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Friday, October 19, 2012

Come Drink My Homebrew Tomrrow at the Staten Island Yankees' Brewfest

Hey, everyone.  I just wanted to write in with a quick update to let you know that I'll be attending tomorrow's Staten Island Yankee's Brewfest.  As part of the festival, they're hosting a homebrewing competition, which I'll be wholeheartedly participating in.  My co-brewer, Tony, and I will be one of twenty homebrewers who'll be offering samples of our beer to the masses.  Our main competition beer will be Kala, our award-winning exotically spiced Sweet Stout, though we'll also have a few gallons of a Pseudo-Historic British Blend as back-up in case we run out early.  Tickets are still available and are offered at a $10 discount if you purchase them early.  Grab a few for you and your friends, then drop by my station and say hello while I pour you a few samples.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Gentleman Jack O'Lantern Revisited: Recipe & Reviews of my Fall Favorite

Well, it's that time of year again.  Bright and early at 6am every morning, my alarm goes off, and when I open my eyes, it's still dark out.  Blerg.  For the first few minutes, it's depressing as hell.  Then, I realize that the cold weather is coming and with it, delicious Fall dishes and drinks, chock full of warming spices, maple syrup, and, of course, pumpkin.  It's a great reminder to check my fermenters because its time to bottle Gentleman Jack O'Lantern, my whiskey barrel-aged Pumpkin Ale that, by now, has been aging for several months.

This beer is far and away the most laborious of any of my brews, but its easily one of my favorites and has received much praise from peers and professionals alike.  I often jokingly describe it as "a Pumpkin Ale for people who hate Pumpkin Ales, while still being a Pumpkin Ale."  Unlike some other anti-Pumpkin Ales, like Sixpoint Autumnation, which is more of an IPA, Gentleman Jack O'Lantern is very much a traditional Pumpkin Ale in terms of its flavor profile.  However, it is much bigger than your average Fall seasonal and fermented atypically dry, which is only emphasized by the sharp finish of the oak and whiskey.  The end result is a smooth, slow-sipping beer that's a perfect nightcap for those cool Autumn evenings.

The recipe for this beer changes annually as I continue to tweak it to perfection.  However, it's so time consuming to make that I don't want to post a recipe before it's really been enjoyed and I've received professional feedback on it, so I'm actually posting last year's rendition.  This version came out substantially better than the first, linked above, due to the few tweaks.  The largest improvements came from the removal of 6-row American malt for superior Maris Otter Malt, which added a richer toasted character to the beer, and the decision to dump the oak soaking liquid, rather than adding it to the beer, which removed many of the harsh tannins that detracted from GJ 1.0.

To give you an idea of the quality of this concoction, I entered it into the American Homebrewer's Association's National Homebrew Competition.  As luck would have it, the one bottle I submitted happened to be overcarbonated and exploded all over the judges.  It was also entered incorrectly as I forgot to denote the "base style" (I entered it into category 22C, "Wood Aged Beer").  However, despite the marks off for these issues, it still scored an impressive 38 and received a silver certificate, with one judge saying, "I hate spiced beers, but this was wonderful and really works for me. There are so many subtle things going on."

Anyway, without further adieu, I give you, Gentleman Jack O'Lantern 2.0.

Gentleman Jack O'Lantern 2.0

Yield: 5 Gallons

Soak 3 oz of Medium Toast American Oak Cubes in Gentleman Jack.
Roast 2 lbs of canned or fresh pumpkin for 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

5 lbs of Maris Otter Malt
3 lbs of Vienna Malt
2 lbs of Munich Malt
2 lbs of Roasted Pumpkin
1 lbs of CaraFoam Malt

1 oz of Sterling Hops (60 minutes)
1 tsp of Irish Moss (20 minutes)
1 oz of Hallertau Hops (10 minutes)
1/2 tsp of Wyeast Yeast Nutrient (10 minutes)
1-3/4 lbs of Organic Grade B Maple Syrup (10 minutes)
3/4 tsp of Cocoa Powder (End of Boil)
3/4 tsp of Cinnamon (End of Boil)
1/2 tsp of Nutmeg (End of Boil)
1/2 tsp of Allspice (End of Boil)
1/4 tsp of Clove (End of Boil)
1/4 tsp of Coriander (End of Boil)

Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast
Pasteur Champagne Yeast

3 oz of Medium Toast American Oak w/ Gentleman Jack (3-4 months)

1. Start your brew day by roasting the pumpkin.  When finished, it should have nice golden-brown caramelization to it.
2. Once the pumpkin is in the oven, lay the toasted oak chips out in a dish with a sealable top. Tupperware works great.  Pour the Gentleman Jack over them until they're completely covered.  It'll probably be about 6-7 ounces overall.  Cover the dish and set it aside at room temperature.  This step not only sanitizes the wood chips with alcohol, but allows the whiskey to soak into the wood, which will later infuse into the beer.
3. Mash the grain, pumpkin and additives at 152 degrees for 60 minutes.
4. Sparge at 175 degrees.
5. Boil the wort for 60 minutes, following the above schedule.
6. Cool rapidly and transfer to carboy, leaving sediment behind.
7. Pitch yeast, rock carboy to aerate, and close the airlock.  This is a big beer, so it will either require a yeast started or an additional yeast pack for efficient fermentation.  You want it to ferment dry, so if the yeast looks like it's slowing up, shake the carboy up and get them back into suspension.
8. When final gravity is achieved, transfer to secondary fermenter, then remove oak chips from soaking liquid and add to beer.
9. Age for 3-4 months.
10. Clarify and bottle with a teaspoon or so of rehydrated champagne yeast.

Original Gravity: 1.075
Final Gravity: 1.015
ABV: 8.0% (before whiskey)
IBU: 22.5
SRM: 16.0 (Copper)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Farmers' Market Farmhouse Ale: A Cocktail-Inspired Cucumber-Mint Saison

Every summer I like to whip up at least one batch of Saison with crazy culinary-influenced ingredients.  I always use the same base recipe, because I love my base Saison, but make tweaks here and there depending on my inspiration du jour.  A few years back, it was my hop-centric, oak-aged Best of Both Worlds Saison, which placed fifth for the region in the 2010 Sam Adams Longshot competition.  Last year, it was my saffron and rosewater infused Mediterraneus.  This year, I decided to follow in the footsteps of my recent Blueberry-Infused Beer Cocktail and draw inspiration from the world of Mixology.

Mixture of Agave Syrup, Whole Hops and Indian Coriander

In NYC, particularly during the warm weather, there has been a definite trend towards cucumber-based, herb-infused cocktails.  Some people have a hard time getting behind drinks that smell like salads, but I'm all for it.  I think they're light, refreshing, and have the potential to be incredibly delicious if well handled.  I've never had a cucumber-mint cocktail specifically, but I love the combination in culinary situations, so I figured I'd try my hand at it.

Saison in Secondary being Dry-Hopped, Dry-Cuked and Dry-Minted

For a first try, particularly given that I couldn't find any information on brewing with cucumbers or mint and had to basically guess at quantities, it far exceeded my expectations.  It's predominantly a classic, easy drinking Saison, but finished with a subtle, yet distinctive cucumber flavor.  The fresh aromatics of the mint blend well with the bight, citrusy American hops, and the agave nectar adds a nice orangey hue and crisp, dry finish.

This is what I'll be drinking for the remainder of the warm weather, particularly next weekend at the annual Yauburger competition (which I'll write about in a future post).  If you try the recipe, let me know what you think.  If cucumber and mint isn't for you, feel free to try something else with my Saison base. It's a great candidate for experimentation.  Enjoy.

Farmers' Market Farmhouse Ale

Yield: 5 Gallons

3 lbs. of Dark Wheat Malt
8 oz. of Torrified Wheat

1/2 oz. of Amarillo Hops (60 minutes)
1/2 oz. of Cascade Hops (20 minutes)
1 tsp of Irish Moss (20 minutes)
0.5 tsp of Wyeast Yeast Nutrient (10 minutes)
1/4 oz. of Amarillo Hops (End of Boil)
1/4 oz. of Cascade Hops (End of Boil)
1/4 oz. of Indian Coriander (End of Boil)
8 oz. of Raw Agave Syrup (End of Boil)


Post Fermentation:
1-1/2 lbs. of English Cucumbers (7-14 Days)
3/4 oz. of Fresh Mint (7-14 Days)
1/4 oz. of Amarillo Hops (7-14 Days)
1/4 oz. of Cascade Hops (7-14 Days)

1. Mash grain at 155 degrees for 60 minutes.
2. Sparge at 170 degrees.
3. Boil wort for 60 minutes and add ingredients following above schedule.
4. Cool rapidly and transfer to carboy, leaving sediment behind.
5. Pitch yeast, rock carboy to aerate, and close with airlock.
6. When final gravity is achieved, transfer to secondary fermenter.
7. Peel and dice the cucumber, add the whole mint leaves and dry-hops, muddle them all together, then add to a hop bag and toss into the secondary fermenter with the beer.
7. Age for 7-14 days.
8. Bottle or keg as usual.

Original Gravity: 1.050-1.051
Final Gravity: 1.009-1.010
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 23
SRM: 10 (Gold/Copper)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Black Sheep Ale House: Long Island's Best Beer Bar

Yes, I stole this photo from Niko Krommydas & Black Sheep. Sue me. Not really, though.

Yep. I went there. I think The Black Sheep Ale House is Long Island's best beer bar. Right now, you might be asking yourself, "Why? Why not Waterzooi, with their delicious Belgian fare and impressive bottle list? Why not Croxley's or The Lark or any of the other countless pub-style bars scattered around the island?" At this point, you could stumble into an Applebee's on Long Island and find an impressive selection of local drafts. Hell, you might even be thinking, "What the crap is The Black Sheep Ale House?" Either way, it's a damn good thing I'm here to answer all those questions.

The Black Sheep Ale House is a relative newcomer to the local craft scene, owned by the former Manager of Croxley's New York on the Lowest East Side of Manhattan. Nestled within the backstreets of Mineola, the bar is hidden well enough that you would never find it if you didn't specifically know where to look, but is actually only a stone's throw from the Mineola train station.

The location is the first of many reasons why Black Sheep is amazing. For starters, getting to and from is a cinch. Want to indulge in that crazy, 14% ABV Barleywine on tap? Go nuts and grab a cab from the taxi stand at the station. Simple, easy, safe. But on top of that, the side street locale works wonders to ward off walk-ins and bar-hoppers, so the patrons are largely regulars, always friendly, and the place is never over-crowded. This allows the bartenders, who I've always found friendly and extremely knowledgeable, to relax, strike up a conversation, and answer questions. It makes the whole thing feel less formal than a lot of other places and more like people just hanging out, which I love.

Stolen from Yelp, which is why it isn't as nice as the previous photo.

Another component that makes Black Sheep the best beer bar on Long Island is, obviously, the beer. The guys and gals that run this joint put together an ever-evolving list of 25 taps, 75 bottles and 1 cask that, in my opinion, could rival the best of what Manhattan bars have to offer, which is no small feat for an off-the-beaten-path pub. They recognize that building a beer list isn't just about quantity, but also quality, and devise a nightly menu that finds the perfect balance of styles from around the globe, but largely emphasizes budding local breweries, like Blind Bat, Barrier and Spider Bite. Brewers and reps from these start-ups are often invited down to host tap takeovers, where patrons can enjoy their brews at discounted prices while picking the brewers brain, which is great in the low-key environment and has major appeal to a homebrewer such as myself. The icing on the cake is that Black Sheep isn't afraid to jump on a rare or one-off keg of something if its really extraordinary, even if its pricey. I've had the pleasure to try such oddities as Firestone Walker XV, Southern Tier Oak-Aged Pumking, and Smuttynose Satchmo, all of which were incredible and priced far cheaper than I'd seen anywhere else.

Most importantly, though, Black Sheep Ale House was clearly designed with the customers in mind. It's that element that really separates them from the pack. They make it obvious upon entry that their bar is your space and you could do whatever you like. Want to watch the game? There are 11 HDTV's that they're more than happy to tune to whatever you'd like. Want to catch up with old friends? There are always quiet seats in the back. Need a bite to eat? They don't have a kitchen, but serve up free hot dogs all day. Once for a birthday party, they even let my friends and I come in, claim the large back table, decorate it in mustache paraphernalia, and bring in a full cake with plates and cutlery. Every Wednesday is Trivia Night with photographer, blogger and all-around Long Island craft expert, Niko Krommydas, that, though I've never been, is supposed to be awesome. Oh, and the bathrooms are lined with chalk boards to graffiti to your heart's content, the contents of which get increasingly more ridiculous and awesome as the night progresses and the drinks continue to flow. It's all a testament to how much they care that you're comfortable and enjoying yourself.

Some late-night, chalkboard absurdity from FourSquare.

What really sealed the deal for me, though, was when I saw this posted on Black Sheep's Facebook Wall on July 10th:

"Some guy asked me how the bar's been doing since we started selling all those 'upscale', 'high-end', 'pricey' beers. From now until Labor Day, draughts from all 25 taps are $4, every day, all the time. Fuck you, guy."

The layers of win in that statement, like an onion of awesomesauce, completely blew my mind. Black Sheep wasn't afraid to put their money where their mouth is and have kept true to their statement. $4 for anything on tap, all the time, until Labor Day. Since the announcement I've been to many happy hours, and by happy hour, I mean 10pm on a Tuesday, because it's always happy hour, suckas.

Try to get out to Black Sheep before the holiday and take advantage of the best deal in the history of craft beer. I promise, you'll quickly discover why this hidden gem is the best beer bar on Long Island. Whatever you're into, whatever kind of person you are, they'll find a way to make you feel like you're at home, albeit slightly more intoxicated. Pretty soon, you'll become a regular and find yourself returning long after the Labor Day deals are over.

Friday, August 3, 2012

R.I.P. Brooklyn Brewery's Monster the Cat

Last week, I saw on Brooklyn Brewery's blog that Monster the Cat has, sadly, passed away.  Many years ago, when Steve Hindy was still running the joint, he went out to a local shelter to find himself a mouser.  What he brought home was a cat of such character that he became the brewery's longtime pet, mascot, guest blogger, tasting room host, assistant brewer, and all-around feline celebrity, with features on Animal Planet, Time Out NY, and countless others.

In his honor, it only seemed appropriate to break out a cellared bottle of his namesake, Monster Ale.  Friday night happy hours at the brewery won't be the same without you, buddy.  This one's for you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beat the Heat with This Homemade Blueberry-Infused Cocktail

As I'm sure all of you have noticed, it has been hot as a mother this year.  According to Discovery News, it has, in fact, been the hottest half-year in the history of the United States.  Pretty friggin' intense.  In weather like this, I find there are few things more satisfying than a nice Belgian Pale Ale or a fruit-forward cocktail utilizing seasonal ingredients... So, for your drinking pleasure, I figured I'd whip up a beer-based beverage that brings both of those elements together.

The idea for this cocktail popped into my head about a year ago when I was having dinner at Chris Santos' Beauty & Essex on the Lowest East Side of Manhattan.  Along with some of the most incredible food I've ever eaten (for the love of god, go there and get Oven Braised Chicken Meatballs), this swanky, speakeasy-style small-plate restaurant offers a wide array of vintage-modern cocktails that are unparalleled.  Though we were pretty well floored by all of them, the one that really stood out was the Sapphire Seventy-Five.  This drink mixed a blueberry-infused gin with homemade sour mix in a champagne flute, then topped the whole shebang with a few ounces of sparkling wine.  I remember the light bulb illuminating moment where I thought, "Hey, I could make this... WITH BEER!"

Now sure, the easy way to put this together would be to go to the grocery store, grab some Leffe Blonde, a bottle of Master of Mixes, a bunch of blueberries, throw that shit in a blender and call it a day.  However, if you've ever seen me cooking or brewing in the kitchen, you'd quickly learn, for better or worse, that I don't do anything the easy way.  Sure, sometimes it blows up in my face... literally... but on a whole, I find making things from scratch to be far more rewarding and, more often than not, far more delicious that your run-of-the-mill supermarket fare.  So, off I went making my own blueberry-infused gin, sweet and sour mix, and, of course, scouring the ends of the Earth to find the perfect beer.

Blueberry-Infused Gin

I started by heading to Bottle Buys for some Gin to use as the base.  Though I'm not particularly versed in the world of aromatized spirits, I've always been partial to Plymouth Gin, so I picked up a bottle.  I find it more herbal and less medicinal than other popular brands, so I thought it would work well with the blueberries and yield a delicious infusion that would be perfect for a light summer cocktail.  Coincidentally, when I looked online for advice on homemade infusions, I found this article on Kitchen Confidence, which referenced this article from Post Prohibition, both of which made blueberry infusions with Plymouth Gin.  Booyah.  I quickly fell in love with both blogs, particularly Post Prohibition, which has some of the most incredible content and gorgeous booze-related photos I've seen.  These people clearly know more about this shit than me, so I followed their guidelines.

Basically, you use a ratio of 4 cups of organic blueberries to one 750ml bottle of gin, which I scaled down significantly, just in case I screwed it up.  You start by tossing the blueberries in a pot over very low heat for about 5 minutes, until the fruit begins to release its juice but still has some texture, then you remove it.  When cooled, you pour the whole pot o' deliciousness, juice, solids, and all, into a sealable jar and top it with the gin.  I didn't have a container large enough, so in a sheer act of classiness, used a clean flower vase, plastic wrap and rubber bands.  After 5-7 days in a cool, dark place, you run the mixture through a strainer and/or a coffee filter to remove any solids, transfer it to a clear container, then pop that bad boy in the fridge.

The blueberries come through much more in the aroma than the taste of this mixture, which is still pretty gin-tastic, but I see that as more of a pro than a con.  This process just adds a nice, fruity overtone to the bitter, herbal character of the spirit, that makes it fantastic for summer cocktails.  It's definitely worth trying.

Homemade Sour Mix

Next, I went on to make my own sour mix.  Apparently, its ridiculously easy, requiring only 3 or 4 ingredients, and maybe 5 minutes of your time.  It makes me wonder why people ever bought the giant, plastic jugs of processed mixers to begin with.  There are a ton of recipes out there, all largely the same, so I went with one by Emeril Lagasse.  I made it first per his instructions, but found it a touch too watery and lemony, so I doubled the batch and tweaked it accordingly.  I found this mixture suited my tastes:

1-1/2 oz. of fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. of fresh lime juice
2 oz. of sugar
3 oz. of water

Toss all of the ingredients into a bowl, stir until the sugar dissolves completely, transfer it to a sealable container, toss it in the fridge, and voila!  Stupidly simple sour mix.

The Beer

From there, it was time to find the beer.  I bounced back and forth quite a bit thinking about what would be appropriate to put in this cocktail.  It had to be light, somewhat dry and well carbonated, but those were really the only requirements.  Obvious choices were Witbier or Hefeweizen, but the brightness and bitterness of an American IPA or something crazy like Sorachi Ace may have worked well, too.  Then, I cracked open a bottle of AMA Bionda.  This Belgian-style Pale Ale is brewed in Italy, by Birra Amacord, but the recipe, which features aromatic malts, three varieties of hops, and Italian Orange Blossom Honey, was a collaboration with Brooklyn Brewery's Brewmaster, Garrett Oliver.  It was exactly what I was looking for.

The idea for this beer was to create a fairly light-bodied and neutral flavored beer for the Italian dinner table that had the complexity and intrigue of weightier brews.  Based on that criteria, I'd say the brewers accomplished their goal.  It's sold in a gorgeous, teardrop-shaped bottle and looks beautiful in the glass, with its hazy, golden-orange hue and fluffy white head.  It definitely shows restraint in both the flavor and aromatics, but has a nice, dry snap to its finish that makes it perfect to share over a family meal.  It's undeniably a flawlessly brewed beer, perfectly "to style" in every conceivable way, and one I'd be happy to drink an alarming amount of on a hot summer day.  That being said, were I to brew it myself, I think it could use just one more ingredients, one pinch of something to add a subtle, distinctive characteristic.  This got me thinking, if I can't put stuff into the beer, I could sure as hell put the beer into stuff and use it as the cocktail base.  As they say in Italy, "Perfetto!"

And Finally... The Cocktail

Alas, with the perfect beer identified, it was finally time to construct my cocktail.  Aside from the ingredients mentioned above, I thought it would be a nice touch to take a few of the remaining fresh blueberries, skewer them on a toothpick and toss them in the freezer.  There's so much juice in blueberries that I figured they'd freeze solid and work similarly to ice cubes to keep the drink chilled, but instead of diluting the drink with water as it thawed, it'd add a nice dose of berry goodness.  Plus, when you're done with the drink, you get a booze-soaked snack at the bottom of the glass.  I think it worked extremely well, functionally, and acted as expected, but Erin was less stoked about it.  She didn't dig the fact that the blueberries were rather textureless after they thawed.  We also both agreed that due to the haziness of the drink and my lack of fancy-dancy cocktail paraphernalia, it didn't add much to the aesthetics. I think in the future, I'd use a lot more blueberries on a longer skewer in a more decorative fashion.  Or think up a different way to present it.

But anyway... I digress.  Here is the official recipe:

Yield: 1 Serving
1 oz. Blueberry-Infused Plymouth Gin
1 oz. Homemade Sour Mix
AMA Bionda Beer
Frozen Blueberry Skewer

Combine the gin and sour mix, shake over ice and strain into champagne flutes.  Top the glass with beer (about 4-5 ounces worth) and garnish with a frozen blueberry skewer.

I think it came out pretty damn good for one of my first attempts at making my own cocktail, particularly given that I also made the mixers.  I think it'd be great poolside on a warm afternoon, or at a backyard barbecue, or, in my case, in the sweltering heat of a 6th floor Queens apartment with insufficient air conditioning.  If you give it a try, let me know what you think.

Also, this cocktail is currently nameless.  I couldn't think of anything clever, but the window of opportunity where it'd be seasonally appropriate to post about a blueberry beverage was closing quickly, so I just went for it.  If you come up with any good ideas, let me know, and I'd be happy to send some homebrew your way.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Pseudo-Historic Porter Project Part I: Mild Porter

Hello, friends.  I've finally returned to the world of blogging, and in my absence I've kept incredibly busy.  My co-brewer and I have whipped up a test batch of Chocolate Raspberry Milk Stout, based on my Kala recipe, which I'll likely write about sometime next week.  I've also brewed this year's batch of Gentleman Jack O'Lantern, which is aging on oak as we speak, and put together a Cucumber Mint Saison, based on my Mediterraneus and Best of Both Worlds recipes, that should be bottled within the next week or two.  Clearly, there is a lot going on over here.

My most ambitious project, though, is a series of pseudo-historic beers where I apply some age-old techniques and ingredients to modern recipes to see what sort of effect they have.  I've been doing a lot of reading lately on English ales from the 18th and 19th century and wanted to try my hand at some of the now largely obsolete approaches they took.  I plan to use large quantities of old-fashioned toasted grains, like Amber and Brown Malt, which were the main specialty grains in British beer before the technology existed to make Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley.  I also bought a 50 lb. (yes, fifty pound) sack of Maris Otter malt from Warminster Maltings to use as the backbone for all of these beers.  These self-proclaimed Malt-Stars hand-select barley from local farms to undergo a traditional floor-malting process identical to that used 200+ years ago, resulting in a richer, more robust base malt.  I hope that using Maris Otter consistently will add a distinctively British flair that will tie all of the beers together.  On the process end of things, I hope to employ techniques such as barrel-aging, souring, and the blending of different beers, both fresh and old, to create new concoctions.

The first beer in the series is a Mild Porter.  The goal was to make something slightly roastier than a modern Brown Porter, but not quite as heavy on the coffee notes as a Robust Porter.  I wanted to use a substantial amount of Brown Malt as the main flavor component, but incorporate some roasted malts to relate it back to modern beer. The term "Mild" in contemporary British brewing means low in alcohol, but 200 years ago that wasn't necessarily the case.  "Mild" denoted beer intended to be consumed fresh, whereas "Keeping" beer was intended for aging.  This recipe was designed to be mid-strength so that I could split the batch for both Mild and Keeping Porter.  Two gallons of Mild Porter were bottled from the batch, whereas the additional three gallons were racked onto charred oak and pitched with a mixed culture of wild yeast.

The Mild Porter is delicious right now, albeit slightly darker and roastier than I anticipated.  Next batch, I'll likely scale back the Chocolate Malt.  It also had some fermentation issues.  The gravity stuck at about 1.035 and wouldn't finish, so I added additional yeast, which went to town and dried the beer more than anticipated.  It could probably use a touch more residual sugar.  That being said, it tastes fantastic and has some of the most phenomenal aromatics I've coaxed from a beer thus far.  The Brown Malt makes itself particularly apparent here, with a rich, warming scent reminiscent of the crust on freshly baked bread.  It isn't exactly a warm weather beer, but its delicious enough that I don't mind at all.

The Keeping Porter is still fermenting with the wild yeast, and will continue to do so for the next few months, but when it's ready to go, a portion will be bottled straight and another will be blended.  I'll be sure to document both of those here for your reading pleasure.  Check out the recipe below and enjoy!

Mild Porter

Yield: 5 Gallons

7-1/2 lbs. of Maris Otter Malt
1 lb. of Brown Malt
1 lb. of Crystal Malt 40L
5 oz. of Chocolate Malt 350L
3 oz. of Smoked Malt

3/4 oz. of Northern Brewer Hops (60 min.)
3/4 oz. of Fuggle Hops (20 min.)
1 tsp of Irish Moss (20 min.)
1/2 tsp of Yeast Nutrient (10 min.)
1/4 oz. of Northern Brewer Hops (End of Boil)
1/4 oz. of Fuggle Hops (End of Boil)
4 oz. of Molasses (End of Boil)

Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast

1. Mash grains at 155 degrees for 60 minutes.
2. Sparge at 175 degrees.
3. Boil for 60 minutes following the above schedule.
4. Cool rapidly and transfer to carboy, leaving sediment behind.
5. Pitch yeast, aerate carbon and secure with airlock or blow-off.
6. Ferment at 70 degrees for two weeks.
7. Bottle directly from primary. No secondary fermentation is needed.

Original Gravity: 1.058
Final Gravity: 1.009
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 30
SRM: 23 (Dark Brown to Black)