Wednesday, March 5, 2014

They call me Porter & Tasting Session

Just got word that this placed 3rd in Cat 12.  Quaff's Americas Finest Homebrew Comp.

Peering into a vast array of bottles nestled together.  Looking down each row, studying them one by one.  Attempting to find the perfect bomber to enjoy after work.  Eying in on a Drakes Denogginizer, I happily close the refrigerator door without noticing a single Porter.  Did I walk into the bottle shop predisposed to purchase an IPA vs a Porter?  It's possible, or maybe its just how I feel about the style in general.  Predictable.

When purchasing a beer I want it to be exciting and different.  I want to be arm and arm with the hot girl at the party.  Maybe even outside my league. (or brewing skill set)  Porters are, well just porters.  They are the back-up girl when someone cancels on you last minute.  There like a moped, "Always fun to ride, but you never want to get caught riding on one".  They are predicable. 

Now with that out of the way, an American Porter was probably the first or second style you homebrew.  Good or not, it was your first.  More importantly, it was yours.  While it's true, normally I do not purchase Porters, I do enjoy drinking them.  They are my fat girl.

When I started out working on a Porter recipe, I wanted it purely American.  Style 12B Robust Porter, which is a horrible style name (BTW).  Wanting the recipe to maximize the roasted and chocolate notes I love.  For strength, I went right under 7%.  Fairly strong, yet contained.  I ended up doing a split yeast pitch on this beer.  The WLP028 started off for 2 days then I pitched WLP090.  This should bring out some traditional English characters without the phenolics associated with English Ales.  This is my third re-brew of this batch, I think I like where it is, just needing to re-brew it one more time without any changes.

Aroma:  Somewhat burnt, coffee/roasted barley acridness. More coffee and chocolate as it warmed up.  I do get some husky grain notes also, this seems to come forward the longer this beer is on draft. 

Appearance:  Thin head, that somewhat appears after I finish pouring the taster.  I'd say about a 1/4 thick.  (It doesn't last long, but I like my porters low on the Co2.)  The head is clearly dark tan, small bubbles dissipate quickly.  The beer shows black, but as you take a sip the black changes to a dark burnt chocolate red. 

Flavor:  Roasted notes start off, followed by a smooth chocolate.  Finishing off in a sweet coffee like flavor.  Very drinkable, it seems to get better with age.  No diacetyl, no astringency, very cleanly brewed fermentation wise.

Mouthfeel:   Almost "Oat meal" like.  Smooth and clean.  Very low carbonation.  It has a hard water calcium impression that I like even though it might be off putting to a competition.

Overall Impression:  This is a great beer.  It don't drink it very much, but I love having it on draft.  This is my 3rd brewing of this beer with some small tweaks on each one.  I just need to rebrew it again with no changes to finalize this recipe.

Brewing Timeline/Notes:  I brewed this in early December and let it sit in the keg at 68 for a little to long due to space constraints.  It' s been on tap for over a month now slowly changing into a awesome beer.  Well worth the rebrew.

I posted the Judges sheets on this beer from the America's Finest City Homebrew Comp

I also received word today that this beer advanced into the second round NHC via Austin, TX  Once I have the sheets I will post them up.

My Name is Porter
Robust Porter
Type: All Grain Date: 14 Dec 2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 6.75 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Can You Brew It
End of Boil Volume 5.72 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal Est Mash Efficiency 70.0 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 40
Taste Notes: Posted Above
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 71.8 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 10.8 %
11.2 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 3 5.0 %
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 %
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.6 %
6.7 oz Carafoam (2.0 SRM) Grain 6 3.0 %
4.8 oz Carafa III (Weyermann) (525.0 SRM) Grain 7 2.2 %
0.60 oz Magnum [12.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 24.4 IBUs
0.25 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 9 5.5 IBUs
0.25 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 10 1.4 IBUs
1.0 pkg Edinburgh Ale (White Labs #WLP028) [35.49 ml] Yeast 11 -
1.0 pkg San Diego Super Yeast (White Labs #WLP090) Yeast 12 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.064 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.064 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.016 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.2 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.7 %
Bitterness: 31.3 IBUs Calories: 215.2 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 38.9 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 14.7 oz
Sparge Water: 4.07 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 17.40 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 45 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.70gal, 3.38gal) of 168.0 F water
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: Carbonation Used:
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 60.0 F Age for: 30 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 39.0 F
Fermentation Notes
Primary:  Only primary on this batch.  Started at 66 for 3 days then raised to 70 over a 2 week period. 

This beer took third at "America's Finest Homebrew Comp 2014" held by Quaff each Feb.   Once I get the judges sheets back I will post them up for review.


  1. Good post, I like a solid Porter but a lot of commercial ones end up being one dimensional for me. Especially after I got to try Hill Farms Everett, jaw dropper. Yours sounds right up my alley with the chocolate, coffee and oatmeal like body, sounds awesome you have me craving a Porter. Funny though, I never figured you a Porter guy, stereo-typing a San Diegan I assume.

    1. Aw the San Diego stereo type. It is strange, I can't remember the last time I drank a porter at a bar. But at home it is a regular staple for me.

  2. I know this is an old post, but I'm actually writing to ask you about your smoked porter. I know I read somewhere that you've got a nice recipe for one, and it being a style that I've ever brewed, I thought I'd ask. Cheers!

    1. Jerad,

      I've settled on adding 5% of the base grain into Rouch Malt. 10% was to much. And then leaving everything else the same on the recipe. I've brewed this recipe 3 times now and I think its about perfect. Just dont use Peet Malt!


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!