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For many people, beer is a seasonal beverage. November, December, January and February are the months where a dark, smoky, full bodied beer pairs well with the cold weather. Especially when you’re up here in the mountains, like we are. Since it’s mid December, we decided to brew a Robust Smoked Porter, and it turned out to be a meal of a beer. The Alaskan Smoked Porter was our inspiration. Read on to see how we did it.
We brewed this beer with Clawhammer’s 120 volt electric BIAB homebrew system. Watch us use it in this brew day video below.
Brew Day Video
We started our brew day by adding 7.62 gallons (28.8 liters) of Asheville city water to our kettle. 10 minutes into the mash we checked our PH and it was sitting right at 5.3, which is perfect. We were aiming for a PH between 5.2 and 5.4.
Darker beers are perfect for beginner brewers because of PH. Darker malts help keep the PH in a desirable range without having to add citric or lactic acid. Usually these are added to lower the PH.
9 lbs (4 kg) Pale Malt
3 lbs (1.8 kg) Smoked Malt
1 lb (.5 kg) Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L
1 lb (.5 kg) Munich Malt
10.4 oz (295 g) Chocolate Malt
8 oz (226 g) Black (Patent) Malt
We mashed at 154° Fahrenheit (67° Celsius) for 60 minutes.
Once our 60 minute mash was over, we removed the grains and turned our controller to 100% of power to start our boil
At the top of our boil we did a 60 minute bittering addition of Chinook hops. We added .75 ounces (21 g).
Towards the end of our boil we did a 15 minute addition of East Kent Goldings. We added 1 ounce (28 g) of these.
Yeast and Fermentation
We chilled the wort down to pitching temp and added 2 packages of White Labs WLP001 California Ale yeast. We fermented it for three weeks at 67° Fahrenheit (19° Celsius).
The finished beer was exactly what we wanted. When we poured the beer, it had a milkshake of a head on top and a body that was too dark to see through. The first tasting note was “creamy” and the smoked malt came through just enough to pair well with the bitterness. We speculated that if we put any less smoked malt in we couldn’t taste it at all, so maybe for a more smoky flavor you could add a bit more. The final ABV was 6.56%, but it didn’t taste boozy at all. The verdict? “A dark beer for a cold evening.”