Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brew Day: Whitbread 1836 Porter

Brewing yet again... I am starting to worry that if I keep churning out beers at this rate, I'll soon use up my entire stockpile of grain and yeast. Dangerous stuff, homebrewing is. It kills the wallet and the waistline. Eh, anyways, I got another porter for today, though this time it is more of a historical brew than a modern day concoction. As some of you may know, back in early December I made a few batches of brown malt that I had roasted over an open fire in an attempt to recreate the smokey brown malts found in the early-mid 1800's. The first batch was used to make a historical porter, kilned over hornbeam wood, and that is now aging with brettanomyces claussenii in the secondary. The other two batches of brown malt were a little less traditional, both kilned over cherry wood until the malt had darkened considerably (almost like a pale chocolate) and the flavor had become slightly smokey and roast-like. Regardless, this recipe is from the 15th of July (1836) and while I will be keeping true to the original grist and the pitch temp, I can't be bothered to do another set of gyles and three hour boils. Hopping will be be moderate, with last years crop of (UK) fuggles. I won't be using the Whitbread yeast, since I hate the stuff. My intentions for this batch are to bottle half of it without bugs and then try to re-create the moderately acidic flavor of vatted porter though the use of brett, lacto, and possibly some other bugs. If you know what vatted porter once tasted like, or what bugs were once found in it, please let me know.

Whitbread 1836 Porter : Historical Porter
Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 3.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.8
Anticipated OG: 1.064
Anticipated FG: 1.019
Anticipated SRM: 26+
Anticipated IBU: 45
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 120 Minutes

77.9% - 6.0 lbs. Pale Malt, Maris Otter
19.5% - 1.50 lbs. Cherry Wood - Brown Malt
2.6%   - 0.20 lbs. Black malt

2.0 oz. UK Fuggles @ 90 min for 40 IBU
1.0 oz. UK Fuggles @ 15 min for 5 IBU

Yeast: Wyeast 1318 London III
Mash 154F for 120 min
Brewed on 10 January


  1. More yeast questions for you - since you seem to be so well acquainted with the available English strains!

    What temp do you typically ferment the 1318 at?
    Likewise, Wyeast lists it at 64-74, but can it handle the low 60s without loss of attenuation? At what temp does it start getting more estery than subtle?

  2. Matt,

    1318 is great in that you can ferment it in the low 60's or to around 70F and still get a very consistent flavor profile. I like starting it around 62-65F and letting the temp raise to a max of 68F. I get mild fruit esters and a malty, but clean flavor profile. I've never really gone much higher than 70F with this strain, though I don't think it would throw a lot of bad esters like some of the other english yeast do.

    The only thing with this strain is that it sometimes will take a bit longer to completely ferment out, so don't expect a 3 day fermentation like 1968 or 1187. Give it two weeks and an occasional gentle swirl if it is lagging on you. This strain does seem to do better when the wort is aerated properly.

    Getting to try out different British yeasts is probably my favorite aspect of homebrewing. All the flavors you can get from the different strains is just incredible.

  3. Porters are one of my favourite styles, both to brew and to drink. The most recent one I brewed has a distinct lactic tang to it, which I very much enjoy though I guess it is likely to get the dreaded "not to style".

  4. Thanks Will. I'm the completely opposite - outside of scrubbing the labels off of bottles, auditioning different yeasts is probably my least favorite aspect of brewing, and auditioning ingredient variations is far and away my favorite aspect.

    Since I am striving for consistent and reproducible results outside of tweaking recipes, going back to the drawing board with yeast has been a roadblock, so your passion and experience with the Brit strains is an invaluable resource. I think I'm going to pick 1318 and get brewing.

    I'm also hoping to brew your recipe for a mild sometime in late Jan/early Feb.

  5. You are a brewing machine. I planned on knocking out 3 beers on my vacation but only managed one. I have my ingredients for a Tim Taylor Landlord and a fresh pack of West Yorkshire Ale yeast. I definitely see some brewing in this weekend's forecast.


  6. Matt, I think you'll really like 1318. I'm just starting to get the point where I'm about settled on what strains I like and dislike and focus more on brewing more repeatable recipes. I will also be brewing my mild later this month, with 1318 too.

    Andrew, keep us posted about the Landlord. It is a great beer!


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