Tag Archives: porter

Old book review

Here’s an interesting book pointed out to me from a reader, thank’s Peter! It’s called The Theory and Practice of Malting and Brewing. By a Practical Brewer by William Creech  You can read it here. The great thing about it is that it was published in 1793, a time that predates the use of Black Patent malt in 1817 (which would eventually replace diastatic brown malt) and it’s also a time where thermometers were used to record temperatures in Farenheit. The Farenheit scale was first introduced in 1724 so it is between these two dates that we can find books published about brewing that include temperatures used in the process of making malt and beer in a more pre-industrial era and by that I mean this predates the mechanization and increased scale of malting.  So we get some very useful descriptions of malting and brewing practices that serve as a window into the past. What’s amazing about this book is all of the unique descriptions about brewing practices, things like adding the hops before the boil pg. 37 for a perceptible improvement in flavour. Hmmm gotta try that. Here’s a link to an article on first wort hopping.

There is also mention of using fresh hops for small beer on page 66. But more importantly, this is the first time I’ve seen mention of different colours of brown malt. They are referred to as Brown, Middling Brown, and High Brown. What?! This suggests that malt colour and therefore beer was not as inconsistent as one (being me) might have assumed. And if you’re into brewing historical beers check out the recipes included on page 60-72.



Posted by on October 14, 2018 in Brown malt


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1804 Porter

What a disaster. This beer was loosely based on the 1804 Barclay Perkins TT recipe from Ron Pattinsons book The Home brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beers. I didn’t think I was going to use the whole batch of brown malt in one recipe but this gave me a perfect excuse to do just that. So 4lb of non-diastatic brown, 2 lbs of my diastatic brown malt samples in place of the Amber malt in the recipe and 6lb of pale malt. I also added 1 lb of pilsner malt just because I had some and to help with conversion. Everything was going great until I tried to sparge. This mash got stuck and I mean really really stuck. With brown malt being roasted it is very friable, the husk breaks down in to very small pieces and the inside is a fine dusty powder which turned into cement at the bottom of my mash tun and completely plugged the false bottom. A larger mash tun would have helped and definitely more rice hulls, a lot more, I would suggest one pound minimum. I tried giving it a stir – nothing, I tried blowing some air through it – still nothing. I finally ended up ladling it out into a bucket and throwing all the sparge water in, sort of a batch sparge and then just pouring it through a strainer, what a mess. I’d be very surprised if this turns out. I ended up with 4.5 gallons of a decent looking dark beer with an O.G. of 1.064.  It’s been bubbling away nicely and has just started to slow down, my fingers are crossed. I thought this post might at least be useful for anyone else trying to make this recipe,  Cheers!DSCN1180


Posted by on December 5, 2014 in Brown malt, Diastatic Brown Malt, The beers


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Historical Porter Brewday

The recipe: just 7 lbs of the diastatic brown malt, I combined both batches, Fuggle and Brewers Gold (both homegrown hops) and Wyeast London Ale III yeast. I mistakenly thought I could get away with a single step mash although this wasn’t the original plan. A protein rest would have helped for sure. Surprisingly my pH was 5.24 without any water additions. I kept my mash temp. high (156F) for sweetness since I wasn’t adding any caramel malts to this beer. Conversion took 4 1/2 hours. Original gravity was 1.051. Final volume – 3.75 gallons, but I had a disastrous spill while transferring from brew pot to carboy. I must have lost 2 pints, luckily the kids were outside and didn’t hear all the swearing. The final colour was very much like a darker brown ale.

There was quite a difference in aroma between the two batches of malt, the first being quite smoky like bacon, the second very toasty with hardly any smoke. The colour of the first batch of malt when ground was, as expected, almost white, whereas the second was reddish brown. Who knows perhaps I made what would have been called an Amber malt, but  I suspect if I had made the malt darker it may not have converted at all. If I do this again I think I would make a small batch of very dark roasted malt and combine it with a lighter version.

First batch on the left, second on the right.

First batch on the left, second on the right.


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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Diastatic Brown Malt, The beers


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Diastatic Brown #2

DSCN8924 DSCN8921

Brown malt on the left air-dried on the right.

Brown malt on the left air-dried on the right.

So with this batch there were a few things I did differently. Firstly, I air dried the green malt for 2 and a half days instead of just overnight. One thing I didn’t mention in the video was that I had a fan on it – yes I know that’s cheating, but my whole process isn’t exactly historically accurate anyway. That being said I don’t think it detracts from the overall goal of making a malt that would taste similar to a real diastatic brown malt. I think my malt would have dried without the fan but I was worried about mould, so I didn’t want to take any chances. I was quite surprised with how quickly it dried. After two and a half days it was just over 4 lbs (my original staring weight was 4 lbs) This drastically reduced the amount of time in the kiln. I kilned it at around 45C for 3 hours and at this point when I bit into the grains they had a very dry crunch to them so I knew they were dry enough (less than 10% moisture) to handle the increase in temperature without destroying the enzymes.

For this batch instead of charcoal and wood I just added another wood gas stove with the pecan pellets. This produced more heat and much less smoke. The final product still has a very subtle smoke aroma, but it is much more subtle than the first batch. At one point the temperature got a little too high but I think it was only around the fire box.  In the video I state that the interior of the grains are a tan colour, however upon further investigation I’ve noticed that there are more white interiors than the tan ones.


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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Diastatic Brown Malt


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Finally, some beer!

Well that took awhile, almost a year! A christmas present that was well worth the wait. Even though it was supposed to be a porter, what came out was more like a pale ale. This was due to my lighter chocolate malt and a recipe that I just pieced together, but honestly, (I know I’m biased) it tastes amazing. It’s dry not sweet like a porter should be with lots of caramel. It has a nuttiness that reminds me of roasted chestnuts, and as I said in the video a hint of black licorice. The bitterness is there but not in the aroma, it’s more of a subtle bitterness, kind of like chewing on an HB pencil. I think it’s very well balanced.

My brew day was epic. A lot of work for such a small batch (1.5 gallons) Conversion took 3 hrs at 154 F after a 30 min protein rest at 125 F. I used a single decoction and a little direct heat to get the temperature from  125 to 154. With a small batch this is easy to do since your using small pots. I steeped my roasted grains at 160 F and added this liquid to the mash.  My pH was 5.2. Nice!. O.G. was 1.045. Not as high as I would have liked but hell it was in the ballpark and that was something to celebrate. Pitching temperature was 18 C Fermentation was between 16-18 C The yeast I used was Wyeast Irish Ale.

Here’s the recipe (for 1.5 gal):

  1. 2 lb    74.1%   Pale malt
  2. .2 lb   7.4%   Caramel 40L
  3. .2 lb   7.4% Chocolate caramel 60L
  4. .2 lb   7.4% Acid malt
  5. .1lb    3.7%  Roasted barley
  6. .1lb    3.7% Raw barley
  7. .1lb    3.7% Pale Chocolate malt
  •  .1 oz Northern brewer approx. 8% 60 min
  • .2 oz garden hops  (not sure what they are. Approx. 5%) 20 min
  • .2 oz garden hops 5 min.DSCN1895



Posted by on December 30, 2011 in The beers


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