Two Re-brews, Pepperrell Porter and Lauds

Two of my favourite beers from last year were my Porter and my “Chardonnay aged” rye-saison and since one of my resolutions this year was to dial in a few of my recipes I decided to make my first two larger batches this year rebrews.

Pepperrell porter is largely unchanged from last year’s batch.  I really loved the long finish of the beer and the roasty chocolate character, so there was very little I wanted to change.  One thing that bothered me was a lacklustre head and poor retention, so I added a little toasted flaked wheat to improve that.

Robust Porter – 15 L Batch – 70% Total Efficiency

Mash-In 11.5 L @ 75 C – 60 minute step @ 68 C

2.5 kg Pale Malt
450 g Chocolate Wheat
450 g Melanoiden 10%
450 g Munich I 10%
250 g Carapils 7%
225 g Crystal 120L
100 g Flaked Toasted Wheat
50 g Black Malt

Batch Sparge 3.5 L / 12 L @ 75 C – 15 minute steps

90 Minute Boil

20 g Nugget – 60 minutes – 35 IBU
20 g Challenger – 20 Minutes – 11 IBU
20 g Willamette – 20 Minutes – 7 IBU
8 g Nugget – 0 Minutes – 2 IBU
8 g Challenger – 0 Minutes – 3 IBU
8 g Willamette – 0 Minutes – 1 IBU
— 59 IBU Total

Ferment: US-05 for 2 Weeks at 18 C

OG = 1.061, FG = 1.017

Lauds was by far my favourite beer I made last year. To be honest, it was one of my favourite beers that I drank last year. I guess that’s too be expect if you’re designing beer for yourself! I used 30 g of American Oak Chips this time to get the barrel character. I simply steamed them for fifteen minutes and then popped them into a jar with some unoaked Chardonnay for a week. I then drained the wine, wrapped the chips in cheese cloth and racked the beer over them after two weeks of fermentation. Usually around a week is all that’s needed to get enough oak character to make it interesting but not overpowering.

Saison (Barrel Aged) 6% – 15 L Batch – 70% Total Efficiency

Mash-in 11.5 L @ 71 C – 75 minute step at 64 C

2.5 kg Pale Malt – 56%
1.5 kg Rye Malt – 34%
200 g Victory Malt – 5%
200 g Soaked Rice Hulls – 5%

Batch Sparge 3.5 L / 11.5 L @ 76 C – 15 minute steps

90 Minute Boil

8 g German Magnum (14%) – 60 Minutes – 17 IBU
14 g Amarillo (10%) – 10 Minutes – 7 IBU
14 g Nelson Sauvin (12%) – 10 Minutes – 8 IBU
14 g East Kent Goldings (5%) – 5 Minutes – 2 IBU
14 g Amarillo (10%) – 2 Minutes – 1 IBU
— 35 IBU

Ferment: Danstar Belle Saison for 2 Weeks at 22 C

Secondary after 2 Weeks onto 30 g of American Oak soaked in Chardonnay for 1 Week.

OG = 1.055, FG = 1.005

This saison is always so tasty as it goes along! Right now it’s sitting in secondary and almost ready for bottling. I’m looking forward to having it back!

Update (April 4, 2014), I did a side-by-side tasting of both of these beers with their first iteration. Here are some notes:

2013
Aroma: Moderate esters, slightly roasty, with moderate bready character.
Appearance: Pretty thoroughly dark brown, approaching black. Very full light tan head with strong head retention.
Flavour: Strong caramel and bready malts. Fruity esters with a long dry, roasty finish. Fairly sweet…
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with moderate carbonation.
Overall: A fruity, roasty, malty – almost Oreo-like – dark ale. Similar to Founders Porter.

2014
Aroma: Roasty, toffee and bread. Not so much fruity, but I get a bready yeast character that isn’t great.
Appearance: Approaching black, dark tan head with retention around the sides of the glass.
Flavour: Toffee, black malt, chocolate, light coffee. Balanced bitterness (could stand to be a little higher). Not quite as dry as the other version. Medium sweet.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with moderate carbonation.
Overall: Roasty, balanced, but a little muted. A little more like Black Butte.

Comments: Both beers are notably the same beer, but with differences. The biggest being the yeast. The 2013 used Northwest Ale Yeast while the 2014 used US-05 (American Ale). The Northwest produced a lot of fruity (cheery, strawberry) with ageing which provide a large part of the taste in this older bottle. The US-05 did not finish as clean as I would have hoped and has a little bit of a clingy bread-yeast character in the beer. Both beers are a little low on that burnt malt character and the bitterness could be bumped on both to better account for my actual utilization. More hops might help spice the 2014 more, which is somewhat one dimensional despite all the hops added. I think yeast choice is a major thing here, and US-05 might just be too simple to impart enough complexity. Try Irish Ale next time (reuse the yeast from NLBS?).

Keys: Bring up the roast character (end of mash black malt: 2% in 2013, 1.1% in 2014; try 3% in 20XX), remove the melanoiden which fattens out the beer (Munich should do), more Flaked Wheat (2.2% -> 4%), try Irish Ale Yeast.

2014 tastes more like a porter, but it needs some work in the aroma to come up. Really lacking in roasty character, could stand more aroma hops, and perhaps a different yeast choice.

Also, 2013 used Marris Otter, so perhaps that’s just more flavourfull (obvi.). Also, I think the chocolate malt used was chocolate wheat, which doesn’t seem to work as well, use barley next time.

In short, better yeast and more roasty. And Lauds:

2013:
Appearence: Clear amber with strong white head retention.
Aroam: Stone fruitys, oaky chardonnay barrel (more pronounced in this one), some spicy saison yeast, floral strawberries
Taste: Peppery, more bright strawberry, stone fruit, dry.
Mouthfeel: Light, dry, crisp.
Overall: Lauds rules.

2014:
Appearence: Hazy brown-amber with strong white head retention.
Aroma: Stone fruits, slight barrel (soaked oak chips longer for this one, perhaps shouldn’t have – not as much oak), more yeasty character, but not as clean (used Belle Saison, which also didn’t floc as well), slight apply character, more lemon
Taste: More bready, sweeter
Mouthfeel: Slightly thicker, still dry but not quite as crisp.
Overall: Use Dupont Strain not Belle Saison, also, soak chips less so they loose less oak character.

In short, better yeast! Time to look into a stir plate.

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