Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smoked, Oaked, and Mapled, a Porter

This beer started within seconds of smelling the cherry wood smoked malt from Briess. This malt hadn't been at my local home brew store before, but this day was different. The tub of grain almost opened itself for me to reveal its hidden secret; an unbelievable aroma permeated the room as if I was standing inside of a smoker. The smells of cherry wood, and cherry smoke instantly reminded me of carpentry, grilling, and being a man; this malt was all of that. Briess recommends that this malt can comprise up to 60% of the grist in the mash for darker styles of beers. I immediately began formulating a recipe in my head. The recipe would be for a bark colored beer with a billowing head rising from the glass as a portion of crystal malts uninhibited by its modest alcohol content gives the beer body and head retention. A traditionally flavored porter with a few twists as twisted as the surprise that was waiting for me inside that tub of malt.

To cut the smoked base malt I wanted to use maris otter for a more traditional English porter flavor and nuttier base. To layer in other toasted flavors I decided to add Victory, Special Roast, Black Patent, and Crystal 120 malts to emphasize the woody nature of this beer. Oak aging is appropriate for the style and will add another dimension to the beer. I also resolved to integrate maple syrup, for the sweetness, as well as the earthy flavor. Hopping a beer like this is an interesting challenge because the sweetness from the malt could easily get out of control but certain hop flavors would be out of place among the sweet malty tones and smoke. I've selected nugget because I believe it to have smooth earthy bittering that helps malts come forward as the dominant flavor.

(read more after the break)

The Recipe
1 lbs Cherry Wood Smoked Malt (4.0 SRM) 40 %
8.0 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) 20 %
2.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) 5 %
2.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) 5%
2.0 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) 5 %
2.0 oz Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) 5 %
0.05 oz Nugget [13 %] - Boil 60.0 min 11.4 IBUs
0.05 oz Nugget [13 %] - Boil 30.0 min 8.8 IBUs
4.0 oz Maple Syrup (35.0 SRM) - Boil 5.0 min 10 % 
1.0 pkg Danstar Nottingham
4.0 oz Maple Syrup (35.0 SRM) (Secondary) 10 %
0.10 oz Hungarian Oak Cubes (Secondary 15 days) 

Est Original Gravity: 1.066 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.4 %
Bitterness: 21.4 IBUs
Est Color: 37.5 SRM

BIAB, Full Body
Saccharification Add 6.5 qt of water @162.9 - 156.0 for 60 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 over 7 min - @ 168.0 for 10 min

I prepared this batch with all natural Meijer Brand Spring Water. I haven't tried the Black IPA but I am afraid of the metallic flavor from my porter could have been the water. I altered that variable, changed out all of the equipment and am using freshly ground malts. If the off flavor comes back in this brew it's something entirely different then the factors I thought it could be.

I am calling this one 'The Uncharted Forest' because of the contributions the woods will make, and my inexperience with the ingredients. Cherry wood for the rich smoke, house toast Hungarian oak cubes soaked in Wild Turkey Rye for oaky tannins, and two injections of maple syrup for sweet woodsy sugars.

Brewed on 9/7/11
Secondary on 9/15/11
Bottled on 10/5/11 tasted great; no noticeable maple though which saddened me, but maybe when it's carbonated I'll feel differently.

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