrine (Boil 20.0 mins)          Other         8        -       
1.00 oz               Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 15.0 Hop           9        8.0 IBUs  

1.0 pkg               Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  Yeast         10       -        

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 15.60 qt of water at 165.5 F        154.0 F       60 min        
Mash Out          Add 8.40 qt of water at 197.6 F         168.0 F       10 min
It seems like HBT universally agrees on having Brown Malt in the mix, and using some sort of Crystal malt making up ~10% of the bill -- two considerations I would have never taken in. I realize Chocolate malt is *not* Chocolate, but I figured making it the primary specialty grain would help pronounce a chocolate flavor.

Any critique on the recipe? Seems like percentages are lower than what others call for, but I was finding anything sort of in a different ratio was really pushing the bill out of BJCP style, not that I am broadly calling for staying in style guidelines. Also, is that percent of roast even going to show up, or should I not bother?

Thanks, lookin' to brew this next week and serve in December.
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Old 10-23-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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I usually describe the difference between stout and porter the same way: stout has more roast character, porter has more chocolate and crystal character.

I do not use brown malt but I know a lot of people find it required. You can make a good porter with and without.

Might be a bit too much specialty malt overall -- I'm including munich in that because you're using it for flavor rather than diastic power, even though munich is a base malt. It doesn't need the roasted barley and could probably do with less munich and less chocolate. With the munich and brown malt I'd use a higher crystal like 60 or 80. 40 is a little light and won't add as much complexity as the munich plus a darker crystal. I prefer marris otter as the base malt in my porters over regular 2 row.

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Old 10-23-2012, 02:33 PM   #3
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Your recipe looks a lot like a smaller version of the very popular Denny Conn's Bourbon Vanilla Porter. I've made this beer twice, once at 1.068 and another at ~1.080, with and without the vanilla/bourbon. As it is right now, you will not be disappointed with it being a "porter" in either case. I'm not sure it will be at its best in December as I've found the chocolate in this amount may need some time to mellow (could also have been the brown). I qualify this statement by saying it will have nice chocolate/coffee notes (with the brown malt) to it by this time but might take some time to meld and mellow. I never thought this beer was sharp or acrid roasty. I love porters so I don't think your amounts are over the top but make sure your fermentation is healthy, cool and robust (pitch a lot of yeast) because you don't want boozy alcohols with this if you plan to drink it young (still quite good, however). The beer will smooth out over time and is still wonderful with age - my last is closer to 2 years old now. I find it best when it is carbonated on the low end and served at cellar temps ~50-55F.

I tend to like having darker crystal malt (75-150L) with the roasted malts (chocolate, black) so that could be a tweak in the future if you like them. I agree with the above comment about Munich; Maris Otter could replace both that and US 2-row, but again you are A-OK with what you have. The roasted barley in your grain bill is not going to come through much. I'd probably use this amount in an Irish Red/dark bitter of sorts to provide color and a bit of complexity. I think you are right that with the other character grains it might get lost. No biggie if you want to use your stock up. Good luck!

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Old 10-23-2012, 03:57 PM   #4
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IMO, you're far too heavy on the adjunct malts. Right now, you are a hair under 30% malts that are not base (counting the Munich as part of the base malt).

I don't have, or use, brown malt in any of my brews, including my porters (and brown ales). I'd say dump it and add that amount to the 2 row. As for using MO in this, I think it's flavors would be covered up by the other malts. I'd also remove the Munich malt, adding the 1.5# to the base malt. You'll maintain the color with these changes (due to the other DARK malts) but also make the recipe less cluttered. Plus, you will increase the base malt percentage to almost 80%. That's a far better idea, IMO/IME.

You should decide which kind of porter you're looking to make here. Also, having a flavor profile in mind would be a huge help. Otherwise, you're really shooting blind. Using BeerSmith 2.x, I've changed it like this (IMO, a better grist).
10.5# [86.6%] 2 row
12oz [6.2%] Chocolate Malt
8oz [4.1%] Crystal 40L
6oz [3.1%] Roasted Barley

Drop the malto-dextrine, unless you have a really good reason to use it. Personally, with this recipe I can't think up one. With your original hop bill, you're at about 39 IBUs (Robust Porter range is 25-50). If you want more malt flavors to come through with the brew, think about mashing at 156F. At 154F, and your yeast, you should end up with a FG of about 1.014. If you want a bit more sweetness left in the brew, consider changing the 40L to 60L, as well as increasing the mash temp (to 156). Also, depending on your mash efficiency, you could end up with an OG of 1.062, or higher, with the altered grist.

BTW, are you kegging your brews? If bottling it up, you're probably looking at serving this either in the middle, or end, of December. That is, if you don't try to rush things along. 3-4 weeks in primary, then 3-4 weeks in bottles (to carbonate) and another week in the fridge for the CO2 to get into the beer (in the bottles). Even using the shorter scale, you're looking at 7 weeks from grain to glass. If you keg, you can shave 2-3 weeks off the carbonating/chilling time span (I use the 2 week set and forget at serving temp/pressure to carbonate my brews). Still, that will put you at 5-6 weeks from grain to glass. IMO/IME, a porter (even with my altered grist) needs the time to get the flavor profile together. It's not the same as brewing a pale ale.

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:01 PM   #5
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I'd keep the brown malt, and lose the roast barley.

I use brown malt in most of my porters. It adds that extra element to a porter that most can't point out, but would miss if it wasn't there.

My $0.02

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:13 PM   #6
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according to ray daniels

PORTERS

Pale ale malt
For robust porter use 2 to 9% black malt with 2 to 12% chocolate and 3 to 15% crystal
For brown porters use 3 to 6% chocolate malt with 5 to 16% crystal
Mash range 154
Bittering bu:gu .70 to .90 (35 to 50 ibu) use lower end of bittering for brown and higher end for robust
Use British ale yeast

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Old 10-23-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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Wow, thanks all for the replies! I didn't realize Munich would be an issue on first glance... for building my pale beers, I do a 7#-3# split of 2row/Munich as a base and tweak from there... that explains why Munich was in the equation in the first place. I dropped it, and with advice from here, am leaving in Brown (never used it, want to try it at least once), Chocolate (since everyone has called for it), and upped C40 to C60 (should I go higher?). Surprisingly, this keeps everything pretty much in proportion with initial gravity, SRM, etc... but now I wanted to get advice on the ratios of each. Anyone have any opinion? Right now I have it at 9:1:1:1... I'm not sure how to differentiate these malts in the recipe to get a nice "chocolatelyness" with a good hint of roast:

Code:
Estimated OG: 1.061 SG
Estimated Color: 30.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 35.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 82.8 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
9 lbs                 Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)           Grain         1        75.0 %        
1 lbs                 Brown Malt (65.0 SRM)                    Grain         2        8.3 %      
1 lbs                 Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)               Grain         4        8.3 %         
1 lbs                 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)    Grain         3        8.3 %         

1.00 oz               Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop           5        27.1 IBUs     
1.00 oz               Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 15.0 Hop           6        7.9 IBUs      
   
1.0 pkg               Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  Yeast         7        -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 15.60 qt of water at 165.5 F        154.0 F       60 min        
Mash Out          Add 8.40 qt of water at 197.6 F         168.0 F       10 min
Dropping the maltodextrine in the belief that mashing at 154 makes it unnecessary... also hadn't thought of that. Thoughts on finalizing this recipe? Also yes, this will be a keg at around Christmastime.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:04 PM   #8
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To me, the definition of a robust porter is using black patent malt, while the definite of a stout uses roasted barley. A robust porter can be very roasty, but it's more of a coffee flavor roast, and not like a big roasty stout, if that makes sense.

I like brown malt in brown porters, but don't think it's required in a robust porter since the black malt/black patent gives it plenty of roast flavor and character.

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Old 10-23-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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IMO, to get "get a nice "chocolatelyness" with a good hint of roast" you can drop the crystal malt and brown malt. Or at least reduce them by half. Chocolate malt will be STRONG in flavor in this batch, overpowering the others. Take the grain amount you reduce the others by and add it to the base malt. IME, going below 80% base malt, even in a dark brew, is not advisable. You'll be getting more nutty flavors from the chocolate malt in the recipe as you have it.

Something you can give a serious try to... Pale chocolate malt. Use up to a pound of that in place of the C60 and brown malts. I use that in my mocha porter (along with kiln coffee malt) to get a really nice mocha flavor profile. I use about 6% of both pale chocolate and kiln coffee along with just under 6% honey malt there. Makes for a great brew. First time I brewed it, i used 4.4% of pale chocolate and kiln coffee and 7% honey malt. Tweaked it for the second to increase the mocha flavors.
Just my $0.10 worth... Brew what you want.

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Old 10-23-2012, 10:40 PM   #10
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On Monday i bottled my dark mild and it was imop very porter like in flavor hints of caramel and chocolate with a definite coffee overtones. I cant wait to see how this finishes out once its carbed up

3 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 37.5 %
3 lbs U.K. Mild Malt (4.0 SRM) Grain 4 37.5 %
1 lbs Crystal Malt Dark 2 (Thomas Fawcett) (120.0 SRM) Grain 5 12.5 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 6 6.3 %
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt Pale (Thomas Fawcett) (215.0 SRM)

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