Need Help To develop a Old english Porter

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Need Help To develop a Old english Porter

Postby lov2cook4u » Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:00 pm

Hello all, I am new to the forum and I am hoping so much that you guys can help. I brew all grain and have been brewing for years (I only like to brew all grain). But there is an elusive beer I just can not nail down. I brew porters all the time but can never get my porter to taste like a few "Old english porters" I have tasted. Here are the names I would like to clone. First , (I would galdly drink your yeast scum for a year if you can nail this for me!! :mrgreen: ) Harveys Tom paine Original old Porter, the second is just as good, Nethergate brewery Old growler, "A Traditional english Porter". Ok if you guys can hook me up with a recipes for a clone of one of these I would just sing to the beer gods often. If you have ever taste either of these then you know the taste I am after and after brewing close to 40 or so porters have never gotten it on my own.. so now I need you.. Thanks.. I will watching post ever minute... Scott
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Gimme some flavor descriptors...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:40 am

I have not had any of the brands you listed, but I've had many UK Porters. My all time favorite Porter is King & Barnes. But alas, that brewery is no longer in existance.

I can most likely help though. Give me a description of the flavors you are targeting. If you can, tell me what is different about the beers you listed from the other Porters that are commercially available that specifically appeals to you.

In my experience when attempting to brew traditional UK Porters a lot of brewers, both pro and home, over do the malt bill both in flavor and gravity. Remember that this region of the world prefers session beers, not malt monsters.

This also shows up in brewers attempts at Scottish ales. Most brewers, pros included, have no clue about authentically recreating the beers residing within this style. The resultant beer is usually more of a Barley Wine.

Having brewed in Scotland, I learned that the average range of alcohol in traditional Scottish ales ranges from 3.4% to 4.6%. Other than the odd specialty like Skull Splitter (Orkney: a non-traditional new brewer with great beer), the Scots simply don't produce or drink many heavy beers. The malt bills are simple, very seldom include cara malts, but rather depend upon kettle carmelization and NO... the traditional brewers DON'T use peated malt! Ask a Scottish brewer... they feel this has no business in beer as they view it inferior and just for products targeted for distillation. The malt bills are most often simply composed of pale malt & roasted barley for the 40 - 80 +/ ales. The other key is to ferment @ 60 deg. F. to complete attenuation. These ales are not supposed to be estery and target for a dry finish while still having a slight malt sweetness up front (that is where the kettle carmelization comes in). The hops are only to provide balance and usually only added once early in the boil.

I went through this example, even though it wasn't a Porter, to illustrate that sometimes knowledge of the proper approach comes from the consumer preferences where the style originated. I would suspect that possibly your difficulties in cloning what you want may be process variables combined with mis-applications of ingredients.

Respond with the flavor descriptors and meanwhile I'll research the brands you mentioned to glean info that might help your efforts.
Make your next beer (or spirit) a local one!!!!

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mis-applications of ingredients.

Postby lov2cook4u » Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:08 pm

Thanks so much Mesa for responding to my plea for help with this. What I am going to do is open one of my bottles of Harvey's Tomas Pain Porter tonight and sit here and try to nail down exactly what I love about that style. I think your right about the "mis-applications of ingredients". I feel that is where I am missing it. I think my grain bill is way off and Almost sure my hops are not right. I just don't know how to dial it in . I begin to say that I love the soft very low carbonation of the beer. The "Port" (as in wine port) flavor of it. I enjoy the raisin and plum taste. together with the biscuit and molasses type flavors. It almost has a hint of sweet in there but doesn't really show itself if your not really paying close attention. I will sit with the beer tonight and really get some good tasting notes to post. I think more what this style and taste does is transports me back to a medieval pub. so strange how this flavor just transcends time and space like that. Once I have had one of these styles of beer in a glass, so I can inspect color and just overall appearance. I always pour the second into a nice large clay tanker to enhance the experience. Ok I will stop as you can tell I have passion for this beer and hope to be able to brew one soon.

PS: I can tell you what I have been brewing that is missing the point in all this. First the porter seems to be more like an American porter. more dry, imperial stoutish. hopped up and just overall crisp. Not like the soft velvet flavors in these others I love... More to come when one of these beer are in my hand... Heck I would even mail you (don't tell the USPS) one of these beers if you can't get them in your area mesa? I can't get them here but I travel for work so I always pick up a bunch when I am in a city that has it... Scott
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Old Ale/Porter Hybrid?

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Sat Aug 27, 2005 2:56 pm

Wow... it really seems so far what you are describing is not a traditional UK Porter (regardless of the label) but rather a Porter that has been handled to produce a hybrid of flavors between a Porter and an Old Ale. If so, most of the rules for producing a Porter are off!

No wonder you've been having a hard time! In particular the sherry note is the revealing part. This is not expected in a true Porter as it would be via oxidation. Old Ales are one of the few styles in which this characteristic is not considered a flavor fault.

Let me know the rest of your flavor perceptions. I can most likely get you there, but you will have to age the beer at least a year to achieve the desired effect unless you are willing to do force conditioning. But, without accurate temperature control, it would be very hard to pull off force conditioning without ruining the beer. Are you patient enough to age the beer? If not, move onto brewing other styles and keep buying the commercial ones you like. At the pace the beer would develop, it would take many years to nail it to your preferences.
Make your next beer (or spirit) a local one!!!!

Eric Watson
Head Distiller & Brewer

Seven Fathoms Rum
Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Cayman Islands
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Mesa Maltworks
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Tasting notes....

Postby lov2cook4u » Sun Aug 28, 2005 12:06 pm

Ok here goes:
First the beer was poured and drank at temps between 55-60 F
We taste tested two beers, Harvey's Thomas Pain Porter and then Old Growler Porter.

Thomas Pain Porter:
Head when ported was about 1/4 inch and then shrank to about a 1/16 inch very fast but remained throughout.
Color was a coffee color. Pretty dark was unable to see through it when poured or when in the glass.
Aroma: Sweet prune and raisin with a hint of Molasses and bread dough. There was a deep rich undertone, more like coffee then chocolate.
Flavor: There a distinct separation of flavors. First there was a sweet fruit like flavor that consisted of prune/raisin/port wine and molasses. Second there appeared a smokey/burnt coffee flavor and a small hint of a nut flavor. It finished with a slow bitter flavor that lasted and created a coffee aftertaste. There was subtle sour flavor that was over ridden by the complexity of the other flavors.
Body: It was similar to the thick grape consistency of port or desert wine.
Carbonation: The carbonation was mainly in the head of the beer and not present in the body of the beer.

Old Growler:
Head: The head when poured was similar to that of the Thomas pain, although it was much creamer.
Color: It was just a shade lighter then say coca-cola. You were able to see through it on the pour, but once in the glass were not able to.
Aroma: There was a sweet smell of raisins. As well as a citrus smell present. also present there was a smell more like chocolate then coffee. As the beer warmed the sour smell became more present.
Flavor: there was a earthy dirt flavor that had a hint of oak. The earthly flavor consisted of molasses and prunes. There was a slight acid sour that also added to that earthy flavor of the beer. The flavor also consisted of a smokey flavor that melted into a bitter after taste. There was a high ETOH taste present that I find as a fault.
Body: was about the same as the Thomas Pain.
Carbonation: The carbonation was light much like the Thomas Pain.
Defects: To me the strong ETOH flavor in this beer detracted from the overall experience.

What I would like to see in my brew from these beers are this:
I like the strong raisin and prune presence both in the aroma and the flavor of the beers. I also like the earthy type flavors of molasses and the smokey coffee/chocolate. The bitter being in the end of the taste and not throughout the taste is highly preferred because it doesn't take from the complex flavors of the fruit and sweet. I also like the hint of bread dough/yeast. it kinda helps add to that "Old" flavor of the beer. The body in both these beers could be built up some. I found both these beers to be a little thin in the mouth. not much just alittle. the carbonation was just right. I really like the lack of carbonation but there wasn't a flatness about the beer at all. It really seemed the carbonation was contained in the head of the beer and you got that with every mouth full. The one defect I point out, high ETOH, flavor I could do without. ETOH content really means nothing to me in this beer. The recipe could be a session beer or a big beer I don't care. I just would like not to taste the ETOH. WOW thank you so much Mesa.. I await your response. I already have plans to buy two more (add to my 6 already) carboys to age this beer if need be. I have patience to wait if I can brew a beer like this. I also wanted to let you know I have pretty good control of temps between 55-75 F here where I brew. not sure if that helps with the conditioning you have in mind or not? I am not afraid of complex brewing techniques, just let me know what you think i should do.. Ok hope this is enough.. If you need something clarified just let me know. Take care Scott
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