Nick Danger Porter Recipe by Denny Conn

by Karl S Updated on December 19, 2022 European Beer Brewing Recipes

RECIPE FOR 3 GALLONS:

  • 6 lbs EPIPHANY FOUNDATION BASE MALT
  • 14.0 oz EPIPHANY MUNICH MALT
  • 10.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
  • 7.0 oz Chocolate Malt
  • 5.0 oz Special B
  • 1.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt
  • 0.65 oz Hallertau Magnum [14.00 %] – Boil 30.0 min
  • 0.60 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] – Boil 30.0 min
  • 0.48 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min
  • 0.5 pkg Denny’s Favorite (Wyeast Labs #1450)

When it comes to homebrewers there aren’t many better known than Denny Conn. Denny has authored homebrew books, co-hosts a podcast, the dude even has a yeast named after him.

One of Denny’s favorite recipes is called Nick Danger Porter. Over multiple batches Denny has perfected this recipe, a juxtaposition of smooth, dark grains with just a little bite, combined with fruity and herbal aromas.

So I’m going to take Denny’s perfectly crafted recipe and brew it up. But just one thing, I’m going to change it, and then I’m going to send Denny the finished beer and see what he thinks.

I first came across a Nick Danger Porter, which by the way is named after one of Denny’s cats, on the HomeBrew Pub. That’s a podcast by fellow Brit in the US, Andrew.

Hello and welcome to the HomeBrew Pub, the only pub in existence where every beer on tap is made by a homebrewer.

Andrew invited me onto his show where I shared my recipe free soured Guinness clone recipe that Andrew himself has been experimenting with now over a couple of batches.

So how and why am I changing this recipe? Well, firstly, batch size. I’m brewing a three gallon batch. The recipe on the HomeBrew Pub is for six gallons, so I’ve scaled it down.

The other change is related to ingredient availability. I didn’t have access to Mecca grade malts, so I’ve switched them out with Epiphany, a local craft maltster in North Carolina.

I’m using 72% Epiphany foundation, 11% Epiphany munich, 7% crystal 60, 5% chocolate malt, 4% special B, and just a sprinkling of black patent malt at 1%.

One thing I’m not changing is the mash temperature, mashing at 153 Fahrenheit or 67 Celsius.

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There are three hop additions to this beer. Because I’m shortening to a 30 minute boil, my bittering and flavor hops both go in at the start of the boil. That’s Magnum for a clean bitterness and a Tettnang for a floral and herbal flavor.

Denny designed this recipe to combine both German and American hops. So in addition to these German hops, I’m adding cascade at 10 minutes to bring a grapefruit fruitiness to the aroma of the beer.

At the end of the boil, I chilled my wort down to 68 Fahrenheit or 20 Celsius, so I can add Wyeast 1450, otherwise known as Denny’s favorite 50.

And Denny’s favorite is such a versatile yeast. You can just apply it to all sorts of beer starts and it should accentuate the maltiness in this beer, but also the fruitiness as well.

I can’t wait to see what Denny thinks.

Tasting

So I’m getting thirsty. Can I open this beer?

Yeah. Does everybody have their beer handy?

I’m about to pour.

Here we go.

You sent a couple of cans and I’ve not drunk this yet. I’ve been holding out for [inaudible 00:03:58].

Good.

Cheers. Cheers. Ooh, that is nice.

Now that’s pretty damn close buddy.

That’s close. I’ll take that.

Yeah, I’m getting the little licorice note that should be there. The malt is nice and rich, which comes from using those specialty malts. The castle chocolate I found was a real key to this beer, and I don’t know if that’s what you got or not.

I did not, no. I used a sub for that as well.

If you can ever get the castle, I highly recommend you give it a try because… And like I said, this is really close, so who knows if you really notice any difference. But the castle has a really nice kind of soft, mellow flavor to it.

One thing when I was designing this beer, it was when everybody was into the days of smoothing out the roast character in beers and stuff like that. So for a long time I was making this with Carafa and stuff like that, and it got so smooth it became totally insipid.

Oh yeah.

So I went back to a real chocolate malt and actually threw in just that little tiny touch of black patent. It could just all be in my head. But to me that gives it just a touch of an edge that I think it really needs to keep it from… Because there’s sweetness to this beer from all the crystal and the craft malts. So it needs that little bit of an edge to it to cut the beer.

The word that comes to my mind for this beer is rich. It’s a very rich…

Yeah. Yeah. And the taste of it actually reminds me of a barley wine I made. It just has that really nice forward roast, as you say, like the sweetness and oh, just delightful.

It reminds me a lot of some English porters that I’ve made.

The other thing that I was trying, when I did this recipe, I combined both German hops along with Columbus with American hops. So I wanted to try that again in this beer.

So that’s why I’ve got both Tettnang and Cascade in it, because I wanted to try the German-American hop play again. When you’re making a dark beer though, you always have to be careful to balance the hops against the astringency scene. The roastiness of the dark malts.

It’s one of the things I never cared for in the black IPA fad was the… Because they were in IPA, people would hop them heavily. And I just felt like that was a real clash with all the dark malts, at least from my palette. And this one, I tried to get a balance in there so that it won’t be like a lesser black IPA.

Well look, thank you both for doing this.

You’re very welcome. It’s was a great chat. Andrew, I always love talking to you man. Yes.

And it’s great. Maybe one day we can all get together in person and do it.