Olde Persica Porter 1.1

20170402_154913My homebrew club is serving at an upcoming regional festival, and I volunteered to provide a keg of beer. In order to highlight the stuff our group of brewers is doing, I figured something outside of the ordinary (i.e., a generic American IPA or whatever) would be best. What better than a smoked porter?

A few months back, I made a smoked porter that turned out pretty darned delicious (in fact, it was one of my favorite beers of 2016). So, it was an easy decision to bring that recipe back! Once again, I’m using the peachwood smoked malt from Copper Fox–it’s really delicious stuff. Try it out if you can! Otherwise, I made a few very small tweaks for ingredients–in particular, I made some minor adjustments to use up a half ounce of Willamette hop pellets, and I also used dry yeast instead of liquid because I didn’t quite have time this past week to spool up a starter.

Olde Persica Porter 1.1

  • 7 lbs. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 3 lbs. peach wood smoked 2-row malt (Copper Fox Distillery)
  • 1 lb. 80° crystal malt
  • 1 lb. 40° crystal malt
  • 0.5 lb. black (patent) malt
  • 0.5 lb. chocolate malt
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.8 oz. Willamette hop pellets (5.1% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Willamette hop pellets (4.1% alpha), 5 minute steep/whirlpool after flame-out
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • Safale American ale yeast (US-05), 1 package

Target Parameters

  • 1.065 o.g., 1.017 f.g., 6.3% abv, 37 IBU, 36 SRM, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter

Procedure

  • I added 4.3 gallons of water at 172°, and let it cool until it hit 166.5°. This was a little below my target (I got distracted by some other tasks in the brewery), so the mash temperature only hit 154°. Thus, I added 1 quart of boiling water to hit 154.5°. The mash was only down to 153° after an hour.
  • After 60 minutes of mashing, I collected the first runnings and then added 4 gallons of water at 190°, to hit a mash out temperature of 169°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • Altogether, I collected 6.25 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.052, for a mash efficiency of 69%. I’m not entirely sure why I was a bit below my target–maybe a volumetric issue when measuring out the mash and sparge water?
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, and added hops and other stuff per the schedule. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort to 75°. Just to see if the whole Cascade hops would create enough of a filter to keep the pelletized gunk out, I left the hop pellets loose rather than bagging them or using my hop spider. That was a mistake! The kettle screen ended up clogged, and I only got about 4 gallons into the fermenter. This lessened volume is OK in my view, because past experience shows that we generally use only 2-3 gallons of a typical beer during a typical festival pour.
  • After transferring to the fermenter, I pitched the yeast. Starting gravity is 1.061. I will be fermenting at 67°.
  • This beer was brewed on 1 April 2017, with vigorous fermentation underway within less than 24 hours.
  • Update: Final gravity was 1.018 on 23 April 2017, which works out to 5.5% abv.

Beer Tasting: Olde Persica Porter

Sometimes you make a beer that just nails it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does…wow! Olde Persica Porter is one of those beers.

  • 20161207_201748The Basics
    • Original gravity = 1.060, final gravity = 1.016, abv = 5.8%, estimated IBU = 37
  • Aroma
    • Smoky and rich, really nicely balanced. The smokiness has subsided a bit since first sampling a few weeks back, but is still quite pleasant. It’s hard to find the exact words for the smoke character, but it’s about spot-on for what I like in a beer.
  • Appearance
    • Brown head with decent retention; deep, chocolate brown beer, with decent clarity.
  • Flavor
    • The malts are wonderfully at the centerpiece of this beer. A moderate smokiness, roastiness, and slight hint of chocolate combine into something incredibly tasty.
  • Mouthfeel
    • This beer has a moderate body, and a smooth finish. Carbonation is right about perfect.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • In a heartbeat! This ranks up there as probably one of the best beers I have ever made. The smokiness and overall body combine beautifully in this one. A week or so back I was thinking I needed to up the smoked malt percentage (as the smoke character faded over time), but now I’m not so convinced of that. I’ll keep it as is (although might adjust my boil slightly to achieve a slightly greater final gravity). This is one of those beers made for a cold night in front of the fire, and I’ve done exactly that.
  • Overall
    • 10/10

Update: Olde Persica Porter

My smoked porter has been in the primary fermenter for 13 days, coasting along at around 66°. So, I kegged it tonight. Final gravity was 1.016, down from 1.060, for 5.8% abv. The aroma and flavor are pretty darned delicious! The level of smokiness is just about perfect for my palate, too. Everything is carbonating and conditioning now at 40°.

Olde Persica Porter

I’m getting that itch again, to brew with new styles and new ingredients. With winter on the horizon, I want to stock up on some beers that will serve well on a chilly night next to the fire. I also recently realized I haven’t brewed with smoked malt before. So, a smoked porter seemed like just the thing to try.

In assembling the recipe, I drew heavily upon an Alaskan Smoked Porter clone from the American Homebrewers Association website. This was augmented with a Smoked Robust Porter recipe, also from AHA. Because I wanted this to be a fairly rich base porter that would stand up to the smoke, I elected to go with Vienna malt for the majority of the grist. Conveniently, I also have a decent bit still in stock. To add an American emphasis, I’m going to use whole Cascade hops from South Dakota as the bittering hops, with a charge of Willamette at the very end.

Once I got to the homebrew shop, I discovered that they had several different kinds of smoked malt in stock. I had been planning on using a beechwood-smoked rauch malt, but the owners suggested trying a peachwood-smoked malt instead. I was intrigued!

The malt itself is from Copper Fox Distillery, a Virginia-based operation that specializes in small-batch whiskeys and such. They have also started a brew malt operation, with a handful of products. Because the maltster is so new and so small, it is very difficult to find any specific information on the malts. Their website didn’t have any real information, but Southern Hills Homebrew Supply did. I also learned a bit in chatting with a local person who is helping to distribute Copper Fox malts in California. The bottom line is that this is a floor malted, smoked 2-row barley malt. The aroma and flavor profile are supposed to be a bit gentler than in traditional beechwood-smoked malt. Based on what I tasted and smelled during the brew, this very much seems to be the case. The aroma is delightfully aromatic and smoky, but the flavor in the wort is not at all overpowering.

As for the name of this recipe? Well, because I am using peach wood malt, I wanted to honor peaches. The scientific name for a peach is Prunus persica, reflecting its close kinship with plums (and thus prunes) as well as the fact that domesticated peaches entered Europe via Persia. However, peaches themselves have a deeper origin in China; the oldest fossil peaches clock in at around 2.6 million years old. As a frame of reference, our genus Homo was just getting started around that time, and the modern Homo sapiens was still 2.4 million years away!

Olde Persica Porter, just into the primary fermenter

Olde Persica Porter, just into the primary fermenter

Olde Persica Porter

  • 7 lbs. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 3 lbs. peach wood smoked 2-row malt (Copper Fox Distillery)
  • 1 lb. 80° crystal malt
  • 1 lb. 40° crystal malt
  • 0.5 lb. black (patent) malt
  • 0.5 lb. chocolate malt
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Willamette hop pellet (4.1% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Willamette hop pellet (4.1% alpha), 1 minute boil and 5 minute steep after flame-out
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 0.25 yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • White Labs California Ale yeast (WLP001)

Target Parameters

  • 1.065 o.g., 1.017 f.g., 6.3% abv, 37 IBU, 36 SRM, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter

Procedure

  • Five days before brewing, I made a 2L starter. After two days, I split the starter (to create a yeast culture with 100 billion cells for later), and cold crashed the remainder in the flask for pitching on brew day.
  • I mashed in with 4.3 gallons of water at 166.7°, to hit a mash temperature of 154.5°. After 60 minutes, the mash was down to 151°. At this point, I added 0.75 gallons of water at 165°, to raise the mash to 152°.
  • I let the mash rest for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. I then added 3.5 gallons of water at 175°, let everything sit for 10 minutes, and then collected the second runnings.
  • Altogether, I collected 6.75 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.054, for a mash efficiency of 77%.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, and added hops and other stuff per the schedule. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort to 80°. Our groundwater is still too warm to get much below that!
  • Starting gravity is 1.060. This is a bit below my target (1.065), most likely because I didn’t have the boil as vigorous as it usually is. I pitched the yeast, and will be fermenting at 68°.
  • This beer was brewed on 22 October 2016, with vigorous fermentation underway within 24 hours.

Beer Tasting: Accretion Porter

Porters are some of my favorites (especially during the fall through spring seasons), and seem to turn out well pretty consistently. Accretion Porter fits this trend. Details are below.

  • The Basicsaccretion_porter
    • Original gravity = 1.058; final gravity = 1.020; abv = 5.0%; estimated IBU = 41
  • Aroma
    • The aroma is exceptionally malty, with a grainy and roasty character to it., and a touch of coffee. Delicious!
  • Appearance
    • The beer is a deep, deep chocolate brown, with a light brown head that pours tall and settles down to a thin but persistant blanket over the beer.
  • Flavor
    • The roasty maltiness has a nice chocolate and coffee flavor. The hops have a gentle background flavor, with the slight herbal/woody component so classic for Northern Brewer.
  • Mouthfeel
    • This is a beer with moderate body and a smooth and pleasant, but moderately dry, finish. The carbonation is maybe a touch higher than I need (contributing to a perception of the beer being drier than it actually is).
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This is a pretty nice beer across the board; maybe a little drier and more carbonated than is needed, but the overall impression is exceptionally drinkable. I like this one!
  • Overall rating
    • 7.5/10