Monday, April 16, 2012

Session Porter Tasting

After a rather slow spring, things have finally picked up around here. I am right in the middle of a few big projects for work and between that and prior commitments, my time for brewing has been slowly fading away. On top of it all, I may soon be venturing into the pro-brewing world. It's been hectic to say the least. However, there is always time for beer... drinking. Recently, some friends and I spent an evening around a campfire drinking beer. I brought a few growlers of my porter to share and after a few hours of beer-y relaxation under the stars, we made a proper session out of it. Session beer... made for drinking. Who knew?

shitty camera
Session Porter: Brown Porter

Appearance – From the tap it pours a deep black with beautiful, clear-ruby highlights and a moderate tan colored head. Retention is fair with some lacing.

Aroma – First impression is of dark chocolate and coffee with some light and earthy hops on the end. As the beer warms, it develops a pleasant chocolate and toffee candy type of aroma. Reminds me of those chocolate covered caramel candies I used to buy as a kid...Rolos. Esters are lightly fruity and there is a slight hop presence. No diacetyl. 

Taste – Lots of toffee and light coffee flavor with chocolate, biscuit, and dry cocoa in support. Some earthy, fuggles hop character and light English yeast esters. No diacetyl. The beer goes down very easy and has a good balance of flavors. No one flavor takes the lead. The beer finishes rather dry but has a nice caramel sweetness on the end that balances everything out. Probably have the yeast to thank for that. Bitterness levels are low and the overall balance of flavors is squarely on the malt. 

Mouthfeel – Carbonation is adequate, probably on the lower side of things, but fine for the style. The mouthfeel is medium and creamy. 

Drinkability & Notes – Another tasty porter. Nothing about the beer is 'in-your-face' but it does pack a good amount of flavor for such a little thing. There really isn't anything about the recipe I would change at the moment, except maybe skipping the flameout addition, as I did get more hop character than I originally intended. Nothing major though. I think the key to making this type of beer is getting a good balance of flavors. Too often the beer gets completely overwhelmed by a single malt (usually chocolate or roast) and you don't get the different layers of flavors. I think the next time I brew a porter, I'll do something similar to this but increase the gravity into the 'robust' range. 

O.G: 1.043, F.G: 1.012, 4.0% ABV, 24 IBU, Wyeast 1318 London III


  1. Looks beautiful. I'm starting to realise just how difficult it is to produce really tasty session beers. It seems to me that it's pretty easy to pack tons of flavour into big beers, but there's a lot of finesse needed to tease a really impressive flavour profile from the modest grain bill a session beer requires.

    I just tapped my version of your session bitter last night. I used victory in place of the toasted MO, and while it's probably not as intensely flavoured as your version, it's a really drinkable beer. I would like to try the toasted MO though. I'm definitely more of a gulper than a sipper, so session beers are my thing, though I don't have things dialed in quite as I would like just yet. You seem to be getting there!

    1. Hey, glad to hear the beer came out well enough! As simple as session beers are, it can indeed be difficult to get them just right. Packing flavor into a little bitter or porter without it being over the top or harsh tasting can be a tough thing. I'm still working on getting my beers just right, there is always room for improvement.


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