Brewed - February 6, 2010
Style - Baltic Porter
For quite a long while, I’ve wanted to brew a really big (~ 10%), possibly smokey, baltic porter. Traditionally, a baltic porter is brewed with lager yeast and accordingly lagered (cold fermented) for a period of time. I don't really have the means to brew and condition a lager, so this was an obvious choice to brew on Colin's all-grain system.
While I've always loved porters and more recently baltic versions (Smuttynose Baltic Porter is one of my favs), I'm more of a newcomer to smoked beers. And true be told though that I'm not quite there yet in terms of enjoying the traditional and extremely smoky examples like Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen. But I do enjoy smoked lagers and the wide variety of porters/stouts that use wither smoked or peat malt to add a layer of complexity.
For this beer, my inspiration came from Thisted Limfjords Porter/Double Brown Stout, which has a nice, subtle smokey character.
I found some recipes online and after some back and forth with Colin's help, we came up with a good looking recipe. I don't have exact notes from the brewday, but here's a rough recipe:
- 50% - Pale Malt / 2 row
- 30% - Cherrywood Smoked Malt
- 15% - Munich Malt
- 2.5% - Carafa II
- 2.5% - Special B
- 2.5% - British Chocolate
- Hops: Hallertauer ~ 30 IBU's
- Yeast: Wyeast #2206 Bavarian Lager
- Mash @ 150° for 60 mins
- Pitch @ 48°
- Lager/Ferment @ 50° in Colin's fridge
One of the exciting things about this beer was that the Cherrywood Smoked Malt was a relatively new malt available to homebrewers. Since there wasn't much info to go on in terms of intensity and flavor, one thought we had prior to brewing was to brew two beers - a strong baltic porter and a rauchbeer - and then blend together accordingly. But in the end we bailed on that idea with concerns of the the depth of the smoke flavor and thinning of the body.
Anywho, it was a successful brewday and great learning experience going through the whole process of grinding up the grains, mashing, etc. We had some much grain (maybe 28 lbs. or so if I remember right?) that the mash tun was basically filled to the brim! Original gravity was in the neighborhood of 1.150.
Post brewday updates........
Primary fermentation went pretty much according to plan and samples has a big does of sweet smoke, texture was thinner than expected and color was also a little light (dark, cola brown). For the extended lagering, the beer was transferred into corny kegs for storage in the fridge. This where we ran into some trouble. Somewhere along the line (probably in the transfer or the corny kegs themselves), the beer picked up a little infection. Over a few weeks, the infection bugs took over effectively ruining the beer!!
Now I've never had on infected beer, so I can clearly dump this all on Colin!! LOL, just kidding. Crap happens and while definitely a bummer that 10 gallons went down the drain, there is still some cherrywood smoke malt left and we will give it another go
Turns out too that this was the last batch I worked on at Beacon Hill Brewing, but looking forward to brewing a few times with Colin this summer at his new set up in Brier.