Friday, December 9, 2011

Dark Night Porter

I'm retroactively creating a post in December for a beer I actually brewed in October.  Hope you'll forgive me :)

I was craving a nice sessionable porter for this winter, and I went into it looking for a few things:

1. I love that roasty/coffee aroma and flavor that you can get off bigger porters, something like Left Hand's Weak Sauce porter.
2. Wanted it around 5% alcohol, so that people can have a couple without getting hammered
3. Wanted it to finish somewhat sweet, to balance out the roast and coffee, but not 'heavy'. Again, looking for something sessionable, so it can't be cloying.
4. Not very hoppy, noble hops with just enough bite to balance the roast

Based on what I've read (since I have very little experience with Porters), I wanted to use roasted barley for the coffee, and chocolate malt for the color and sweetness.

I formulated the following recipe based on this:

9lb Pilsen malt (I have it on hand and prefer it to 2row)
1lb Chocolate
1lb Caramel 60
1lb Flaked Barley (for creaminess and head retention)
.5lb Roasted Barley

1oz Willamette 60min (4.9%)
.25oz Magnum 60min (13.7%) (have it left over, purely to increase the IBUs slightly)
1oz Fuggles 5min (4%)

Mash @ 151 degrees.

I brewed this up on 10/15/11, and I hit my numbers almost exactly.  It wound up having an original gravity of 1.054, and a final gravity of 1.015, allowing it to clock in at 5.1% ABV.  Perfect!

I kegged this beer on 11/04/11, and it's been on draft at the house for almost a month now.

My tasting notes:
Aroma:  Nice and roasty, hint of cofee - smells like a dark beer should smell
Appearance: Black body, nice creamy white head.  Love the way this beer looks.
Taste: Has a light roastyness, only a bit of the coffee I was looking for.
Mouthfeel: It's thinner than I wanted.  I don't have quite the thickness and general 'fullness' I wanted from this beer.
Overall: I'm pretty thrilled with this beer.  It's one of the smallest (alcohol wise) I've ever brewed, and it's very drinkable.  I'm going to need to mash this beer a bit higher next time, so that I wind up with a bit more residual sweetness and body.  Outside of that thinness, I highly recommend this beer for those of you that like a dark beer.

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