Friday, 27 February 2009

Let's brew Porter!

I can hear Mike's groans. Yet more homebrewing shit. But, after the responses to my questions posting more recipes, it genuinely is by popular demand.

Barclay Perkins EI seems a good place to start, seeing as how I've already mentioned it this week. And one of you requested it specifically. This recipe is a sort of test. Mostly of my ability to rescale the details from a brewing log. Let's put the change in scale into perspective. The original batch was 1,451 barrels. Being honest, I'm not sure if the water volumes are correct. Feel free to pick holes in any aspect of the recipe.

[I've corrected the temperature of the 3rd mash which was incorrect in the intial version of this post.]

There are several details missing from the original log: mashing times, boil time, hop additions. I've made an educated guess on what these were likely to have been, based on brewing manuals of the period.

Hitchcock suggested beginning with a relatively low temperature for the first mash, 160 to 163º F, "the object being to go so low as to prevent acidity in the wort". The mash was left to stand between 1.5 to two hours, depending on the weather. The hotter it was, the shorter the time stood. (Source: "A Practical Treatise on Brewing" by Thomas Hitchcock, London, 1842, page 47.)

The second mash was at 170 to 178º F, again left to stand for 1.5 to 2 hours. The third mash was at 184 to 186º F, left to stand for 45 minutes. (Source: "A Practical Treatise on Brewing" by Thomas Hitchcock, London, 1842, page 47.)

Barclay Perkins were still mashing their Porters three times in 1849, though the process varied for different beers. TT, their standard Porter was mashed twice, then sparged once. The strong Stouts BSt and IBSt were mashed 3 times and sparge 3 times. The others, EI, Hhd and FSt were mashed three times and sparged once or twice for a return wort.

Roberts recommended splitting the hops into two equal halves, adding the first to the wort at the start of the boil, the second after forty minutes. In total, the wort was boiled briskly for 65 minutes. (Source: "The British Wine-Maker and Domestic Brewer" by WH Roberts, Edinburgh, 1835 page 281.)

As I said before, feel free to comment on the recipe. I don't really know what I'm doing. Any help will be much appreciated.


Oblivious said...

I was going to do the Whitbread London porter again but the Barclay Perkins EI has gotten my attenuation

Ron is the gallons imperial or US? An are you sure the O.G is right as on my system I would need to be hitting 95%+ extraction to hit the O.G?

MentalDental said...

Now it may just be me being stupid (quite normal) but some of the water temps seem to be wrong.

Mash 1 at 159 = tap temp 148.5. OK!
Mash 2 178 = tap temp 160. OK!
Sparge 149 Lower than mash temp so temp must fall.
Mash 3 162 = tap temp 173! It's a miracle, we have created energy. The world's problems are sorted!
Sparge 149.

Mash 1 & 2 seem about right with a reasonable fall from water temp to tap temp but in mash 3 the temperature increases above the both of the grains currently in the MT and the new mash water.

1. Am I missing something?
2. Is there an error in the log?
3. Has Ron made a mistake? (Surely not possible?)

Looks like an interesting recipe though. I will give this one a go.

Ron Pattinson said...

Oblivious, all measures are imperial. I've just noticed that the EI brew had a very high extract of 99.3 brewers pounds per quarter. Between 75 and 80 would have been more typical. So it could well need another 20% malt. Would a total of 12.5 pounds give the right gravity at a homebrewing level of efficiency?

MentalDental, I think there's a typo somewhere. The 3rd mash should probably be at 192 not 172.

Bill in Oregon said...

Ron, I've been workimg on the 1865 EI from a few days ago (as opposed to the 1845 you list here) and was wondering about hopping rates, but the info from Roberts and Jim's numbers about hop deterioration put the IBU's in a reasonable range.

I had assumed 4% Goldings, but Jim's math puts the alpha down closer to 2.3% because of the age. I had come up with 6.5oz of hops for a 5 US gallon recipe. If we use Roberts hopping rates and schedule (50% at the beginning of the boil and 50% 40 minutes later with a total boil of 65 minutes), we end up with 33IBU's from the first addition and 12 from the second for a total of 45.

From my modern Pacific NW homebrewer mentality, that seems a reasonable hop bitterness for a 1061 porter. That's still pretty bitter by modern Porter standards and would have enough bitterness to justify the "India" label. (I assume it's safe to say that India meant higher hopped as opposed to stronger than average).

As for grain efficiency, I normally just look at the grain percentages and target OG and adjust accordingly. Most homebrewers that I know get between 65-85% efficiency on their systems. Many homebrew recipes assume 75% efficiency from a pound of grain.

Great stuff as always. Thanks for your insights.

Gary Gillman said...

If you Ron or anyone is minded as these beers come out due to this valuable work to give a taste note with a modern comparison I (and many readers I think) would find that of great interest.

Maybe it will be, "gosh this export porter of 1845 is miles different than Singha (Lion) Stout or Guinness FES of today, three times as bitter with a fine winey overlay. Or maybe it would be, "a very fine beer which could be a copy of that Sinebryhoff Porter I had the other week".

Otherwise it is difficult - from a subjective taste standpoint - to sense the significance of the older approaches. And I know that malts have changed and hops, etc. but still these comparisons are valid in my view.

I will always remember that exchange reported by a Durden Circle member when he offered casually a circa-1914 porter to an elderly lady in the 1970's. She had been in service during the First War but the Durden member was simply being hospitable, and in an attempt to explain the drink he said, "Oh it's like a Guinnness". She took one sip and rejoinded, "No it's not, it's London Porter".

I love that story.


Artist formerly known as Wurst said...

Yeah, something isn't quite right somewhere. What the hell is going on?? Hop additions look a tad on the high end.

Oblivious said...

Wurst 4-5oz per 22liter is about right for some of these old porters, nice!

Ron Pattinson said...

Remember this was an Export beer. Probably aged in vats for a while, then shipped to India (if that's what EI really stands for). That would wear off a fair bit of the hops.

rabbi lionheart said...

Could anyone shed some light on the advantage of a second mash at 178 F? It was my (limited) understanding that a temp that high would denature the enzymes(I think). Am I crazy? I don't doubt that the brewery knew what they were doing, but I'm a little confused by their methods. Is there also a chance that the thermometers of those days were less accurate than the ones we have? Or, is 178 the strike temp of that mash? That thought just occurred to me.

Ron Pattinson said...

rabbi lionheart, those are striking temperatures. Unfortunately, BArclay Perkins only give the striking heat and the "taps" heat, that is the temperature of the wort drawn off at the end of the mash. They don't give the initial heat.

Jim Johanssen said...

Bill - Caution > The hop estimate was for Whitbread beers that used one and two year old hops!

Ron - What do you think they used for Hops, Fresh and/or Old Hops in this?
Method of storage - Temp. and Bale compaction tight/lose? This would help in my WAG estimate.

I have a speadsheet to kickout an estimate with.


Ron Pattinson said...

The temperatures for the 3rd mash were wrong and I've corrected them.

Jim, the hops were all 1849 vintage. Usually hops were stored cool in compacted bales. It's unusual for a beer of this date to have all fresh hops, It's probably a sign that it's intended for long keeping.

Jim Johanssen said...

I finally have my guestimate for the hopping rate for the 1849 Porter. I estimate 3.5% Alpha with a 4% Alpha starting point and 60 day +/- old hops @ 56F, tight packing. This gives me a 71-72 IBU in a five gallon batch. A starting point of 5% Alpha, I get 4.6% Alpha and get 94 IBU. Pick your poison!

The 71 IBU version for a keeping beer and a 94 IBU version to mix with a running beer, like a Mild?