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Old 01-18-2011, 01:45 AM   #1
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Default Porter from 50% Brown Malt?

I did some light reading on historical brown porters. I'm wondering what my result would be if I did one of the historic recipes and did a grist of 50% Maris Otter and 50% English Brown Malt, say 4.5lbs of each for a 5 gallon recipe?

Would it be any good? Did we make Porter more complex for a reason?


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Old 01-18-2011, 01:51 AM   #2
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From what I read, I've understood that the brown malt was roasted over fire or peat (or something similar) and that is what gave it the color and flavor. If you get the book Designing Great Beers it has a method of making a pseudo malt. Haven't tried it myself, but I am interested in this as well.

Good Luck!!!


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Old 01-18-2011, 02:21 AM   #3
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As I understand it, brown malt is the traditional malt for porters. If anything, your porter recipe would more true to style than most recipes currently out there. Maybe it's time to bring back the original porter? Try it and let us know how your beer turns out.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:50 AM   #4
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Default Brown Malt & Porters

I just started using Brown Malt, upon advice from a fellow brewer. I added it at 7% to a Robust Porter and it came out awesome! It is definitely a noticable (and enjoyable) flavor @ 7%, so you may want to start out less than 10% of the total grist to see how you like it.

In Mosher's "Radical Brewing", he quotes a Wagner (1877) article about porter formulas. Not all porter recipes traditionally use Brown Malt, but many do.... and then in the 25%-35% range. (Great book, btw!)

It is a roasted malt, so count it up as part of your 'roasty' additions to the grist. No enzymes either...

Good luck on the brew!
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p.s. In the fermenter, I have a Nut Brown Ale with 7% Brown Malt as well... cannot wait to taste that one!
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:18 AM   #5
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Depending on what type of porter you are trying to emulate, you can go 100% brown malt for an authentic porter; yet it seems those were to be aged (vatted) for 2+ years. It really wasn't until the late 1800's that you start to see porter grists with pale, amber, and brown malts. Anyhow, if you are really serious about doing a historical porter, I would highly recommend checking out ron's blog. He's pretty much THE authority on historical British beer.

http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2...fashioned.html
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:48 AM   #6
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Today's Brown Malt is a much different critter than it was historically. I'd say your recipe would be about the right color for a Brown Porter. You would want to add some Caramel malt to that grain bill as well.
Historically, Porter was kind of a moving target, because originally it was concocted by blending 3 different beers into a single cask. This was called "Three-Thread." Eventually, an enterprising lad brewed it as a single beer, "Entire", but the Brown Malt of those days was undoubtedly much darker, and a with definite smoky character.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smp1 View Post
Historically, Porter was kind of a moving target, because originally it was concocted by blending 3 different beers into a single cask. This was called "Three-Thread." Eventually, an enterprising lad brewed it as a single beer, "Entire", but the Brown Malt of those days was undoubtedly much darker, and a with definite smoky character.
Unfortunately, that interpretation has been thoroughly debunked. The term "entire" did not refer to the mixing of finished beer or a flavor combination thereof, but rather the process of using different runnings of the same malt to make one beer. Unusual, as the first mash was typically used to make the strongest beer, with each consecutive mash used to make a lower gravity one (in the most basic of terms).

Moreover, the word "three-threads" has incorrectly been attributed to porter. In the most basic of terms, three threads was a means of mixing various strong and week beers together to make a product that could be sold as a "strong" ale but didn't have to pay the full tax burden on strong beers; as beer was taxed by strength. It is now believed that three threads was some combination of stale, mild, and pale. It should be noted there also existed four-threads and six-threads, with the assumption that the latter being the stronger mixes.

Lastly, the genius of porter was that it provided the masses with a beer that was already "aged" and of particular taste by the time it was sold to the public. Before that, beer was sold young to the publicans who then aged the beer on their own premises. The long aging in huge vats, which allowed for consistency, also had the effect of allowing the overly burnt, smokey taste to dissipate out of the beer; therefore allowing wood-fired malt to be used over the more expensive malts dried by straw and coke. Porter was not a smokey tasting beer...

That's enough history for now. For those still interested in the real history of british beers, pick up a copy of "Amber, Gold & Black" by Martyn Cornell.
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:48 PM   #8
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Default Brown Malt diastatic power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smp1 View Post
Today's Brown Malt is a much different critter than it was historically.
I have heard similar comments, which has been confusing for me. How do you interpret old recipes proportions to modern malt?

The big question is: Does the currently available Brown Malt have any enzymes?

Daniels' book says no, as do other web sources (see Fawcett Brown Malt) So if true, a 100% Brown Malt grist would would not be able to convert itself.

Personally, I'd keep it in the 5%-15% range and give it a try.

Good luck!
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:20 PM   #9
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I agree that modern brown malt lacks its own enzymes, but wouldn't the equal portion of pale ale malt be sufficient to convert the brown malt? In other words, 50% brown malt wouldn't be the same as 50% crystal, right?

Am I wrong in assuming the wort would still be as fermentable as a wort made with 100% pale malt?
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LexusChris View Post
I have heard similar comments, which has been confusing for me. How do you interpret old recipes proportions to modern malt?

The big question is: Does the currently available Brown Malt have any enzymes?

Daniels' book says no, as do other web sources (see Fawcett Brown Malt) So if true, a 100% Brown Malt grist would would not be able to convert itself.

Personally, I'd keep it in the 5%-15% range and give it a try.

Good luck!
--LexusChris
Brown malt has been several things over the years. For an 18th-centrury Porter you'd need straw-kilned diastatic brown malt. While for 19th-century Porter it would be hornbeam-kilned non-diastatic brown malt.

I've drunk beer brewed with homemade historic malt and they were very different from ones that used modern commercial brown malt.

I'm involved in a project to produce various types of historic brown malt commercially, though it's still at a very early stage.


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