How to Brew Peppermint Porter: Frothy Festive Flavors of Winter Wonderland

Okay, Trent, let’s see what you sent me. Now I hope this doesn’t throw you for too much of a loop, but I’m confident you can come up with something awesome, or at least something drinkable.

If you can make a Sahti, you can do anything. Good luck and happy brewing, Trent.

Challenge accepted.

Recipe for 5 Gallon Batch:

  • 6 lbs Maris Otter
  • 1 lbs Brown Malt
  • 1 lbs Crystal 45
  • 1 lbs Pale Chocolate
  • 8.0 oz Special B
  • 1.00 oz East Kent Goldings (EKG) [5.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min
  • 1.00 oz Willamette [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min
  • 10 oz Peppermint Candy – Boil 10.0mi
  • 1.0 pkg London Ale Yeast – Wyeast Labs #1028

My name is Martin Keen and I’m taking the Bru Sho homebrew challenge. I’ve settled on my recipe, a peppermint Porter.

This is an English Porter base, one of my favorite styles. And then I think adding in the peppermint is just give it a, a nice holiday touch.

Now I have my bag of almost all the ingredients in here, milled and, uh, and prepared for me by Atlantic brew supply. But I do need to add in the special B that Trent gave me. So while I set up my grain, let’s in with Barfly Martin to talk about what’s in the grist.

So yeah, the ingredients for this one. Well, the original gravity aiming for around 10 53, so sort of a 5-6% beer. I mentioned this, this is pretty based on an English Porter style. And, uh, as a result of that, my base malt is Maris Otter. That makes up 59% of my grist.

Now to that I’m adding in at 10% each I’m adding brown malt, crystal 45, and pale chocolate malt, and then 5% is made up off the special B.

Now that’s what’s going into the mash, but in it, addition to that, we are accounting for the sugars of the peppermints that I’m gonna add. Wasn’t quite sure how to calculate that?

So I ended up just assuming that the weight of the peppermints I’m adding equals, uh, well basically straight up corn sugar. So about 6% of this will be corn sugar. And that’s the part that’s gonna go into the boil.

Overall, despite the fact, this is a little bit of an unusual recipe. I think this one holds some promise. Here’s the special B figure. I may as well run the rest of the grains through this as well.

They’ve already been milled, but this will get a slightly finer crush.

Okay. Milled the grains, this smells like breakfast. Going to be mashing here at 152 Fahrenheit, 67 Celsius. Just heated my strike water, just a few degrees warmer than that. Um, but it’s probably rapidly coming down to 152 now, as I’ve added those grains in, I’ll mash for about 60 minutes.

Ah, individually packaged. Splended.

Crushing them up is gonna make it a lot easier to melt, but I’m not quite at that stage yet. Draining the grain basket now and ready for boil.

Speaking of boil, let’s talk about the hop additions. Well, I am gonna be building around sort of 27 IBU, uh, bitterness here. I’m gonna get that primarily through my bittering hop. I’m just using EKG, which is nice low alpha acid hop, English as well, which is kind of in keeping in style.

And then with 10 minutes ago, that is when I will be introducing the Willemette, which really is a very nice flavor and aroma hop. So I’m gonna add this one in with 10 minutes to go.

And we need to add this into the boil. I’m gonna melt it down first into a syrup. Uh, so the way I’m gonna do that, I just have a little electric hot plate here.

Uh, so that’s add some water in that I’ve already preheated just to save a bit of time, put this on medium heat and then put my crushed up mints just in here. So they’re submerged.

And then as that water temperature heats up it should melt these. Should being the operative word. I got the water quite hot, and I thought this was just gonna be like melting chocolate, but really nothing much was happening. I tried halving the batch size, but melt that didn’t do anything.

So I resorted to desperate measures and decided to use the microwave. For this method, you’re supposed to use a bit of corn syrup to stop things getting gunked up.

I didn’t have any corn syrup, but I did have some Belgian candy syrup. So I added that into the Mason jar. Using the melt setting I ran the microwave every 30 seconds and gave it a stir until things started to improve. It only took a few 30 seconds increments until everything was melted down into a syrup.

With 10 minutes left in my boil, I added this into the kettle, although that syrup was still super sticky and did not want to come out of the jar.

Missing ingredient is the yeast I am using Wyeast 1028. This is London Ale yeast. One of my go-tos for English porters. I’m just gonna chill this down to get it to around 68-70 Fahrenheit. So 20 Celsius. Um, it’s not quite there. I’m using my glyco chiller for that.

And, uh, then I will be adding in the yeast, fermenting, patching up, and uh, trying this beer with Trent.

Well Trent, you, uh, you sent me the challenge right there. I sure did. Yeah. How did, how did the beer arrive? Is it still carbonated?

Yeah, it looks great. Got a nice little head there and looks good to me. Nice color, nice dark color. I can’t see it through it at all. And I haven’t tried this beer either, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we get from this.

Oh, I’m getting faint. I am getting like a, it’s almost like a chocolate peppermint, like a chocolate mint almost. Yeah. I’m getting more of the roasted note. And then at the end, there’s just that little, little kick of mint coming through. Whoa.

So there is, Peppermint, Definitely. Wow. That is awesome. It is like almost like a menthol cooling sensation as you drink it. It’s not awful. Really isn’t.

I feel like it, you would’ve done more. It might have like overwhelmed everything. It like is a nice, like accent to the Porter base. I really enjoy it.

Well, well, Trent, I really appreciate you setting me this challenge. This was like really fun, but I think we’ve kind of raised the bar at this point. So that next time we’re gonna have to make it harder.

I agree. I’m down, anytime.

So I received my box from Trent. I’ve brewed this peppermint Porter. Um, I set a box to Trent to brew his own beer with three ingredients that I’ve selected. Turned out they were quite challenging too.

And if you want to see the masterful beer that he has made with that, then you can find that on the Bru Sho.

Cheers Martin, happy holidays. All right. Cheers. Happy holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I adapt the peppermint porter recipe for a smaller batch?

Given that the recipe detailed is for a 5-gallon batch, it’s possible to scale down the ingredients proportionally for a smaller batch size.

For instance, for a 2.5-gallon batch, you would halve the amount of each ingredient. It’s essential to maintain the ratios to ensure the characteristic flavor and quality of the peppermint porter beer.

What is the significance of using Maris Otter as the base malt in this peppermint porter recipe?

Maris Otter is utilized as the base malt due to its premium quality and the rich, malty flavor it imparts to the beer.

In the case of the peppermint porter, its robust malty backbone complements the minty notes from the peppermint candy, contributing to a balanced and flavorful profile typical of a well-crafted mint beer recipe.

Is there a substitute for peppermint candy in the peppermint porter recipe?

In case peppermint candy is unavailable, a viable alternative could be using peppermint extract or fresh peppermint leaves.

The key is to achieve the desired minty flavor characteristic of a peppermint beer. However, the substitution may alter the sweetness level, so adjustments might be necessary to maintain the desired taste profile.

Could I use a different type of yeast for this peppermint porter recipe?

Yes, while London Ale Yeast is recommended for its suitability with English porters, other yeast strains could be explored.

It’s crucial to select a yeast strain that complements the flavor profile of a peppermint porter. Some alternatives could be American Ale Yeast or Irish Ale Yeast, although the resulting flavor and texture might vary slightly.

How can I ensure the peppermint candy fully melts into the boil without resorting to a microwave?

Melting peppermint candy can be a bit tricky due to its composition. A more controlled method might involve using a double boiler, which allows for gentle heating and easier monitoring to prevent burning or sticking.

Additionally, stirring continuously and ensuring the water temperature is adequate can facilitate a smoother melting process.

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