Accretion Porter

My oatmeal stout is popular–and so it is just about all gone, thanks to the able efforts of many friends and family members. I do like to have a “dark beer” on tap at all times, though, so it’s time for another brew. I had thought about doing a “session porter,” but thought instead I’d use up a bunch of ingredients and go for something a little bigger instead. I haven’t done a robust porter in awhile, so that seemed like a good style to aim for.

In formulating this recipe, I had a two things in mind. Firstly, I wanted/needed to use up a bunch of ingredients. Secondly, I wanted a rich and complex brew. The intersection of these two sets brought in a ton of dark grains–pale chocolate malt, roasted barley, de-bittered black malt, and black patent malt, along with a healthy dose of honey malt and dark crystal malt to bring some rich caramel characteristics. I was okay with having a high percentage of ultra-dark grains, because I felt the beer would need some of that to balance out any sweetness from the honey and crystal malts. I elected to use WLP002 (English Ale yeast), because I had a culture of that in the fridge. Plus, I figured that would add a nice complex and fruity dimension to the beer.

Thus, Accretion Porter was born! The name references the geological process by which some landmasses are formed–successive addition of a random smattering of crust–that mimics the assembly of the grain bill.

Accretion Porter

  • 9.5 lbs. Maris Otter (pale malt)
  • 1 lb. honey malt
  • 0.75 lb. crystal dark malt (77°L, Crisp)
  • 0.5 lb. flaked barley
  • 7 oz. pale chocolate malt
  • 4.4 oz. roasted barley
  • 4 oz. de-bittered black malt
  • 2 oz. black (patent) malt
  • 0.84 oz. Northern Brewer hops pellets (9.9% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Cascade hops (whole; est. 4% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Cascade hops (whole; est. 4% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. English ale yeast (White Labs WLP002), prepared in 1.5L starter.
Procedure
  • A day in advance, prepared a 1.5L starter of the yeast, which I had cultured previously. Because I don’t know when I’ll next get a chance to use this strain, I elected not to overbuild the starter.
  • I mashed in with 4.5 gallons of water at 168.5°, to hit a mash temperature of 155.5°. After 50 minutes, I added 0.75 gallons of water at 200°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. I added another 3.5 gallons of water at 180°, which raised the mash bed to 165.5°. I let this sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the remainder of the wort. In total, this was 6.9 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.048, for 70% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, and added the hops and Irish moss at the indicated schedule.
  • After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort to 76°.
  • 5.1 gallons of wort went into the fermenter, with a starting gravity of 1.058. I am starting fermentation at ambient temperature (65°), and will move it into the fermentation chamber within 24 hours, for a fermentation temperature of 66°.
  • I brewed the beer on 19 March 2016.
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