Help with a Porter recipe

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syd138

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I have never done a Porter before and am trying to come up with a simple, basic recipe.

I was hoping to make something similar to an Edmund Fitzgerald, but a little less roasty.

Many of the recipes I've seen have Black Patent and I want to cut that out to cut down on the roastyness.

Right now here is my idea:

OG = 1.050
IBU = 25

Grains:
1lb Munich
1lb Crystal 40L
8oz Chocolate malt

the rest would be Light DME

I'm only going to use hops for bittering, so I'm just going to use what I have on hand which is Halletauer.

Should the 8oz of Chocolate give a roasty enough flavor for a porter? Should I add more Munich to get more of a malty flavor? Do I need to add Black Patent?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

DSorenson

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Do yourself a huge favor and conduct a mini mash. It's super easy and just takes a little more time and care than steeping the grains. To make sure you can complete the mash, you need enough diastatic power. This just means that you need a few pounds of pale malt included to turn those starches into sugars!

1) Put the grains in a large hop or straining bag.
2) Heat the water in your pot to 148-158*F
3) Put the bag and grains in the water (just like you were steeping).
4)Gently stir the grains in the bag to make sure there aren't any clumps.
(Note: Don't leave the burner on while the bag is on the bottom. If you need to apply more heat to maintain temperature between 148-158, lift the bag and turn the burner back on so the bag doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot.)
5) Maintain mash temperatures between 148-158 for one hour.
6) Remove the grain bag and party on, because you just mashed grain!

If you mess it up (somehow), it's cool because you can always add a little more DME to make up for what sugar you didn't get from the mash.

According to my home made brew calculator, your grist is the following. (I am figuring you are brewing a 5 gallon batch.)

3.5 LBS DME (61.1%)
2 LBS Pale 2 row (18.1%)
1 LB Munich (8.1%)
1 LB Caramel (40 L) (8.8%)
.5 LB Chocolate Malt (3.4%)

The Munich might not really make a huge difference, but it's your recipe and you might notice it. Vienna will give it a warmer, biscuit-y character that might stand out more. I'm sure you could steep these grains, but I'm not sure you will get much character from them without a mash. I could be wrong on that.

Since a porter is a dark beer, you can use any range of lovibonds for the caramel, but it's a matter of taste. I like a more distinctive caramel/toffee flavor, so I would use 120 Lovibond. This amount of caramel should be able to support your porter and give it the malty-ness you are looking for.

The chocolate you have currently isn't bad! You're playing it safe, but it will a dark beer. Perhaps slightly brown and maybe translucent when held to the light, but that's okay- Brown porter is a legitimate beer style and existed before the porter we know today.

You will notice a chocolate or slight roast quality. You could use a pound (even more) of chocolate, if you really desire!

Black patent is typically used in small quantities for color adjustment, and is not often used in any detectable amounts. Toss an ounce or two of that in and your beer will be darker without the acrid flavors associated with Black Patent.
 

IslandLizard

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Agree on the mini mash for the Munich (and the Caramel), but you don't have to mash the dark grains. I prefer to steep them and add them at the very end of the boil. I think it tastes smoother that way as it prevents astringency and that boiled coffee flavor.

I brewed an all-grain recipe based on Black Butte Porter, a brown porter.

This is what I used for the dark grains:
8.0 oz Weyermann Chocolate Wheat Malt (375.0 SRM) Grain 8 3.9 %
8.0 oz Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt (325.0 SRM) Grain 7 3.9 %

I steeped them on the side in 2 quarts of 150°F water for about half an hour, sparged them twice with 2 qts and 1 qt. resp. It yielded about a gallon of dark yummy liquor. I was amazed at the amount of color and aroma coming from that pound. Added that to the boil 5 minutes before flameout. Make sure they are crushed fine enough (run through 2x if needed) or you won't get good extraction.

For crystal I used
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 5 5.9 %
This was mashed with the base grains, which also contained wheat.

The porter appeared black, but was actually a very deep beautiful mahogany red when looking through from the top.
OG 1.058
I had measured FG 1.019, but may have ended a few points lower as I left it in the fermentor for another week or 2.
 
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syd138

syd138

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Thanks for the responses.

- I was planning on mini-mashing the grain.. I generally let it steep at about 155F for 45-60min, then sparge.
- Maybe what I will do is add 2oz of Black Patent.. but here is another question. What if I were to steep it in room temp water overnight? I could swear that I read somewhere that if you do that, you will get the black color, but you wont get the roasted flavor.
- It seems that some don't think the Munich is necessary.. but won't this help to add a malty flavor?
- I think I will up the Crystal from 40L to 120L.. that should give it a more carmely flavor and will add to the darker color of the beer
 

DSorenson

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The munich is more of a base malt, by its nature. If you used, say, 20% munich, you would probably notice it more. It's a great way to change your malt subtly. I encourage you to try it and see what you think. It certainly won't hurt!
 
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syd138

syd138

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So I ended up brewing this yesterday. Pretty simple and straightforward. I decided to leave out the Black and I upped the color of the Crystal. Took a sip of the wort and you can definitely taste the roastyness from the Chocolate.. so I think that'll be enough.

With a low ABV beer like this, I think I can bottle in a couple weeks and drink it a week later. I'll follow up on then.

5.5 gallons
IBU = 30
OG = 1.051

Munich Malt = 1lb
Crystal 120L = 1lb
Chocolate Malt = 8oz
Wheat DME = 5lbs
Sterling Hops (60 min) = 1.25oz
Yeast = Safale S-05
 

DSorenson

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5 lbs Wheat DME? Man, that porter took a drastic departure from what we were talking about in the beginning. I applaud your experimental nature but some of the best porters are "simple" ones. Wheat DME is usually at least 50% wheat.

Also, You are correct that a lower ABV beer should finish up faster, however an OG of 1.051 and an attenuative yeast like Safale S-05 would quickly turn this into an average ABV beer. It will probably need three weeks to properly bottle carbonate, and a few days in the fridge.

Also, I have a thread on brewing, bottling and carbing a beer in 3 weeks.
Read up so you can design a beer to fit your lack of patience.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/experiement-idea-brew-day-bottle-glass-3-weeks-465282/
 
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syd138

syd138

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"Wheat DME is usually at least 50% wheat."

It's generally 60/40 I think. I have done experiments before using Light DME vs. Wheat DME and in cases where you add roasted grains, it is difficult to taste the difference. Especially in a beer like this, I believe the flavor is really going to come from the Chocolate and Crystal 120.

It's bubbling away now, so I should be able to taste it in a bit.
 
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syd138

syd138

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DSorenson.. I have a question for you regarding mashing

You mentioned that "To make sure you can complete the mash, you need enough diastatic power. This just means that you need a few pounds of pale malt included to turn those starches into sugars!"

- The Crystal I used can't be converted into sugar.. same with the Chocolate, correct?
- Would the 1 lb of Munich that I used be converted into sugar since Munich is a base grain?
 

DSorenson

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Well there are a few things to mention here:

1) crystal/caramel malts do not technically require mashing to extract sugars. The process that it took to make them did that for you.

2) Munich has enough diastatic power to self convert, but that's pretty much it. It will be able to convert it's own sugars and not much else.

3) To extract any sugar from chocolate (or most roasted malts) you need enough diastatic power supplied from other grains. When you steep the chocolate malt, you are merely drawing out the flavor but not gaining anything fermentable.

4) All of these things need to be mashed between roughly 148-158*F for approximately an hour or until an iodine test reveals that the process is complete. I generally just do it for an hour and call it done. You might be doing this already if you steep at these temperatures.
 
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syd138

syd138

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Well there are a few things to mention here:

1) crystal/caramel malts do not technically require mashing to extract sugars. The process that it took to make them did that for you.

2) Munich has enough diastatic power to self convert, but that's pretty much it. It will be able to convert it's own sugars and not much else.

3) To extract any sugar from chocolate (or most roasted malts) you need enough diastatic power supplied from other grains. When you steep the chocolate malt, you are merely drawing out the flavor but not gaining anything fermentable.

4) All of these things need to be mashed between roughly 148-158*F for approximately an hour or until an iodine test reveals that the process is complete. I generally just do it for an hour and call it done. You might be doing this already if you steep at these temperatures.
Makes sense, but if I had added 2lbs of Pilsner malt as you suggested earlier, how would that have changed how the sugar from the other grains were extracted
 

DSorenson

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I am not sure I would suggest pilsner malt, but any other two row pale will do. American is a safe bet. Pilsner malts typically require 90 minute boil times to dissipate the larger amount of DMS that it seems to have. I'm not sure if 2 lbs would make that much of a difference, but better safe than sorry.

Had you added 2 lbs of 2 row pale malt you would have achieved a higher original gravity. You would have achieved conversion of your chocolate malt and also added the sugars of 2 lbs of pale malt. I predict (using my own personal calculator) you would have had an OG of 1.065.

Also, Ray Daniel's book "Designing Great Beers" mentions that extract brews can be very successful, but generally involve conducting a mini mash. he recommends that 25-67% of fermentable sugars come from a mini mash of grain. 30.7% is what you would have performed, had you used 2 lbs of 2 row pale malt.

If you had used:
3.5 #s DME
2 #s pale
1 # munich
1 # caramel (120 L)
0.5 # chocolate

You would have achieved the same 1.051 OG and 38.8% of your fermentables would have come from your mini mash. (Assuming 65% brew house efficiency)
 

zwiller

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Ed Fitz is the wife's favorite. Here is my take and it is dang close.

"Gordon Lightfoot" AG
75% pale (2 row brewer briess)
15% briess 80L crystal
5% english chocolate
5% english roasted barley
OG 1.060
Neutral (had some galena) bittering/1oz willamette + 1oz cascade @ 15m to 37IBU

Converted to extract and less roasty with less ABV:
4oz roast barley
12oz chocolate
16oz crystal
remainder light DME to 1.050. 6lbs +/-

Just steep the crystal, roast barley, and chocolate. Respectfully disagree with needing to convert roasted malts. http://allaboutbeer.com/article/great-grains-mash-or-steep/
 
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syd138

syd138

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Update:

I have been pretty disapointed with this beer.. just a really dry/too roasty flavor from the chocolate malt. I wanted to improve this a little, so I added some more ingredients while racking to secondary.

Original recipe:
5.5 gallons
IBU = 30
OG = 1.051

Munich Malt = 1lb
Crystal 120L = 1lb
Chocolate Malt = 8oz
Wheat DME = 5lbs
Sterling Hops (60 min) = 1.25oz
Yeast = Safale S-05

Additional:
4oz Black Patent (mashed in 32oz of water)
3oz organic cocoa powder, boiled in the wort from the step above
.75lbs Lactose also boiled in the wort
2oz Cherry Extract

It's been a couple weeks.. the cherry is a little noticable, just barely, and the lactose has sweetened it up a bit. Cannot taste the cocoa at all. Defintely a better beer... but here is a question:

Should I add a little more Cherry extract, or will the flavor become more pronounced with time?

Could I add a little bit of Vanilla Extract? Will this compliment or compete with the other additions?
 
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