October 31, 2012

Mesquite Porter

After what feels like a long absence from brewing, it's time to get another brew going. Today's brew is a tasty porter with the addition of the mesquite molasses I made here last week. I'm excited about this brew for several reasons. I'm curious to see how the mesquite adds (or detracts) from the beer. It's also my first attempt at using an english yeast strain. I'm also trying to move back into paying more attention to the water so this is my first beer in a long time that I am trying to completely build up from scratch. Well, without further blabber, let's get into the beer.

Recipe Concept

My initial concept for the porter was born from an idea of a recipe modification for two amigos in Colorado who were trying to put together a hazelnut porter. I liked the idea of the modification (you can find it here) and blended the idea with the porter recipe that won at the NHC this year, which wasn't too far off the modification I started with. Since I had acquired the mesquite pods earlier in the year I wanted to go ahead and use them on a beer that would complement the caramel/chocolate/coffee/vanilla/cinnamon flavors. I think the recipe is good on its own but the mesquite molasses just gives it that unique edge.

I don't like hoppy porters, so I just went with a basic EKG bittering and flavor addition to balance the beer and give it a hint of that softer EKG flavor. I definitely didn't think the hops would add any flavor to the mesquite molasses and would probably overshadow some of the finer aromas from it.

Although I have brewed porters in the past with very neutral strains, I went with an English strain to get a little authentic feel to the beer. English strains are picky about the temperature and will produce a lot of unwanted esters as the temperature approaches the upper 60s and beyond. Not everybody seems to be a fan of the esters in English beers. I don't necessarily blame them; the ester production from some English strains can be overly fruity and unpleasant, unlike Belgian or French strains that are usually sought for their expressive ester character. For this beer, I want to keep temperature down around 63F to keep the beer relatively clean with just a hint of fruity character.

The Water

For the water I began with distilled water and built up using the standard brewing salts. I sought a water profile similar to London, although porter is a forgiving style when it comes to water because the dark grains will help keep ph down. I only made mash additions to reach these figures (in ppm):

  • Calcium: 53
  • Magnesium: 12
  • Sodium: 54
  • Chloride: 40
  • Sulfate: 52
  • Alkalinity: 125
  • Residual Alkalinity: 217
  • Chloride:Sulfate: 0.78

The Recipe

Recipe size: 2.5 gallons
Est. OG: 1.055
Est. FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.23%
IBU: 25.5
SRM: 25.1
BU/SG: 0.463

Grist:
3lb Marris Otter
4oz Crystal 80L
4oz Crystal 40L
4oz Chocolate malt
4oz Flaked barley
1oz Flaked oats

Mash:
Mash water: 1.45 gallons
Salt additions:
  • Chalk: 2 grams
  • Epsom salt: 2 grams
  • Baking soda: 1.5 grams
  • Kosher salt: 1 gram
Dough-in at 166F
Mash 154F for 60 minutes

Batch sparge with 2.52 gallons at 178F

Boil:
60 minute boil
0.60oz EKG at 60 minutes
0.25oz EKG at 15 minutes
Mesquite Molasses (from 1lb of pods) at 10 minutes

Fermentation:
Pitch S-04 1 dry pouch at 63F
Ferment four days at 63F
Continue at room temperature for ten days
Bottle carbonate to 2.1 vol (1.77oz priming sugar)
Bottle condition three weeks at room temperature

Brewday Notes:

Efficient brew day; checked mash ph and was a little high, adjusted to 5.3 with acid addition.

Attempting to dry some spent grain in the oven to reduce the moisture content and improve quality of spent grain bread. Also ran off an extra gallon of wort for yeast project.

Airlock bubbling began about six hours after pitching.

11/2/12 - Increased fermentation temperature from 61-62F to 64F. Will increase to 66F on 11/4/12.

Hopefully the beer comes together nicely and the mesquite pods deliver. I have another beer planned for the mesquite pods that will be a truly interesting blend but I will have to see how this turns out first...

Tasting notes on 1/18/13

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