Grim’s Porter

porter

The porter is one of those styles of beer that I think every homebrew should have dialed in.  From the humble porter, small adjustments can be made to create other styles of beer.  Want something a little more hearty, a touch of roast barley and some more 2 row will give you a stout.  Want something reminiscent of a campfire, smoked porter here we come with just a little bit of smoked malt.  The porter is also a very old style of beer, being brewed originally in London for the working class in the 1800s.  So how do we get a good porter recipe?  Just like every other recipe that you create it’s all about repetition and small adjustments.  This porter recipe is a straight forward beer that fits well into BJCP Category 20A

The name of this beer comes from the Church Grim which is a black dog that is the protector of the souls buried in a church’s cemetery.  This beer is dark as night and will guard off the cold on an autumn night, fitting name in my opinion.  As always the hop additions shown assume that you are making a 5.5 gallon batch.

As always this beer was created to be a base beer and can be tweaked in a ton of different ways.  Alone this beer is a stand out American (or Robust) Porter but if you add a little smoked malt to it, this will be a campfire in a glass.  Our homebrew club recently had a beer festival where we poured this exact porter through a randall that contained toasted coconut.  It ended up tasting like an Almond Joy candy bar!  Another variant that I’ve done was adding peppermint extract to the keg for a peppermint beer right in time for the holidays!  If you do this, just make sure that you start adding the peppermint VERY slowly because it can become a very dominant flavor very quickly!  I would recommend increasing this up to an 8 gallon batch (the hop additions then become 1 oz each) and then break the batch up into 2 carboys, 5.5 gallons in one and 2.5 gallons in the other.  This way you can adjust the smaller batch however you want with any other additions post fermentation.  The combinations are honestly endless here; raspberry, cherry, peppermint, coconut, anything that would go well with chocolate is a good starting point!

Style Guideline Statistics:

  • IBUs : 25– 50
  • SRM: 22 – 40
  • OG: 1.050 – 1.070
  • FG: 1.012 – 1.018
  • ABV: 4.8% – 6.5%

Targets:

  • IBUs : 35
  • SRM : 35
  • OG : 1.065
  • FG : 1.016
  • ABV : 6.5%

Ingredients:

  • 75% US 2-Row
  • 7% Crystal 40L
  • 7% Chocolate Malt
  • 5% Oats
  • 4% Black Patent Malt
  • 2% Roasted Barley
  • 0.7 oz  – Cascade (6.9% AA) – 60 min
  • 0.7 oz  – Northern Brewer (9.8 % AA) – 60 min
  • White Labs WLP-001 California Ale Yeast
  • Irish Moss

Process:

  • Mash at 154 °F for 60 minutes
  • Mash out at 165 °F for 10 minutes
  • Vorlauf and sparge for 20 minutes
  • Boil 60 minutes
  • Chill wort and ferment at 65 °F for 7 days
  • Keg and carbonate to 2.5 vols CO2

Tasting Review:

Aroma 

Big dark chocolate and light coffee notes, no esters or phenols.  No hop aroma.

Appearance 

Very dark brown, nearly black.  Tan head that is more of a foam than individual bubbles.  Clarity is good but the dark color doesn’t highlight the clarity all that much.  

Flavor 

Chocolatey caramel sweetness in the first third and more prevalent as the beer warms up.  A solid bitterness to support the big malt flavors.  Slight biscuity note.  Slight toasted note, like very dark bread crusts that may be perceived as a bitter note.

Mouthfeel 

A mouth-coating beer that finishes dry from the bitterness.  Medium body with moderate carbonation.  

Overall 

A fantastic american robust porter with solid chocolate/toffee notes.  Moderate flavors all around that are in balance with a toasted note from the touch of roasted barley.  Best after 4 weeks of age on the beer from date of kegging to help mellow the roasted flavors.