It’s at this time of year that I tend to get overwhelmed by the number of lighter summer beers that I brew and begin wanting something darker and maltier to contrast with them, a porter recipe I have been working on fits the bill nicely. After the hoppier and crisper beers that I have brewed recently I end up neglecting the darker more robust beers and this starts me off thinking about brewing something a bit more complex and for this recipe adding some fruit.
Experimenting with The Porter Recipe
I have always loved Porters and it’s not a beer you can readily get when you walk into a pub in my town so it’s always nice brewing one. The other great thing is although I don’t really brew to style, porters do cover a whole range of flavours and strengths from Robust to Baltic or Imperial.
It really opens up a whole load of possibilities when it comes to designing a recipe. One thing I have noticed a lot of is fruit porters and it seems the style is perfectly suited to a variety of fruits. In particular though, dark fruits like plums and dark berries seem to fit in with the flavour profile of dark beers really well.
The one thing I have to hand is blackberries which grow in abundance right outside my house. I collect a whole load every year, clean them and sort them and then they go straight into the freezer so I have a supply all throughout the year. The flavour of blackberries, especially ones you forage yourself can vary depending on the plant you pick from, the weather that year and how ripe they are so adding them whole can be a bit hit and miss. I don’t think they will add a whole load of flavour and may get lost in the bold, malty flavour of the porter, which is why I have a plan to make them a bigger and bolder part of the beer.
The Porter Plan
My intention is to split my porter recipe into 2 and ferment each half separately. One will be a regular robust porter and have no additions and the other will have a concentrated blackberry syrup created by boiling the blackberries in a little water until they breakdown and reduce by half. It is with this concentrated syrup that I hope to pack a whole load of flavour in a relatively small addition to the fermenter. This means less beer is wasted as would be the case if you add large amounts of fruit to the fermenter.
The reason for splitting the batch is because I don’t really want a whole load of fruit beer and it means I can get 2 different beers out of one brew day. If you wanted to you could add fruit to the whole batch but that does mean I’ll have a large amount of a fruit beer, which for some reason I tend to drink less of. I don’t really want it hanging around for too long as I think the flavour of the blackberries will be better the fresher the beer is. I am a big fan of small batch brewing too so just halving the recipe is another option.
The Porter Recipe
2 x Porter Plan - Robust Porter ================================================================================ Batch Size: 18.890 L Boil Size: 21.729 L Boil Time: 60.000 min Efficiency: 70% OG: 1.055 FG: 1.014 ABV: 5.4% Bitterness: 30.5 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 28 SRM (Morey) Fermentables ================================================================================ Name Type Amount Mashed Late Yield Color Pale Malt (2 Row) UK Grain 4.250 kg Yes No 78% 3 L Munich Malt Grain 400.000 g Yes No 80% 9 L Chocolate Malt (UK) Grain 300.000 g Yes No 73% 450 L Special B Malt Grain 80.000 g Yes No 65% 160 L Total grain: 5.030 kg Hops ================================================================================ Name Alpha Amount Use Time Form IBU First Gold 7.5% 30.000 g Boil 60.000 min Leaf 23.4 First Gold 7.5% 25.000 g Boil 10.000 min Leaf 7.1 Yeast ================================================================================ Name Type Form Amount Stage Safale S-04 Ale Dry 11.000 g Primary Mash ================================================================================ Name Type Amount Temp Target Time Infusion 11.472 L 74.833 C 67.000 C 60.000 min Final Batch Sparge Infusion 15.714 L 81.679 C 74.000 C 15.000 min
Malt:Like always I want the recipe to be fairly simple but have large amounts of flavour to balance out the fruit in one half of the beer. With a Porter you can go one or two ways by either choosing darker more bitter malts or less roasted and more caramel malts. I have chosen a more toffee like grain bill to balance out the fruit rather than bitterness. Special B is a fairly dark caramel malt and I happen to have some left over from another beer. I think the chewy toffee character it will gove should work really well in this Porter.
Hops: For the hops I have again just balanced out the malt rather than gone for any hop aroma that will likely clash with the fruit so gone with good old English hops to provide bitterness.
Yeast: is a packet of dry S-04 which I have handy anyway.