Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Porter

My posts have been far too infrequent these past 6 months or so, but school and work has really taken its toll on my hobbies.  I haven't gotten around to writing about brewing too much lately, as Ive been burned out writing journal articles lately.  That aside, I have been brewing here and there.  This batch was part of a double brewday (a lot more common lately) Ive found that to do two batches really only takes me about another 1.5hr more than a single batch.  These two batches (IPA, porter) are what I'm planning on having on-tap for Thanksgiving (lots of family coming in)  In that respect both batches while somewhat adhering to my tastes have been altered ever so slightly for the masses.

A favorite style of mine has always been brown porter.  It has always seemed smoother and more approachable for me than any other type of porter or stout. It also happens to be a favorite beer of mine for turkey day!  However, this year instead of the normal malty brown porter I decided to brew something I know a few friends will really like....A pumpkin porter!

Ive never been one to use many spices in beers but there are times when they work well.  All too often in the case of pumpkin beers though I think homebrewers/breweries make their beers either too big, too sweet, or too heavily spiced.  It also seems very common to see pale pumpkin pied spiced beers, which to me never quite seems to work as well as something dark and slightly roasty.  There's a local brewery around here which I used to frequent quite often that at one time made an outstanding pumpkin porter. I dunno it it has been their attempts to rapidly expand or if my tastes that have changed, but I find that very few of their beers, and especially the pumpkin porter just don't measure up any more.

I'm hoping with this beer to make something that my family and friends (who loved that porter) can really appreciate.   I'm sticking with a bready/sweet base malt (MO) and rounding out the chocolately flavors with a roasted grain Ive been hooked on the past year or so (Boricha).  Honestly I have never tasted the kind of chocolate flavors in a beer that I get from using Korean roasted barley tea (boricha) especially the Assi Brand from Rhee brothers. Ive used it previously in a porter and a chocolate saison (review coming soon) and the flavor is amazing.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to find that brand this time.  Ive used others in the past but they just don't provide the same level of chocolate flavor.  Because I couldn't find the Assi brand I decided to use two different teas for complexity. In the picture to the left you can see that they were roasted to quite different colors, and one was puffed (Japanese - Mugicha)

One thing that I did in this beer that I normally don't bother with was salt additions to balance the water chemistry.  Ive never been 100% happy with the maltiness in my porters, and when brewing this beer I though what the hell, why not toss in some salts to balance the acid of the roasted grains, and to tip the sulfate/chloride ratio towards the malt.  I probably helped that I found a new online water calculator as well, one I like much better than beersmith's. Hopefully this will help put the maltiness and balance of this beer over the top.

Pumpkin Porter
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
6.0Marris Otter (Fawcett)
1.0Crystal 40L
0.75Boricha Tea (Korean)
0.5Mugicha Tea (Japanese)
0.5Flaked Oats
Amt (oz)TypeTime
1.5Fuggles (4.3%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.8qt/lb15min - vorlauf
Misc1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice @ KO (recipe in notes)
YeastLondon ESB WY1968 (500mL Starter)
87% effIBU20
6.5gal BoilFG
Notes: Pumpkin Pie Spice - 2Tbsp Roasted Saigon Cinnamon, 1.5tsp Ginger, 2tsp Nutmeg, 1tsp Allspice, 1tsp Clove


graymoment said...

I'd be interested in hearing more about the use of Korean roasted barley tea to obtain a chocolate flavor in your beer. I've never ever heard of that, and can't really imagine it, to be honest (although I'm not familiar with the tea you mention). You get a better chocolate flavor than by using chocolate or cocoa nibs?

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