Posts Tagged Porter

New Ingredients to try

When I got into doing mashes, first doing partial mash, then doing all-grain, I kept it pretty close to the vest on my base grains, using Pilsner, UK 2-row and American 2- or 6-row, depending on what I was making.  Those are probably the big 4, with Pilsner for German-style beers, UK 2-row for fuller-flavored ales and US pale malts for ales that need a cleaner flavor.

With my next couple of beers, I’m going to break out of that rut and try a couple new base malts, and I’m excited about them.  I’m going to make a Whisky Ale with Maris Otter, which is very traditional for cask-style ales.  (By the way, tomorrow’s Beginner’s Tuesday post is about how to make a cask ale.)  Maris Otter has a distinctive nutty/biscuity aroma.  I’m intrigued to see how it goes.  I can envision it becoming my go-to base malt for less-hoppy British style ales.

With that whisky ale, I’m also going to try New Zealand-grown Pacific Gem hops, which are reported to have an earthy flavor with a dark berry note.  I think that will match nicely with the peat-smoked malt and the oak tannins.

I’m really very excited about this Whisky Ale!

I’m also looking at doing version 3 of my Oatmeal Java Stout in the foreseeable future. I don’t feel like ‘m getting the right profile from the UK 2-row with that beer, so I’m going to use Mild Malt, which is a traditional base for stouts and dark porters.  I also need to adjust my specialty grains because the batch is too chocolately.  I need some more aggressive darkness to make it work, so maybe roasted barley….  We shall see.


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Beer Review: Swamp Head Chipotle Smoke Signal (Smoked Porter)

I was out last night at Tallahassee’s excellent Proof Brewing Company (seriously, work on that website, guys!) and I got a chance to try Swamp Head’s Smoke Signal Chipotle smoked porter.

(Proof isn’t stingy with its pours–I didn’t think to snap a picture until I had had a couple sips.)

Swamp Head is a Gainesville, FL brewery that appears to have a 30-barrel operation. They’re distributed to select cities across the state, but it doesn’t seem their stuff is readily available farther afield.

This beer was surprisingly good. I suspect most people who are familiar with smoked beers are familiar with the Schenkerla Rauchbier line, which is aggressive in its use of smoked malt. The Smoke Signal was less so. It’s still clearly a smoked beer, but it’s quite a bit smoother than the Schenkerla line. I found it quite easy drinking, whereas Schenkerla can sometimes be a chore to polish off. The beer is definitely malt-forward and the alderwood smoking is the most noteworthy part of the flavor. The hops certainly balance the beer, but they’re a background element. I actually didn’t notice any real chipotle flavor to the beer, but it might be easier to detect if you tasted it side-by-side with the regular Smoke Signal. (That was not available at the bar.)

Smoke Signal is an ale, like most small-scale craft beers. They did a good job of balancing those big estery ale flavors with the smokiness. I didn’t notice any fruitiness, and that’s a good thing.

All in all, I would recommend this beer. It’s definitely something different, unlike typical porters, and also unlike the commonly available smoked beers. Well done to Swamp Head!

I noticed on the Swamp Head Website that they also brew a coffee stout called Midnight Oil. It’s an interesting-looking beer, being an oatmeal stout with wheat malt and cold-infused coffee. Wheat stouts are pretty weird, as is cold-infusion of coffee, but it sounds delicious. Readers may remember that I am quite a fan of coffee beer. I’ll keep an eye out for Midnight Oil, and hopefully I can review that for you all in the future!

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