Your favourite 18th century porter recipe is.... ?

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Miraculix

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Fellow brewers and brewerettes,

What is your favourite historical UK (London?) porter recipe from the Victorian era that you have successfully brewed?

I need some inspiration.

Thank you very much.

M
 

kevin58

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This one has been sitting in my historic recipe folder for a long time. I made it once but it was so long ago I don't recall how it turned out and didn't bother to make notes. It would be rather difficult if not impossible to recreate one of these with any accuracy since they would have been made with 100% brown malt which would have been completely different than what is called brown malt today.
 

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Miraculix

Miraculix

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This one has been sitting in my historic recipe folder for a long time. I made it once but it was so long ago I don't recall how it turned out and didn't bother to make notes. It would be rather difficult if not impossible to recreate one of these with any accuracy since they would have been made with 100% brown malt which would have been completely different than what is called brown malt today.
I think there is now a modern recreation available, called Imperial malt or something like this.

Edit: It is available from Simpsons.
 
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Airborneguy

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Here’s my take on the style:

 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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I decided to give the import from UK another go and bought 10kg chevallier and six kg of Simpsons imperial. Will be probably around 30/70 in the mix plus 50 ibus from UK hops. Og around 1.08 and imperial yeast pub plus maybe some Nottingham for attenuation, but maybe not.
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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Sounds like an amber biscuit malt not a brown malt........
How do you know that this is not exactly what the old days brown malt was? AFAIK, it didn't have much in common with modern brown malt, except the colour.
 

hout17

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I'm going to have to dig in to historical docs and learn more about the old world brown malt. Most of what I know has been read on forums and I'm not sure if the information is solid or not.
 

505-Brewer

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I dont. Going off the Ron Pattinson comment in this thread. Doesnt sound like something Id want to use as a base malt just yet. Need to learn more.

From what i recall Brown malt varies a lot in color today w TFawcett on the lighter color and others much darker and roastier. Do we know what color historical brown malt provided?
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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I dont. Going off the Ron Pattinson comment in this thread. Doesnt sound like something Id want to use as a base malt just yet. Need to learn more.

From what i recall Brown malt varies a lot in color today w TFawcett on the lighter color and others much darker and roastier. Do we know what color historical brown malt provided?
AFAIK, I don't know anything :D.

Honestly, the only thing that seems to be validated is that the old school brown malt was brown in colour (or the resulting beer was brown) and it was diastatic.

Maybe dark Munich is actually the closest form of modern malt? But I think dark Munich has not much diastatic power left.

So in my head, it makes sense to think that brown colour plus diastatic power equals a close match to the old school brown malt. But I obviously might be completely wrong. Can you point me to Ron's comments?
 

madscientist451

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Brewing Porter has been my thing lately, its hard to find in the stores where the shelves are dominated by IPA's and Hard Seltzer.
I really can't get too interested in historical brews though, I have very limited brewing time, if I'm going to brew something it better be something special, I can't get the authentic historical ingredients and honestly, the historical brews I have done in the past weren't all that great.
Since my offering is :off: I'll apologize first.
My latest porter was inspired by Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter. I seldom re-brew the same recipe, but I'm thinking I'll do this again and may actually try to keep it on tap all the time.
If anyone is interested I'll include the details.
:mug:
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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Brewing Porter has been my thing lately, its hard to find in the stores where the shelves are dominated by IPA's and Hard Seltzer.
I really can't get too interested in historical brews though, I have very limited brewing time, if I'm going to brew something it better be something special, I can't get the authentic historical ingredients and honestly, the historical brews I have done in the past weren't all that great.
Since my offering is :off: I'll apologize first.
My latest porter was inspired by Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter. I seldom re-brew the same recipe, but I'm thinking I'll do this again and may actually try to keep it on tap all the time.
If anyone is interested I'll include the details.
:mug:
Sure, why not?
 

madscientist451

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Inspired by a Breckenridge Vanilla Clone recipe:

I slightly altered the original as found somewhere on Google.

2.5 gallons

4.5 lbs. Rahr and Viking 2-row
12 oz Briess C-40
8 oz Crisp Pale Chocolate
6 oz Weyermann Carfa II
2oz Munich light

Mash at 154F

Hops:
.125 ounce Chinook at 60 min.
.3 ounce Saaz at 30 min.
.25 ounce Chinook at 15 min.
.25 ounce EKG at 0 min.

When kegging, added 1.5 ounce bourbon that had been in a jar with Jack Daniel's Barrell chips for a few months
and 1 oz Vanilla extract.

This brew came out very good with a nice mixture of subtle flavors.
 

duncan_disorderly

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I have no idea what an 18th century porter tasted like so I wouldn't know how to go about making one because copying recipes isnt possible with modern ingredients, I fear.

Doesn't mean we shouldn't use old recipes and see what happens of course. But I've focused my brewing on working out how to make beers that suit my tastes with the ingredients I can get hold of today. I don't go for low bitterness beers so I tend to increase the IBUs in some styles, like porter.

18th century brewing will have been a very inconsistent, and localised, affair. Think about the farmhouse brewers encountered by Lars Garshol in Scandinavia and East Europe. Random yeasts, bacteria, tree branches, home malted and kilned grains. Different kilning methods. Different mashing and boil ing capabilities.

Black patent malt appeared in the late 18th century I think and was used to improve efficiencies alongside pale malt. Did beer suddenly change at that point? Or was there so much variety that it was just another variation, and the cost reduction gave it dominance?

I wouldn't want to kid myself I was making an 18th century beer and i doubt anybody else here does either. It's fun to look into the past and to use what we find to inform what we do.

The first porter I brewed was the published recipe for Fullers London Porter and it was great. I tend to brew porters along those lines with a combination of crystal, brown and roast malt. I use different crystal and roast malts. Choc or black usually, but I've also used choc rye and choc wheat. I like what brown malt brings. I've put amber malt in too. I think black malt, crystal and modern brown malt were created to be used with pale malt to sort of mimic what historic brewing malt was like, approximately. So I don't tend to use things like Chevallier in a porter as it will be masked to a considerable degree. I've done it though and it's a fine thing to do. For me a single malt beer with Chevallier is very like a beer made with pale malt and crystal so why not use pale and crystal in a dark beer instead?

I'm just thinking out loud, I find this stuff interesting but I'm just an amateur home brewer with no specific knowledge.
 

Drewch

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From Pattinson:
Brown malt is a tricky devil to pin down. It has been made in many different ways and had many different characters over the years.

In the eighteenth century, it was diastatic; that is, the grains contained sufficient enzymes to convert their starch into sugar, and it was regularly used as a base malt. The earliest porters and stouts were brewed from 100 percent brown malt. London brewers usually purchased their malt from Hertfordshire, just north of London. There, it was the custom to use straw as a fuel in the final stage of the kilning, where the temperature was increased dramatically. In other areas, different fuels were used, and these had a big impact on the flavor of the malt.

Do you think a darker Munich would be a reasonable sub?
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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Can you elaborate?

(There was likely a smokey quality that would be lacking, but what apart from that?)
Only the historic brown malt with the baddest quality was likely a bit smoky, Ron is elaborating on that somewhere in the depth of his blog.

The main feature of historic brown malt seems to be that it was unevenly kilned. So there were parts that were almost like black malt and parts which were more like light brown and everything in between as well. That's why I think one of the modern malts alone will most likely not do the trick.

My personal guess, and it's really nothing but an unaeducated guess, is that a mix of imperial malt, a bit of pale malt and maybe some black malt could come close. Maybe a certain percentage of modern brown malt as well? Don't know about that.

@patto1ro could you maybe chime in and elaborate a bit further if you wouldn't mind?
 

Drewch

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My personal guess, and it's really nothing but an uneducated guess, is that a mix of imperial malt, a bit of pale malt and maybe some black malt could come close. Maybe a certain percentage of modern brown malt as well? Don't know about that.

So basically, do what the 19th century brewers did — shift to a mix of pale and dark malts.
 

Drewch

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Only the historic brown malt with the baddest quality was likely a bit smoky, Ron is elaborating on that somewhere in the depth of his blog.

Smokey was probably the wrong word. Roasty might have been better — that toast-burnt-around-the-edges black malt quality is what I was trying to get at.
 

Northern_Brewer

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What is your favourite historical UK (London?) porter recipe from the Victorian era that you have successfully brewed?
Not something I've done myself but I have tried a friend's effort who split a batch and Bretted some of the bottles. Which made a big difference but was a bit much on its own - the ideal was maybe a 1:2 blend of Bretted:unbretted. Which of course sounds rather like the traditional blending stock ale with fresh.

If it was something that I'd drink enough of to make it worth the effort, I'd make it an annual brew, keeping back 1/3 to age with Brett clausenii, and then blending 2/3 of the new batch with 1/3 of the previous year's aged with Brett for portery perfection.
 

dmtaylor

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Not something I've done myself but I have tried a friend's effort who split a batch and Bretted some of the bottles. Which made a big difference but was a bit much on its own - the ideal was maybe a 1:2 blend of Bretted:unbretted. Which of course sounds rather like the traditional blending stock ale with fresh.

If it was something that I'd drink enough of to make it worth the effort, I'd make it an annual brew, keeping back 1/3 to age with Brett clausenii, and then blending 2/3 of the new batch with 1/3 of the previous year's aged with Brett for portery perfection.
I wish this would become a thing. I mean, like a big thing, like our madness for IPA. Unfortunately it never will, at least not in the USA, because it's too complicated, and/or we would ruin it with other crappy interpretations.

The brewers of old were excellent at their craft. There are reasons they did what they did. There is so much we could learn from them. Sigh........
 

TheMadKing

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I had a thread where i attempted several methods for making diastatic brown malt without success.


My best theory is that historical brown malt was kilned in a gradient where the bottom of the batch closest to the heat was dark brown/blown malt and the top of the batch was barely kilned at all, so you'd end up with a diastatic malt which ranged the full spectrum from pale to black
 
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