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

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.
  • 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.