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Porter from 50% Brown Malt?

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Dr. Francois

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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?
 

rudu81

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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!!!
 

mithion

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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. :ban:
 

LexusChris

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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!
--LexusChris

p.s. In the fermenter, I have a Nut Brown Ale with 7% Brown Malt as well... cannot wait to taste that one!
 

bierhaus15

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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/2011/01/brewing-whitbread-porter-old-fashioned.html
 

smp1

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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.
 

bierhaus15

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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.
 

LexusChris

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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!
--LexusChris
 
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Dr. Francois

Dr. Francois

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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?
 

patto1ro

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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.
 

AnthonyCB

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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?
It depends on which Pale Malt you use. Maris Otter (50 lintner) usually has less spare diastatic power than other Pale Malts according to BeerSmith:
Belgian Pale Malt = 60 Lintner
Weyermann Pale Malt = 100 Lintner
Halcyon or Golden Promise = 120 Lintner
US Pale Malt = 140 Linter

To convert your mash you want a weighted average of 30 Lintner for your grains (i.e. 5 lbs Brown Malt [0 Lintner] and 5 lbs Maris Otter [50 Lintner] gives you an average of 25 Lintner which isn't enough, but 2.5 lbs Brown + 7.5 Maris Otter should be fine [37.5 Lintner] or 5 lbs Brown and 5 lbs Halcyon Pale Malt would work [60 Lintner])

Your question about fermentability is a good one. Some grains have essentially 0 fermentability like Black Malt. They often also have less extraction potential. I'm not sure how much starch in brown malt has been burnt to the point that it can't be converted to sugar.
 

gbx

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Does anyone have any experience with Baird's Brown/Amber and how it compares to Fawcett's brown (or historic brown)? The Baird's is only 50L compared to TF's 70L. Baird's is the only brown available here. I've used it in some the SUABP recipes and its turned out good but I don't have any experience with other maltsters brown.

I've been looking through Ron's Porter! book. Has anyone brewed one of the hoppy, brown malt heavy porters? How do they turn out with modern hops (6% AA goldings) and malts? Has anyone brewed (or heard of anyone brewing) one of the 1100+ OG Imperial Brown Stouts? I like the idea but can't figure out how to deal with 20+ oz of hops.

I'd love to hear from other homebrewers who like historic brewing. Are there any threads on HBT dedicated to it?
 

bierhaus15

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Does anyone have any experience with Baird's Brown/Amber and how it compares to Fawcett's brown (or historic brown)?

I'd love to hear from other homebrewers who like historic brewing. Are there any threads on HBT dedicated to it?
I typed up a whole response, but alas I wasn't signed in when I posted... I'll paraphrase.

In short, the Bairds stuff is 'ok' although the Fawcett's really is the better product. It has more roasty flavors than the former and is closest tasting to the historical stuff, which isn't that similar to modern brown malts.

I've been very involved with making historical brown malt - I've made fully diastatic brown malt made from straw (like those made in the 1700's) and a few batches of brown malt kilned over hornbeam wood, which was typical of those made in the 1800's. The history of brown malt is a lot more complex than I ever imagined. With those brown malts, I've brewed historical beers from them, which taste really nice and are a lot different tasting than anything you could find commercially. I have also been experimenting with 'vatting' porters - ie. infecting them with brett and other bugs to try and replicate the flavors of porters that were aged for years. I have recorded this on my blog, found here:

http://perfectpint.blogspot.com/search/label/Brown Malt

Lately, I've gotten into brewing historical stock beers, made with heritage hops that were once grown in my area in the mid-late 1800's. Those beers are coming along nicely.
 

gbx

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I typed up a whole response, but alas I wasn't signed in when I posted... I'll paraphrase.

In short, the Bairds stuff is 'ok' although the Fawcett's really is the better product. It has more roasty flavors than the former and is closest tasting to the historical stuff, which isn't that similar to modern brown malts.

I've been very involved with making historical brown malt - I've made fully diastatic brown malt made from straw (like those made in the 1700's) and a few batches of brown malt kilned over hornbeam wood, which was typical of those made in the 1800's. The history of brown malt is a lot more complex than I ever imagined. With those brown malts, I've brewed historical beers from them, which taste really nice and are a lot different tasting than anything you could find commercially. I have also been experimenting with 'vatting' porters - ie. infecting them with brett and other bugs to try and replicate the flavors of porters that were aged for years. I have recorded this on my blog, found here:

http://perfectpint.blogspot.com/search/label/Brown Malt

Lately, I've gotten into brewing historical stock beers, made with heritage hops that were once grown in my area in the mid-late 1800's. Those beers are coming along nicely.
I have to find a way to get some TF brown

...and your blog, I'm a regular reader. I like the idea of malting and roasting my own brown malt but I don't have the outdoor space for an open fire. I've thought about trying to mash 100% bairds brown malt to see if it would convert. It shouldn't be possible based off the numbers but if you dig through it, some of the grains are burnt but others are very lightly kilned so there is likely some diastatic power. I have more than enough brown malt to give it a go in a 1 gallon batch. Worth a try? Dumb idea?

I have a beat up old keg that I infected with white labs brett c that I've been using as a porter vat. Right now it has the Guinness Single Stout Porter that was brewed on brewingTV but done using some of the substitutions that were outlined in Let's Brew posts (ie. MFB sp. aromatic for the diastatic amber malt)

Of the SUABP beers I've done, my favourite so far has been the 1930 whitbread AK (6 row and invert, <1.030 OG, >50IBUs). Thats a beer I could see being a successful craft alternative to coors light. So drinkable yet so much flavour and hoppy goodness for 3% beer. Definitely rebrewing next summer.
 

ruralbrew

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I have a Porter waiting to be bottled that is 7 pounds MO, 3 pounds Brown malt, a pound of light chocolate and half pound of dark English crystal. I also added a half pound of flaked barley and a half cup of molasses. The sample I tasted when I brewed it was pretty roasty, it will be interesting to see how it turns out. Had an OG of 1.062.
I am not sure who manufactured the brown malt, I bought the ingredients at Northern Brewer and they don't list who malted it on their website.
 

MrOH

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I've been looking through Ron's Porter! book. Has anyone brewed one of the hoppy, brown malt heavy porters? How do they turn out with modern hops (6% AA goldings) and malts?
Ron helped me a bit with this beer:

http://hopville.com/recipe/969892

Based off of the 1855 EIP that Pretty Things did, although I changed up the hops some and added in the smoked malt. It was a great beer that changed quite a bit in the 10 months it was around (drank the last bottle over the weekend). Every change was interesting, though, as it went from a roasty/bitter/hoppy to roasty/bitter/smokey to chocolatey/bitter/smokey. Gonna do another version with a bit of a switch up on the hops and slightly less smoked malt next time.
 

BogusOwnz

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I use 10% brown malt in my mild and I love it but from what I've read I think modern day raunch malt would be the closest thing to brown malt of old to replicate those old beers.
 

gbx

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... I've thought about trying to mash 100% bairds brown malt to see if it would convert. It shouldn't be possible based off the numbers but if you dig through it, some of the grains are burnt but others are very lightly kilned so there is likely some diastatic power. I have more than enough brown malt to give it a go in a 1 gallon batch. Worth a try? Dumb idea?
yesterday I ground up 3lbs of Bairds brown and mashed in 6L of 65C water for 4hours. The refractometer reading was 3Brix....so yeah...dumb idea. I ground up 2lbs of weyermann pilsner malt and threw it in along with some boiling water to get the temp back up to 65C. Ended up being a thin mash but an hour and half later had 11Brix and a 12L BIAB batch. So I found out you can go up to 60% with bairds brown....and brewing inside on the stove is fun (haven't done that in more than 2 years and 40 batches)
 

timabram

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Hi,

I've produced a brown malt porter .... 60% brown 35% Maris Otter pale and 5% Caramalt ..... Fuggles, Goldings and Bramling Cross

Yummy rich toasty
 

nh_homebrew

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I have yet to do all grain brewing. Been doing extract for 8 months.
well I was hoping to use a special brown malt 100%
what would you recommend, what are my options? I got 55 lbs of it (from Stone Path Malt of New England) for $30 on craigslist.
according to this guy https://www.experimentalbrew.com/content/brown-malt-experiments
It can turn out decent. Maybe if I put sugary fermentables in the last 10 minutes ... the yeast will have plenty to work with.
This is the malt I have
 
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Dr. Francois

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That malt doesn't have enzymes, so you can't use it as 100% in all grain brewing.
 
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