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Old 09-17-2010, 05:29 PM   #1
Ridonkulous05
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Default Brewing a Porter in Germany

Fellow Brewers,

I am currently located in Germany, and because I cannot get a *True* porter here, I endeavor to brew one (Kostritzer isn't bad at all, but I want a REAL porter, not a Schwartzbier).

I discovered that, in Germany, not all of the components that would constitute a "typical", "complex" porter recipe were available from the few local suppliers here that are actually willing to cater to homebrewers (fewer than you would think). Therefore, I was going to have to try and substitute with all German/Weyermann Malts for my recipe. This is what I came up with (shooting for a BJCP "Robust Porter"):

10 GALLONS:

6.00 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 54.55 %
3.50 kg Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 31.82 %
0.75 kg Carafa Special II (415.0 SRM) Grain 6.82 %
0.75 kg Carared (20.0 SRM) Grain 6.82 %

50.00 gm Pearle [9.40 %] (45 min) Hops 28.0 IBU
25.00 gm Pearle [9.40 %] (15 min) Hops 7.6 IBU

I am going to mash at 156deg F, pitch 2000ml WLP002 starters.... Yadda, Yadda... Est. OG 1.062... Black as night.

Okay: Three questions (a burdensome bugger I am, indeed):

First: Will this stink or not?... -I AM going to brew this recipe on Sunday. (I can't get new ingredients in a timely manner, so your suggestions/corrections will have to wait for batch two...) However, I will be able to give results on the back end of this batch to validate or disprove predictions. Feel free to critique lack of complexity, ingredient choice, hop schedule, etc.

Second: Any other tips for a first time porter brewer? I have done pale ales, dunkelweizens and bitters before, but I am in new territory here.

Third: When to add the specialty malts during the mash for a smooth, non-burnt, non-acidic brew? -Now, in my imagination, I am doing this recipe to test a potential recipe for a larger future brewing endeavor (aren't we all in some way?). With that, are there any large (multi barrel plus) breweries that mess around with late grain additions while making porters in order to ensure mild, creamy smoothness? (I desire a milky smooth porter, but I don't want to utilize a method that I wouldn't reasonably use in a large scale brewery.) Somebody MUST have strong feelings about this. WHICH is the best way? I have head the debates (yes, I google), but I want a passionate, definitive answer. Mash it all for full time, or add carafa II or carared/carafa II late (and how, at what time...)?

...Or ignore all of the above and just tell a good story about your favorite porter recipe. What made it great? What would you have changed? What are your favorite dark specialty malts? Have you experienced unexpected results?

I am a sponge waiting to drink from the fire hose....

Thank you all in advance for taking any time to reply!!!!


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Old 09-17-2010, 07:53 PM   #2
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No help on the recipe, but see if you can find this Polish porter- Żywiec

It is a very fine porter; I really enjoy it.


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Old 09-17-2010, 07:58 PM   #3
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I have not had the porter, but I really enjoyed the lager during a recent trip to Warsaw and Krakow. I suppose I will have to make another trip to Poland to get my hands on the porter...

Ich stimme zu: Mann soll sein selbstgebraut Bier trinken!

Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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You could try toasting some malts in the oven to make the specialty grains that aren't available at the store.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:31 PM   #5
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True- true- nice suggestion!

However, you probably give me too much credit for my real baking abilities...

Brew, yes. Bake.... Um.. Well, shoot- I'm sure that I could at least do what looks like patent malt, though the wife will be mad when the smoke alarm goes off...
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:04 PM   #6
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It isn't hard, just keep an eye on it
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridonkulous05 View Post
First: Will this stink or not?... -I AM going to brew this recipe on Sunday. (I can't get new ingredients in a timely manner, so your suggestions/corrections will have to wait for batch two...) However, I will be able to give results on the back end of this batch to validate or disprove predictions. Feel free to critique lack of complexity, ingredient choice, hop schedule, etc.
No, it will not suck. It'll be beer, and it'll be yours. As you already know, it's not the perfect Robust Porter, because that presumes flavors your ingredients won't specifically provide - Carafa doesn't taste like a combination of Chocolate and Black Patent malts, in my opinion essential for a good Robust Porter. Also, I look for less malt (which you'll definitely get from all that Munich) and more Crystal-malt profile.

But it will be a black beer with a really good flavor, I think!

Quote:
Second: Any other tips for a first time porter brewer? I have done pale ales, dunkelweizens and bitters before, but I am in new territory here.
Well, Porter is really easy to brew. When using traditional ingredients, it's a single-infusion mash with one hops addition (usually). Yours isn't so far outside the realm of Porter that it'll be too far afield, stylistically.

If you can get your hands on a copy, buy Terry Foster's Porter. That's THE book for exploring the style.

Quote:
Third: When to add the specialty malts during the mash for a smooth, non-burnt, non-acidic brew? -Now, in my imagination, I am doing this recipe to test a potential recipe for a larger future brewing endeavor (aren't we all in some way?). With that, are there any large (multi barrel plus) breweries that mess around with late grain additions while making porters in order to ensure mild, creamy smoothness? (I desire a milky smooth porter, but I don't want to utilize a method that I wouldn't reasonably use in a large scale brewery.) Somebody MUST have strong feelings about this. WHICH is the best way? I have head the debates (yes, I google), but I want a passionate, definitive answer. Mash it all for full time, or add carafa II or carared/carafa II late (and how, at what time...)?

...Or ignore all of the above and just tell a good story about your favorite porter recipe. What made it great? What would you have changed? What are your favorite dark specialty malts? Have you experienced unexpected results?
Meh. I'm a brewing historian, and therefore a traditionalist. I like my Porters to have a certain amount of bite. If it's creamy-smooth and mild, I don't consider it a Robust Porter.

Think of the name itself for a moment - Robust Porter. A beer described as "mild" or "smooth" doesn't self-describe as "robust", does it?

To me, Robust Porter bridges the gap between brown beers and stout. Therefore, it needs to have characteristics of both. If it doesn't have a certain amount of roast-malt bite to it, it's just a darker Brown Ale. It's a Brown Ale that, not to put too fine a point on it, the brewer screwed up and made too dark!

Thus, for me and my tastes, I add all the grist at once and carefully tailor the amounts to net me the flavor profile I want. That means a combination of pale malt, Crystal malt, Chocolate malt, and Black Patent malt. British or, less often, American hops flavor and aroma. English or American ale yeast.

In the mouth, a solid malt backbone with Crystal-malt sweetness giving way to a spectrum of roasted-malt flavors, finishing dry. Balanced by hops bitterness, not roast-malt bitterness (that's a hallmark of Stout). Perhaps a hint of hops flavor, but not enough to stand out or cloud the grain flavors.

Porter is all about balance. No one characteristic should be forward. It's a dashed tricky style to brew well.

Frankly, I can't really help you in your quest for a "smooth, non-burnt, non-acidic brew" with "mild, creamy smoothness", because, as I've described, I don't think that's really Porter. Your mileage, of course, may vary significantly.

If you want to examine my recipe - which, if I may display hubris, has been well received in both amateur and professional circles - have a glance at the Coal Porter recipe thread. It's not as big a beer as you've sketched above, but you may find the grist percentages useful for increasing to your target OG. Just don't forget to scale the hops as well.

Summing up, I think your recipe will make a fine beer I'd surely drink with great pleasure. I'd not call it Porter, for neither the recipe nor your stated goals jibe with what I consider the style, but that's one bloke's opinion amongst many.

Good luck!

Bob
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:05 PM   #8
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"Jesus Bob....", he said, with a mixture of awe and respect.......

I would take a random cup or so of your mash at dough in and sizzle it in a skillet until BURNT. Add this back to the mash for the last 30 minutes or so. This will add complexity, BITE, and roastiness.

cheers brother!
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post

In the mouth, a solid malt backbone with Crystal-malt sweetness giving way to a spectrum of roasted-malt flavors, finishing dry. Balanced by hops bitterness, not roast-malt bitterness (that's a hallmark of Stout). Perhaps a hint of hops flavor, but not enough to stand out or cloud the grain flavors.
Wow. That was about as close to explicit beer p*rn*graphy as you can get. Your descriptions are making me drool all over this keyboard. I like your descriptions! A very articulate picture drawn! Man, I've gotta brew!

Now- I am a novice to the porter style, with little exposure beyond the mainstream Guinness exposures. I was wrong to invoke the style name "robust porter" rather than just say "denser OG porter-esque thing". I DO need to eventually delve into a REAL BJCP "Robust Porter" someday, and I will use your descriptions as my watchwords/ "right and left limits". Yes- I suppose I sissied out in trying to cater to a less "enlightened" crowd (I.E. those family members/neighbors who will be tasting this first "pseudo-porter" effort). Thus I was shooting for something that might be good, but admittedly "less challenging" to a palette that finds even Guinness smoky and bitter.

I am sorry for using "milky and smooth" in the same thread as "Robust Porter". Thank you for being patient with me. Yeah- A "Robust" man is not one who should ever be described as "Milky and Smooth".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob View Post

Thus, for me and my tastes, I add all the grist at once and carefully tailor the amounts to net me the flavor profile I want. That means a combination of pale malt, Crystal malt, Chocolate malt, and Black Patent malt. British or, less often, American hops flavor and aroma. English or American ale yeast.
Thank you for weighing in in that regard. That is what I'll do.

I really thank you for taking the time to comprehensively address my post! I was afraid that I was going to have to settle for a Zywiec recommendation and a "good luck".

On that note- It was cool to get an answer from Bob. You, the Revvys, EdWorts, YooperBrews, BierMunchers, and other respected posters (who give well educated, experienced, and reasoned feedback, and seem to have been here forever) are mini rockstars to me on this board. I have monitored your posts, and I am thrilled to have received your feedback.

CheezyDemon,

That is a really interesting approach to really be able to add some good, Robust "bite". I can imagine doing it in a frying pan with a bacon mesh screen over it. ...Like a bada$$ decoction mash- I dig it. I really like that suggestion. For this batch, I am going to do my sissy, pseudo-blackbeer for my novice audience, but when I am brewing for myself, I want to try your suggestion.

I will post my results in a month or two... Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:26 PM   #10
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Heh. Thanks for the kind words.

Like I said, your recipe sounds completely yummy, and I'd drink it. A lot of it. Maybe I'd even remember to toast you. Once.



Bob


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