Smoke Me A Kipper — Robust Smoked Porter

So a few months ago I was helping to run the first UK Grainfather competition at Beer Torrent in Leamington Spa. One of the key features of the competition was that rather than people just sending in their beers they would be able to come in and brew their entry on the Grainfather and as a result of that we’d be able to share some beers with brewers from around the UK.

I decided that I wanted to brew a beer specially for the event to let these brewers try. Sadly, I’m lazy and I didn’t get it ready in time so I ended up taking my no chill IPA instead (which went down well).

You can see me make a brief appearance on the BBC talking about homebrewing at the competition here; https://twitter.com/BeerTorrent/status/791371652462440448

Anyway, back to this beer!

I’m a big fan of a porter. I think it’s one of my favourite styles of beer at the moment. Much more drinkable than a stout and full of flavour without any of the burnt or acrid flavours that you occasionally get in dark beers. I’m also a big fan of smoked malts. Used badly they give that horrible phenolic flavour that resembles plasters but used well they give a nice subtle layer. That being said I really like the smoke to stand out so subtlety isn’t always my go to with smoked malts.

So for this beer I went for;

OG: 1.079

FG: 1.020

ABV: 7.74%

Grains

4.9kg Pale Malt

1.22kg Smoked Wheat Malt

0.78kg Brown Malt

0.68kg Crystal 120L

0.31kg Chocolate malt

Hops

38g Magnum @ 60 minutes

20g Fuggles @ 10 minutes

Mash at 67C for 60 minutes, mash out at 75C for 10 minutes and ferment for 10 days at 21C with 10g of Mangrove Jack’s M36 Liberty Bell yeast.

Tasting Notes

I have to start by saying this is one of my favourite beers that I have done. I will definitely be making this again! I poured one beer from the keg to take the blog photo and write the tasting notes and ended up having three. I would describe it as dangerously drinkable for the ABV!

Aroma — Chocolate! Very chocolate! A little bit of coffee with a slightly earthy hop character.

Appearance — Approaching black with red/brown tints. Opaque with a big tan head that recedes fairly quickly but what is left retains until the end.

Flavour — Dry grain character, intense chocolate with a little bit of coffee. Boozy and nicely warming with a well balanced bitterness.

Mouthfeel — Medium bodied with slight alcohol warmth but no astringency.

Overall Impression — A big boozy chocolate explosion, full of flavour and well balanced with hop bitterness and a nice dry finish. My favourite porter to date.

Although I was using a high percentage of specialty malts (9.9% brown, 8.6% dark crystal and 3.9% chocolate) I didn’t do anything fancy with the mash. No sparging through the specialty malts or cold steeping the malts and adding that to the mash. I’m glad I didn’t because there’s no acrid or burnt flavours — just rich chocolate and subtle coffee. I think this will become my go to Porter recipe from now on. I might try and create a version scaled down to 4 or 5% and see how that tastes.

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