I have only been brewing for a few months, and recently decided that I wanted to take a foray into making my own recipe from scratch. I like big beers, so I decided to go-big or go-home. Below is what I came up with:
"Brown Sugar" Porter - 5gal
- 7# Dark DME
- 1# Chocolate Malt
- 1# Special B Malt
- 2# Dark Brown Sugar (added @20 min left in boil so the wort acts as a catalyst to invert it)
- 1oz Brewers Gold (@60 min for bittering)
- 1oz Liberty (@15 min for flavor)
I didnt have a yeast in mind, but planned on asking at my LHBS about an alcohol tolerant strain.
Of course when I go to actually buy all the ingredients, my LHBS was out of chocolate malt and Special B. They did, however, have Belgian Chocolate and Belgian Special B. I stood there scratching my head wondering what made these different than the normal versions other than being more expensive.
Figuring that I was at a decision point of back to the kit or improvise I decided that "go big or go home" was the right strategy and grabbed the Belgian malts. On yeast I got recommended Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale as a good compliment to the Belgian malts.
Brew day went great. Hit my OG exactly at 1.090. Pitched my yeast and 72 F and let it sit for a week at 66-68 F. Checked my gravity on day 7 of fermentation and was at 1.025 (72% attenuation)! I was shocked since my only other high gravity beer took 3 weeks to ferment, and even then only attenuated 65%. The beer had also cleared significantly and I was at yet another decision point...bottle or let it go another week?
Being the impatient person I am I went ahead and bottled. That was on 3/17. Last night, again being impatient, I cracked one open...fully expecting it to be flat but just wanting to test the flavor.
To my surprise it was fully carbed and tasted much more finished than the barleywine I had been sitting on in bottles for 6 weeks (my other foray into high grav brewing which I had been trying each week and finding it flat). And when I say this thing was fully carbed, it had a nice head that stayed with it through the whole glass (the whole, delicious, chocolaty, glass...).
In fact, for what I expected it seemed over-carbed. I used 4.5 oz of priming sugar, which should have been right for 5 gal. Since this thing has only been in the bottle for 10 days, am I likely to run into trouble as it finishes conditioning? Did I do something wrong since it carbed up so fast? I dont think I have an infection since there are no off flavors at all.
Dont get me wrong...Im super happy with how it tastes. I just never expected it to finish so quickly and am worried that as time goes by the "that taste great honey" I got is going to turn into "you better clean up your damn mess".
Ill post a pic of some tonight...it looks awesome! The beer itself is black as night and the head was a milk-chocolate brown. In fact the only issue I currently have with it is its kinda stiff for a work night!