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Old 10-17-2008, 11:03 PM   #1
redjameskidd
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Default malt extract choice in Porter

Howdy. I'm an intermediate homebrewer, looking to brew a porter next, and I have been noticing an interesting phenomena in porter recipes. Curiously, the great majority seems to call for amber or dark malt extract in addition to chocolate and black patent, as opposed to just using light malt extract and darkening with grain.

Why is this? As far as I know, there's no benefit to be had from using darker malt extracts when you could have more fresh grain flavor/color from your specialty grains. Why use dark extract when I can just steep more chocolate malt for a more authentic experience?

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Old 10-17-2008, 11:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by redjameskidd View Post
Howdy. I'm an intermediate homebrewer, looking to brew a porter next, and I have been noticing an interesting phenomena in porter recipes. Curiously, the great majority seems to call for amber or dark malt extract in addition to chocolate and black patent, as opposed to just using light malt extract and darkening with grain.

Why is this? As far as I know, there's no benefit to be had from using darker malt extracts when you could have more fresh grain flavor/color from your specialty grains. Why use dark extract when I can just steep more chocolate malt for a more authentic experience?
I would use pale and then use the specialty grains as well. Just seems like painting a canvas to me.

I think that recipes vary so greatly, you'll be able to find some that go either way.
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:39 PM   #3
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The problem with dark extracts are that you don't really know what's in them. Even pale extract has some caramel malt in it. With the dark malt you would likely need less specialty grains.

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Old 10-18-2008, 01:07 AM   #4
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Stick with a lighter extract as the base. FWIW, I just listened to Jamil's show on Brown Porter, and he recommended a British Pale Malt extract as the base. (Maris Otter for AG brewers.) He added some Brown Malt, Crystal 40, and Chocolate Malt. No black patent in his recipe

This for for a Brown Porter (Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter was his example) though. Might be different for a Robust Porter.

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Old 10-18-2008, 11:19 AM   #5
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hmmm. OP I see your point. In a typical AG porter recipe you have a light basemalt but in extract recipes I usually used amber. However, the amber base malt will give a nice flavor whereas steeping more of the chocolate could overbitter or over astringent the final product. All I know is that a little bit of choc goes a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way. In fact, I made a pretty decent porter that is essentially the same as a typical pale ale recipe with 3/4 pound (in 5 gallons) chocolate malt and it in no way resembled the pale ale.

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Old 10-18-2008, 11:30 AM   #6
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I try to only use light extract- the beers I made that used dark extract all tasted the same. Check out Jamil's Robust Porter- either in Brewing Classic Styles or on his podcast. I've made it twice, and it's a winner.

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Old 10-20-2008, 07:40 PM   #7
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I was thinking the same thing that you said, "check out Jamil's podcast".

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Old 10-20-2008, 07:44 PM   #8
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I use extralight, or light dme as the base of my beers, that way you can get some more complexity in from your steeping grains. By varying the composition you can get different layers of flavors. you can use a small amount of patent, or chocolate for color, but use a combination of crystal malts for flavor. You could use a little 60 and some 20 or 40 and will get different flavors from each, and as long as the chocolate or the patent doesn't overwhelm the palate, you will get a nicer beer.

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Old 10-21-2008, 12:23 AM   #9
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I heard the darker the extract, the sweeter the beer as the yeast does not convert as much as the lighter extract. Maybe they are looking for a sweeter Porter(?)

I just got the Porter kit from Midwest for my next batch and it has 6 lb.s of dark extract and only 2 oz. of hops (1 oz bittering, 1 oz aroma). I will give it a try "as-is" the first time around since they formulated this recipe. But, I have a feeling there will be more hops going in the next batch...

Dan

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Old 10-22-2008, 04:56 PM   #10
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The AHS Chocolate Stout uses dark LME - it's all I know - and it is awesome!

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