Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013 Porter (1923 Courage Stout)

For Christmas this year my Dad and I decided to brew up a beer to share with the family. He really likes the London Porter served by a local brewery and wanted to create something similar to share with family and friends. I spent quite a bit of time looking for a recipe or some style guidlines for what exactly makes a porter a "London Porter". I eventually turned to the blog "Shut up about Barclay Perkins", which has a wealth of information about British beer. I came across a recipe for 1932 Courage Stout and decided that it would be a great place to start. With a few modifications my Dad and I soon had a recipe.

The most challenging element to brewing this beer was the Black Invert Sugar. I poked around on the internet and found that you can create your own invert sugar using heat and acidity. Invert sugar is table sugar (succrose) which has been split apart into its two components, fructose and glucose. It tastes sweeter than table sugar, retains moisture better, and is less prone to crystallization. Hydrolysis (the addition of a water molecule) will cause succrose to break apart. In order to create our own invert sugar we catalyzed the hydrolysis reaction with heat and acid.

Invert Sugar Recipe
  • 1 pound Table Sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Add the sugar to the water and bring to a boil on the stove, keep stirring so that no sugar falls to the bottom and burns. Add the lemon juice. After about 7 minutes at a simmer you will have invert sugar. If you want Black Invert sugar continue cooking it. It will start to turn a golden yellow color, then a deep red. When the color is deep red take it off the stove, as it cools it will continue to darken in color until it is finally black.

As we made the invert sugar we were also working on mashing and bringing the wort to a boil. The rest of the recipe was as follows (mostly copied from Barclay Perkins )

Christmas 2013 Porter (1923 Courage Stout)

5 Gallons
OG 1.044
FG 1.007

3 pounds Maris Otter
1.25 pounds Golden Promise
1.25 pounds Peark
0.75 pounds Black Malt
0.5 pounds Brown Malt
0.5 pounds Black Invert Sugar

17 IBUs Challenger at 90 minutes
12.2 IBUs Challenger at 30 minutes

Yeast: Yorkshire Ale, Ferment at 68 F

Primary for 2 weeks and then straight into a keg. Force carbonated to 1.8 Volumes of CO2.
Served at 55 F.

ABV 4.9% (Tested by Gas Chromotography)

Tasting Notes:

Beer pours full of tiny bubbles, looks just like a cask beer, strong tan head turns into a wonderful lacing around the glass. Jet black in color with no highlights.
Aromas of toast, coffee, chocolate, and a deep maltiness. No hop aroma, very well balanced.
Taste is smooth, chocolaty, and a little bitter roast bite at the finish. The beer is dry and has notes of coffee and toast. Roast increases as the beer warms.
Overall I am very pleased with this beer. It looks awesome coming out of the keg and it is a nice smooth drinker.

I found a bottle of this beer in the basement. It was hidden in a box of bombers in the fridge and I stumbled upon it while looking for some old sour beers. I was pleasantly surprised to find the beer was still in great condition. Despite the low alcohol content everything tasted great. The coffee and chocolate flavors were a little subdued compared with the first tasting but the beer was still silky smooth.