Showing posts with label robust porter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robust porter. Show all posts

Monday, November 22, 2010

Porter Fruit Cake

When Mrs V and I went to Williamsburg back in October, I bought a growler of Williamsburg Alewerks' Washington's Porter. As with the best laid plans of mice and men, my original intention to drink said growler never happened, and so it sat in the fridge for the last few weeks. Wanting to both use the beer, being loathe to waste it, and also because I love cooking with beer as much as drinking it, I decided to use it for a few culinary projects.

Waking up with something of a hangover yesterday morning I decided I would make a fruit cake, which seems to be something of an acquired taste this side of the Pond. Traditional fruit cake from home starts off the night before baking with steeping the dried fruit in tea. My plan however was to ditch the tea and replace it with the porter. The recipe I used came from a small Czech language Irish cookbook I bought several years ago in Prague and I adapted it somewhat.
  • 12 ounces sultanas
  • 1lb dried black currants
  • 8 ounces glace cherries
  • 13.5 fluid ounces porter
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 3.5 cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice - cinnamon, nutmeg, clove
Firstly steep the dried fruit, sugar and spice in the porter overnight, or for 8 hours.

When the steeping is done, lightly beat the eggs and add them to the mix. Stir in the flour and baking powder to make a thick batter.

Usually you would just use a single large cake tin, but I used three disposable loaf tins, which I sprayed with oil before filling about half way.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 2 hours, or until you can put a knife in the centre of the cake and it comes out clean.

So there we have it, three fruit cakes for Thanksgiving, moist, dark and a good porter!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Doing It Jazz Style

I think I mentioned on Twitter or Facebook, or quite possibly both, that I was planning on brewing a porter at the weekend. The weekend became Monday and the porter became brewing beer jazz style, as in making it up as I went along rather than brewing whilst playing the trumpet.

As I only had Admiral hops in the fridge, I popped round to Fifth Season to get some EKG and 1056 American Ale yeast, at this point the plan was to make a bigger batch of the Red Coat Export India Porter to satisfy the various bods who have asked for a bottle. I also picked up an extra pound of DME to bump up the fermentables a tad.

Eventually I had everything to hand in order to make the Red Coat, and for reasons best known only to the workings of my brain I decided to change tack. Thus it was that recipe became as follows:
  • 3lbs Light DME
  • 1lb Extra Light DME
  • 0.25lb Caramel 120
  • 0.25lb Special Roast
  • 0.125lb Carafa II de-bittered
  • 0.125lb Peated malt
  • 0.5oz 10.5% Admiral @ 60 minutes
  • 0.5oz 4.5% EKG @ 45
  • 0.25oz 4.5% EKG @ 15
  • 0.25oz 4.5% EKG @ 1
  • 1056 American Ale yeast
According to the various online tools I use to work out colour and bitterness, this beer has an SRM of 24 and an IBU rating of 21, the original gravity was 1.060 or 15o Plato. As to what the beer actually is, well your guess is as good as mine. Given the similarities to the original Red Coat it could quite well be a peat smoked porter, though it is stronger than a brown porter and less hoppy than a robust. It could also be an smoked American Brown Ale, but for the use of British hops. A quick aside here, I am starting to love the BJCP styles, simply because they give me rules to break! Whatever it is, it is dark, reasonably hopped, and hopefully about 6% abv with a decent peaty whack - one of the comments that came back about the peat smoked mild I made was that the smokiness could be increased, so an extra half ounce went in this one.

All said and done, I have a beer fermenting away happily, as you can see from this picture:

On a related note, and this isn't something I would normally do, but the picture below is the medals I won at the Virginia Beer Blitz. I had never won a medal for anything before, so I am probably inordinately chuffed at having done so, and it has made me more enthused to make more beer, improve my skills and hopefully add some more gongs to the collection.

Whilst talking about improving your brewing skills, this month's Brew Your Own magazine has a lot of interesting stuff about extract brewing, including a piece talking with professional brewers who do the whole extract with grains thing and have won multiple awards at things like the Great American Beer Festival.

Anyway, more ingredients arrived yesterday, so more brewing on the horizon.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Hate Pigeonholing!

I find myself in somewhat of a quandry, though thankfully not of the kind that leads to existential angst. You see, I have decided that this year I will go ahead and enter the Dominion Cup, Virginia's leading home brew competition. I also plan to enter the home brew section in the local county fair, though this isn't a BJCP or AHA sanctioned competition, but hey, any chance for some glory and being able to call myself an "award winning home brewer". Sit, ego, sit.

I have four beers to enter for each competition:
  • Samoset 2009 - my barleywine into which I chucked some dried sweet orange peel
  • Black Rose - a very dark Dunkelweizen, almost a wheat stout
  • Old Baldy - a 65 IBU American IPA, dry hopped with Challenger
  • Experimental Dark Matter - the peat smoked mild
It is the last of those four that is the root of my bafflement, or rather which category to enter it into. Given the style guidelines set out by the BJCP for Mild (11A), a starting OG of 1.052 is too much, though at 4.3% abv the alcohol content is within the given limits, as are the 16 IBUs.

However, given that I used a portion of Peat Smoked Malt in the grist should I enter it in the Smoked Beer Section (22B)? If so, then the question becomes, what is the base style? I have played with the idea that the base style closest to the beer I produced is a Robust Porter (12B), but the hopping is wrong for the BJCP's interpretation of Porter, though ideal for Mild.

There is of course the final option, to enter the beer in category 23, the anything goes world of "specialty beer". The problem there is that I am not convinced that my beer is that much of a specialty. Historically speaking we all know that "mild" doesn't refer to the alcoholic strength of a beer, but rather it was a young beer that hadn't yet become "stale" or "old", so from my understanding of Mild, that's exactly what I have made, just with a dash of lovely peat smokiness in there as well.

What to do, what to do?

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...