My original plan was to make a smooth chocolate stout, hopped only with Fuggles. I have stated the ingredients elsewhere, and so after three weeks of sitting in the bottles I decided to try both variants next to each other, and I decided that given the absence of unmalted roast barley, this would be designated a porter rather than a stout.
The first bottle was the weaker of the two variants, and on opening it gushed like a volcano. So much so that I lost about two thirds of the bottle before it stopped – thankfully I opened the bottle in the sink and didn’t make a great mess of the kitchen floor, as you can see in the video at the foot of this post (sorry it is sideways), unlike the bottle of the stronger version I tried with Evan last week.
Boy is this stuff dark, absolutely no light could make its way through the glass, and the head very quickly disappeared. The nose was exactly what I wanted, lots of caramel, burnt sugar and chocolate, with a noticeable grassiness to it as well. In the mouth, however, I was disappointed – where I had wanted something smoothly sweet, I now had a slight sour edge, which Mrs. Velkyal described as “metallic”. The hops though were very noticeable, and I think I over-hopped for sure – there were 4 additions, 25g with 60 minutes to go, 10 with 30, 10 with 15 and 5 with 3.
The second and the stronger of the two had the same colour profile but this time the brown head stayed a bit longer. The nose was again just what I wanted, and this time the smokiness I had aimed for was lingering in the background. I think the extra malt in this version balanced out the hops far better than the previous version, and so made it quite a nice, though hoppy, porter, with a slightly burnt taste to it. This was the version I shared with Evan last week, and he was most complimentary about it, so I will continue to work on the recipe, having said that I could perhaps create a new style American Imperial Porter, with a hefty hop dose as well as more malt?
It will be about 7 weeks now before I get to brew again and I am already getting itchy fingers to do something. I have even spent time working out a brewing calendar for my homebrew and if I stick with that the next beer will be an Irish Red Ale, just in time for my first autumn in Virginia - sorry guys, it may take some time for autumn to become the Fall – my inner theologian has images of Adam and Eve discovering sin when I hear that term.