Saturday, January 12, 2013

Batch 3: Papa Bear Porter: Ingredients

I picked up the ingredients for my next batch today at 5 Points Growlers Beer & Brew Supply. I tweaked the recipe for John Palmer's "Port O'Palmer" from How to Brew, which he writes is based on Sierra Nevada's Porter. This brew has a special purpose. I'm heading up to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a weekend late next month with my wife and several of our friends, and a few of them requested that I make a batch of homebrew for the excursion. I'm naming the beer after the cabin we'll be renting, Papa Bear's Lodge. Here's what I got:
  • 10 lb. – pale liquid malt extract (LME)
  • 8 oz. – crystal 60L malt
  • 8 oz. – chocolate malt
  • 4 oz. – black malt 
  • 0.5 oz. – Magnum hops 
  • 1.25 oz. – Willamette hops
  • 1 packet – Wyeast American Ale Yeast (#1056)
The shop was out of Horizon hops so I'm substituting Magnum. They also didn't have black patent malt so I'm substituting black malt. I decided to up the base malt by 50% to bring the ABV closer to 6% or 7%. (Hey, you only live once, right?)

The guy at the shop offered a couple tips that I think I might try. First, he suggested steeping the specialty grains, setting the tea aside, and only adding it to the wort at knockout to avoid drawing out the acridity of the chocolate and black malts. Second, he recommended doing a secondary fermentation to get the beer off the trub earlier, something I haven't done yet. On the advice of friends, I've been reluctant to do an open primary fermentation and to move the beer to a secondary for fear of oxidization, but I figure it's worth a go.

I'm also going to try only using a third of the LME in the boil and adding the rest at knockout. I think I've been caramelizing some of the sugars by boiling all of the LME in earlier batches. I'm not sure that it's necessarily affected the taste, but each of my previous beers has been darker than expected (not that that will matter with a porter, though). Moreover, I remember reading somewhere that limiting the amount of LME in the boil can help with hop utilization so that'll be a bonus.

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