RECIPE FOR 5 GALLONS:
- 7 lbs Maris Otter
- 1 lbs Brown Malt
- 1 lbs Fawcett Crystal 45
- 8.0 oz Chocolate Malt
- 4.0 oz Crystal 80
- 1.50 oz East Kent Goldings (EKG) [5.00 %] – Boil 60.0 mi
- 0.50 oz East Kent Goldings (EKG) [5.00 %] – Boil 10.0 mi
- 1.0 pkg London Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1028)
- 3 lbs Puree; Sweet Cherry [Primary]
- 1.00 oz Cacao Nibs (Primary 5.0 mins)
So my wife’s birthday’s coming up. I asked her what she wanted and she said, “Make me a beer.” I was like, “Great, I’ll surprise you with a beer.” She says, “No, no, no, don’t surprise me. I know what I want. I want a porter.” I said, “Great. I’m going to make a porter.”
And she says, “I want it to be chocolatey.” I said, “Okay, chocolate porter.” And she says, “I want it to have that bubbly head like Guinness.” Okay, so chocolate, porter served on nitrogen. And she says, “I want it to taste like cherry.“… “Cherry. Yes, dear.”
If I look back over all the beers I’ve brewed in the last few years, well, if I’m honest, I do have some regrets.
Like I have 10 pounds of smokey malt right here over my shoulder, and the whole brewery already smells like a bonfire.
Never have I less wanted to taste a beer. What was I thinking?
And officially, Australia has only one officially recognized native beer style, and that is Australian sparkling ale, crikey.
Sorry People of Australia. I deeply apologize, but probably my biggest regret is through all of these beers that I’ve brewed.
Well, I haven’t really taken any notes, and if you ask me that, “Could you tell me the difference between a czech pale lager, and a czech premium pale lager? That thing I brewed two years ago,” I’m not sure, I can remember.
So to help me with that, Mark a home brewer and watcher of this channel got in contact and told me about this, the Home Brewing Journal. This is something that he’s put together and is selling on Amazon.
So in here are double spreads where you can record everything about your brew day and the tasting experience afterwards. So things like the basic recipe, the brewing and mashing steps. I have that stuff in Beer Smith already. But on this side is really stuff I haven’t been recording.
Like what am I really doing with fermentation? How long did it take? How did I do the packaging? How much CO2 did I add? That sort of stuff.
And then session notes and tasting notes. I think this would’ve been really helpful.
So I’m going to get started filling in this journal for today’s beer, and then I’ll let my wife update this part right here.
So let’s get mashing. Got my grains here, courtesy of Atlantic Brew Supply. So straight up English porter is the base for this recipe, which means the base marked one of my favorites, maris otter.
That’s going to make up 47% of this grit. To that, I’m adding a 7% brown malt, and I’ve also got 7% of Crystal 45, and then rounding out with 4% chocolate malt and 2% Crystal 80. It smells absolutely delicious.
That’s 67% of the fermentable is the other third is coming from the sweet cherry puree, but that’s obviously not going in yet. That will go in during fermentation. And it’s already looking the part, look at that color. So I’ll mash here for about an hour, 152 Fahrenheit, 67 Celsius.
EKG East Kent Golding, that’s going to be my bittering hop. Going to add enough EKG to get to around 28 ibu.
And then just at the end of the boil, maybe 10 minutes left. I’m just going to have a touch. More EKG. I really like the herbal sort of citrusy notes that you get from East Kent Golding. They probably are going to get lost in this beer, given all the chocolate and the cherry, but I’m going to give it a go.
This is my fermentation vessel, a Fermzilla allrounder. I’m going to use temperature control here with this cooling coil for some glycol to get this down to 68 Fahrenheit, or maintain it at 68 Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius.
For brewers that want all the advantages of a conical fermenter without the price tag of a stainless steel unit. Allows you to dump trub, harvest yeast, carbonate, and serve – all in one vessel!
I’m using this as my only fermentation vessel, I’m not going to go to secondary. So the order I’ll do this is I’ll let the beer ferment, let the fermentation basically come to an end.
And at that point, I’m going to introduce the remaining ingredients, the puree and the cocoa nibs, and that will restart fermentation then.
But yeah, just all in this single vessel. The yeast that I’m adding, which I’ll put in now, is WYeast 1028. This is London ale yeast.
Okay, that’s it for brew day. Let’s let the yeast do its thing.
About a week later when fermentation was complete, I cracked open a can of dark sweet cherry puree and then just open up the fermentor and then poured the cherry straight in. So right into the primary here and let it sit for a few weeks.
As for the chocolate that came from cocoa nibs, I used two ounces and I just sanitized a mason jar, added in the cocoa nibs straight into that mason jar, and then cracked open a bottle of vodka. This was to sanitize the nibs. And I just let it sit for about a day.
The following day was kegging time, and I used some French pressed brew bags to add those nibs into an empty keg. I then performed a pressurized transfer from the fermentor into the keg with the cocoa nibs, and then added some pressure to force carbonate.
And before long, the beer was ready for serving. Well, happy belated birthday. It’s actually been a while since your birthday, isn’t it?
Nearly a month? Yeah.
But the beer was already on your birthday, right?
Yes, it was.
We’ve already tried it. What have been your impressions?
I actually think this is probably the best beer you’ve ever made.
Yeah. I really like this. It tastes just like I wanted it to taste, and it’s in a style of beer that I really like.
One of the things we can discuss actually, is how the beer has changed over time a little bit, because it has, I think, changed over time. But just in terms of appearance, nice and dark, right?
Got a little like a red tinge. Yeah. Red tinge.
Which I guess has come from the cherry.
And then on the nose, I’m still getting cherry. Okay, well let’s go in for a taste.
Yeah, the Cherry’s got a lot stronger after I tried it last time. I mean, the chocolate comes afterwards.
And I think that’s what I’ve noticed as well, is that the chocolate taste has become less pronounced over time. And now it’s just kind of on the back end. It’s like, eh, a little bit of chocolate.
Yeah. But now I’ve got a nice smooth chocolate taste in my mouth.
And I was a bit worried that the cherry might be a bit much, but I think it’s quite well balanced.
I think this is a great selection of ingredients.
Oh, you’re taking the credit?
Well, you asked me what I wanted in the beer.
Yep. One final task that I need you to do for me.
Wait, do I get another gift? No. Oh.
And that is-
Do I get to choose the next beer? No. Oh.
So I have been making notes of this beer as we’ve gone through it. So what I added in, what the hops were, all that sort of stuff. The last thing I need is to add the rating.
I definitely would say this is my most favorite beer that you’ve made. Although I did like the one you made a couple years ago, like the Guinness Replica.
Didn’t you make like a peanut butter one? Yeah. No, I really liked that one today.
That’s another birthday beer.
It was another birthday beer?
What shall I have next year?
She likes dark beers with some sort of adjuncts in there.
Yeah, I mean if anybody’s got any idea that I love to try. Well, sometimes people just give a half at the end. But these are really small stars. I’m going to just go all in.
I’ll take it.
And you know what? Here I’m going to create my own star because this is a six star beer. There you go.
Six out of five – all right!
It’s yeah, amazing.
Well, cheers, I will drink to that.
All six stars.
Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy.