Tag Archives: Baltic Porter

Baltic Porter II – review

Last weekend Mikey had another brew day with a few tastes, one of which was a take two of the Baltic Porter, and it turned out quite well.

The beer was intentionally lower in carbonation, as per the style, which was quite nice, felt good to drink and was nice to look at.

Baltic Porter IIThe initial impressions of the smell were quite interesting.  There was a bit of banana and yeast up front, which may be a sign of the fermentation being a bit warm, but it wasn’t an off putting smell at least.  With the banana were hints of honey and a bit of apple too.  This all interacted very well.  The banana was a bit too up front, so if we try this again, I’d like to make sure the temperature is better controlled.

Body was interesting and creamy, but a little bit confused.  As a porter the beer should be a bit heavier, but there are a lot of lighter porters out there that are great.  This beer couldn’t seem to make up its mind exactly how and where it wanted to sit in your mouth: it was heavy and light at the same time.  This added an interesting, albeit a little confusing, element to the beer that I quite enjoyed.

In regards to taste, there was a little bit of sourness in there that I usually associate with a stout, but it seemed to work well here.  Fruit flavours continued throughout with a bit of sweetness as well.  There was some hop bitterness as well, but it was well hidden; it could have been the Warrior hops pushing through as it really sat in my mouth after awhile.  The hops were nice, but a little unexpected for the style.

All in all, this was a great beer.  A little confusing, but still nice to drink!

-Chas

 

 

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New and old, recipe and brewer mix up

Saturday brew day was a long one, nearly 5 hours. I wanted to have another crack at the Baltic Porter. Chas wasn’t available so my mate Kilan came over to give me a hand.

Kilan has done a bit of home brewing over the last few years. Most of his equipment is in storage. He’s still been able to make some cider and brought over a bottle to share. Will talk about that later.

Was fun to have Kilan over for the arvo. We worked on a few things that neither of us had done before. Had a couple near misses and a whole heap of improvisation. By the end of the day we had bottled the Hoppy Heart IPA and brewed what we felt would be a really good beer.

The last time I did the Baltic Porter it was a 10 litre batch. The beer came out nice enough but lacked some body. The beer had a little too much sweetness. There was room to adds more complexity. In short, there was a lot that could be tweaked.

Baltic Porter #2 Mash

Baltic Porter #2
Grains in bag, in pot and mashing

Given the relative ease of the full grain mash at Chas’s last week I thought of trying a mini mash. The recipe was upping to a 17 litre batch and ingredients to match. That meant a lot more grain. Last time the recipe only had Crystal grains, which can’t mass by themselves. With advice from Chas I decided to include some Chocolate malt, which I believe can mash. So all 2kg of the grain went in to mash.

Kilian was a champ and crushed the chocolate malt grain. The only thing I had was a mortar and pestal which meant some grain got crushed. Hope that doesn’t make much difference.

The Crystal grain went into a grain bag and into the pot. The Chocolate grain got thrown into the bag then all was stirred in. Mash was done at 68°C and had 5 litres of water. Wow, that grain soaked it all up and expanded like a balloon! Mash went for a full sixty mins.

While waiting for the mash to finish we bottled the Hoppy Heart IPA. The final gravity came in at 1.019. With the carbonation drops it will be 6.4% alcohol. And before you ask, yes I will move to bulk priming soon.

We opened the apple cider that Kilan brought. That was an interesting drink, and I mean that in all ways. We chilled it right down and was cold most of the time. First up it tasted like alcoholic orange juice, not like apple. Sort of super sweet and slightly tart. The smell was pretty bad, almost like something off. As it warmed up the cider became more like apple and more dry. Much better cold. I think something might have gone wrong with the yeast and / or fermentation. Let’s see euchre same thing happens to my cider.

Back to the brew, and mash was done. Only problem now was how to sparge the grain. And there was a huge amount. Was fortunate that the kettle we have at home has different temperature settings with the lowest being 75°C. So we used that and poured the water over the bag of grains. Each time we tried to press out as much liquid as possible, but we didn’t really have the right set up. After a few kettle’s worth of water at said temperature there was a lot of volume for the boil. I would have liked to do more sparging, but the boil pot just wouldn’t hold it all.

Baltic Porter #2 Grains

Baltic Porter #2
Grains ready for more sparging

So onto the boil. Earlier I realised that I didn’t have the exact amount of hops to do what I wanted. There wasn’t as much Warrior and that was suppose to be the bittering. As a compromise I moved some of the Fuggles from aroma stage to taste. By moving them earlier it should add a bit more bitterness, and hopefully balance. Will have to wait and see.

Once the boil started we re-hydrated the yeast. It’s the first time I’ve done this. It was pretty easy. The only problem is the water that was boiled so early on it cooled down too much. A quick zap in the microwave brought it back up to temperature. The yeast sat in the water while we dissolved the tea spoon of dry malt in half a glass of boiled water. Then waited half an hour before adding that in and gave it a mix.

I held off on adding the dry malt for a bit. Have been getting advice not to add all malt at the start of boils and wanted to try it out. As a result we didn’t get a hot break, it just came to a boil. Bittering hops went in at start, then taste hops at thirty minutes with the first 800 grams of dry malt a five minutes later. Another fifteen minutes later added in the last 400 grams of dry malt. Five mins after that the aroma hops. Then only five more mins before flame out.

Pot was transferred to an ice bath. Some ice cubes went directly into the wort, water previously boiled before frozen. A second bath for the pot. Then into the fermenter. Added a little more sparged grain liquid, that might not have been the best idea as I’m not sure if that could have lead to contamination. Too late now! The liquid malt only went in at this stage, note that it wasn’t part of the boil. Not sure if that will make much difference. Let me know what you think with a comment below.

The wort was still quite hot. That was even after adding about four litres of very cold water. Will need more ice if I’m going to do something this large and this method again. After a couple hours the temperature was down to something close to what I wanted. Yeast was pitched at about 25°C. I forgot to put the yeast nutrient in at the same time. So, went back an hour later and put in four heaped teaspoons and sealed back up.

 

Baltic Porter #2 Yeast

Baltic Porter #2
Re-hydrated Yeast in the jug

60 min mash at 68°C

– 1.5 kg of Crystal 120
– 500 grams of Chocolate Malt 600

Boil wort from mash
60 min
add 8 grams of Warrior hops
30 min
add 14 grams of Fuggels hops
25 min
add 800 grams of light malt extract
10 min
add 400 grams of light malt extract
5 mins
add 5 grams of Fuggels hops

Into ferment:
– wort
– 1.7 kg of Amber liquid malt extract (Black Rock)
– water & ice to bring to 17 litres

Once at 25°C
add 7 grams of yeast, 5g Windsor & 2g kit yeast (previously re-hydrated)
add 4 heaped teaspoons of yeast nutrient

A bit of a strange brew. Some new techniques and processes. Some corrections from previous brews. Some ingredients just thrown together, like hops and yeast. The final gravity came in at 1.071 which is pretty good given the calculated was only 0.002 higher than that. If fermentation can take it down to 1.025 that will mean about 6.5% alcohol before bottling. And this one will be bulk primed.

-Mikey

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Baltic Porter – Review

Mikey made his Baltic Porter while I was away, and luckily enough, it was ready for drinking as soon as I came back!

It definitely looked like a porter!  Nice and dark, good head.  That’s where the porteryness ended though – although it still turned out to be a great beer!

baltic porterOn the nose, there was a ton of apple and a bit of honey along with a bit of malt.  I’m not sure where the apples were coming from, but the honey was probably coming from the added Crystal grains.

This continued through with the taste, along with the apple.  This was right up front and very refreshing.

With that, there was a good amount of body, just not as much as I usually like to see in a porter.  So while it looked like a porter, this beer was very quickly moving away from what I’d consider a porter.  I’d classify this closer to a dark ale.  The good news is I love dark ales, and this was a good one, so I’m not complaining.

On the porter side though, there was a hint of the typical porter tang/bitterness at the very end, along with a very minor hint of smokiness, but the beer was so light it was still hard to call a porter.  It was a bit creamy like a porter, just not robust like a porter.

The surprising part about this beer is that it was 7.2% alcohol, which you’d never know by drinking it – until you’ve had a couple that is…  it’s a pretty smooth beer with only the slightest hint of dryness from the alcohol.

Overall, great beer, regardless of what you call it.  I’d gladly drink more.  Mikey wants to add some chocolate, which I’d welcome.

Given the sweetness and apple/honey tastes, this beer would go well with either apple or pumpkin pie.  It’s a desert kind of drink…

-Chas

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