It took a while, but Amanda and I finally drank enough of the homebrew that’s been aging in my closet that I have bottling capacity to make another batch. It’s also (hopefully) beyond the warm summer temperatures for San Diego and the beer can bubble happily away.
This batch had a couple of goals: use chocolate, and try a new style of beer. I’d brewed a robust American-style porter before, and wanted to go with something more traditionally British, so I dug up a recipe for brown porter.
Using chocolate in a beer is nothing revolutionary. There are good commercial examples such as Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. It was new for me though and something that sounded delicious. Following advice online, I went with 6oz of dark chocolate and had it in the boil for 45 minutes. This allegedly helps dissipate the oil and therefore gives better head retention on the final beer. The chocolate smell really came through for the first few minutes after adding it to the boil. Tasting the unfermented malt drink (from the hydrometer tube) it didn’t come through as strong though. We’ll see how it ends up in the final product.
This beer also gives me the opportunity to try out some brewing with exotic woods. I did a test earlier this year and came up with several good candidates from my Maine Grilling Woods source. For this porter I chose to go with the Northern Nutwood, which had sweetness, caramel notes, and smokiness.
To prepare the 2oz of wood chips I put them in the toaster oven and toasted them about 5 times until they reached a medium brown. Unlike the bourbon taste test I decided to add them right to the primary fermenter. This will let them sit for 5 days with the beer while it’s at its most active state.
- Batch size: 5.5 gal
- Boil: 3.0 gal
- Starting gravity: 1.058
- 8 oz Crystal 60L
- 6 oz Crystal 120L
- 8 oz British Chocolate Malt
- 2 oz Black Malt
- 4 oz Carapils Malt
- 6.5 lb light malt extract
- 0.5 lb brown sugar
- 1.5 oz Cascade 7.5% AA for 60 min
- 0.5 oz Cascade 7.5% AA for 15 min
- 6 oz 72% chocolate (Trader Joe’s Dark) for 45 mins
- 1 tsp Irish moss for 10 mins
- White Labs London Ale Yeast WLP013
- 2 oz Northern Nutwood chips, medium toast (added to primary fermenter)
The Waiting Game
I just finished the batch this afternoon so it will be a couple weeks until bottling, and another couple weeks after that until tasting. I’ll post again when I have some tasting notes!