Friday, August 20, 2010

Collaborative Sin - A Robust Porter BA Group Brew

So a couple weeks ago I was contacted along with a small group of other BA'ers about possibly doing a group brew. The plan was to all brew up a particular style of beer, which would then be traded and a group tasting set up. A couple emails flew back and forth about the style, and honestly I wasn't that thrilled when we set on a robust porter.

However, as I drew up the recipe and after I brewed it I have since really come to like the idea of having this beer around and in trying the groups take on the style as well. Now I don't normally like big beers, so I kept to the lower end of the style for OG. I decided that I wanted to avoid using any black malt and would instead go about getting my color in a different route. There was a time when porters used something called essentia bina to get most of their color and a lot of their flavor. Essentia bina is made by taking the first runnings and heavily caramelizing the wort to the point it carbonizes and may catch fire. Now I didn't take it quite to this extreme but I did go pretty far.

I took the first ~1gal of runnings and reduced it to a volume of ~800mL (~260z). It was thick black gooey and formed a hard chunk when it cooled. I added a pic of the goo pre and post boil, as you can see it looks like oil after it was boiled down! It was amazingly sugary and added 2brix, roughly 70gravity points, to the wort when I added it back in. The flavor was a mix of chocolate, coffee, burnt sugar and butterscotch it was amazing! Ive boiled down a bit of the first runnings before, but I haven't ever took it to such a reduced volume.

I wasn't actually able to reduce the volume much after about 1hr boiling (checked several times) and steam had nearly ceased to come from the pot when I decided to quit. Hopefully this added an interesting dimension to the beer.

The rest of the recipe was basically a bigger version of a brown porter that I like to do in the fall. And in keeping with my trend of large amounts of hops, I used the lowest AA hop I had (crystal) to make sure I could get a ton of hops in the boil. Ive found that I really prefer the bitterness as its a bit smoother, and the head formation and retention is amazing! I did decide on one totally unknown, and that was using Wyeast London Ale 1028. Ive never used the yeast before, I love 1968 too much, but that that it might be a good fit. I think a minerally profile could work very well in this otherwise malty beer.

Collaborative Sin - aka Little Dark Cloud

Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)TypeAmt (lbs)Type
10.0Pilsner6.0X-Light DME (Late Extract Addition)
1.0Special Roast1.02-Row
0.5Chocolate Malt1.0Special Roast
0.25Carafa III Special0.5Chocolate Malt
--0.25Carafa III Special
Amt (oz)TypeTimeAmt (oz)TypeTime
4.0Crystal (3.3%)601.25Sterling (8.7%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.6qt/lb15min - vorlauf---
YeastLondon Ale WY1028 (1.2L Starter)
86% effIBU3775%IBU34
7gal BoilFG-3gal Late Extract--


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