Colby House Porter

Colby House Porter

by Chris Colby

 

DESCRIPTION

This is an all-grain porter I have brewed, in one form or the other, over 25 times. It is a robust porter with a hint of molasses. (If you don’t tell anyone about the molasses, they probably won’t pick it up.) In some previous incarnations of the recipe, I also added brewers licorice. The first time I brewed it, back in 1991, the recipe was a slight alteration of a bock recipe from Charlie Papazian’s book. From there I’ve tweaked and retweaked it to my liking. (If you want it to compete at a BJCP contest, boost the OG and IBUs to the top of the category limit, or maybe 10% over.) The dark grains and hops are nicely balanced for a delicious aroma, full-flavor and very drinkable beer. This, along with my pale ale, is one my “go-to” beers that I try to have on tap as often as possible. My local water is high in carbonates and this is one of the few beer recipes I have that don’t require “cutting” my tap water with lots of distilled water.

INGREDIENTS (for 5 gallons)

 

Water Profile 

100 ppm calcium (Ca+2)

20 ppm magnesium (Mg+2)

300 ppm carbonate (HCO3)

Malts and Other Fermentables

(for an OG of 1.048 at 70% extract efficiency and an SRM of 58)

5.5 lb. 2-row English pale ale malt (Maris Otter)

1.0 lb. Munich malt

1.0 lb. crystal malt (40 °L)

7.0 oz. chocolate malt

6.0 oz. black patent malt

3.0 oz. roasted barley (500 °L)

12 fl. oz. molasses (boiled for 15 mins)

Hops (for 45 IBUs total)

Northern Brewer hops (40 IBUs)

1.2 oz. (at 9% alpha acids) boiled for 60 minutes

Fuggles hops (4.6 IBUs)

0.5 oz. (at 5% alpha acids) boiled for 15 minutes

Yeast (to attenuate to FG 1.011, for an ABV of 4.8%)

Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) yeast or

White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast

(a 2 qt. yeast starter is suggested)

Processing Aids and Other 

1 tsp. Irish moss (boiled for 15 mins)

1/2 tsp. yeast nutrients (boiled for 15 minutes)

7/8 cup corn sugar (to prime bottles for 2.2 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURE

Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of time. On brewday, heat 11 qts. of brewing liquor to 164 °F and mash grains, at 153 °F, for 45–60 minutes. Stir the mash a couple times if you can do so and maintain temperature (via heating mash tun or adding hot water). Add boiling water to mash out to 168 °F. Recirculate wort until clear, then run off. Sparge steadily over 75–90 minutes to collect about 7 gallons of wort. Vigorously boil wort for 90 minutes, to yield post-boil volume around 5.5 gallons. Add hops, Irish moss, molasses and yeast nutrients at times indicated. Chill wort, then rack to fermenter. Your yield should be about 5.25 gallons. Aerate wort thoroughly and pitch sediment from yeast starter. Ferment at 68 °F. After fermentation stops, let beer settle for 2–3 days, then rack directly to keg or bottling bucket, for a yield of 5 gallons. Carbonate to 2.2 volumes of CO2.

 

Colby House Porter

by Chris Colby

 

DESCRIPTION

This is an all-grain porter I have brewed, in one form or the other, over 25 times. It is a robust porter with a hint of molasses. (If you don’t tell anyone about the molasses, they probably won’t pick it up.) In some previous incarnations of the recipe, I also added brewers licorice. The first time I brewed it, back in 1991, the recipe was a slight alteration of a bock recipe from Charlie Papazian’s book. From there I’ve tweaked and retweaked it to my liking. (If you want it to compete at a BJCP contest, boost the OG and IBUs to the top of the category limit, or maybe 10% over.) The dark grains and hops are nicely balanced for a delicious aroma, full-flavor and very drinkable beer. This, along with my pale ale, is one my “go-to” beers that I try to have on tap as often as possible. My local water is high in carbonates and this is one of the few beer recipes I have that don’t require “cutting” my tap water with lots of distilled water.

INGREDIENTS (for 19 L)

 

Water Profile 

100 ppm calcium (Ca+2)

20 ppm magnesium (Mg+2)

300 ppm carbonate (HCO3)

 

Malts and Other Fermentables

(for an OG of 1.048 at 70% extract efficiency and an SRM of 58)

2.5 kg 2-row English pale ale malt (Maris Otter)

0.45 kg Munich malt

0.45 kg crystal malt (40 °L)

200 g chocolate malt

170 g black patent malt

85 g roasted barley (500 °L)

355 mL molasses (boiled for 15 mins)

 

Hops (for 45 IBUs total)

Northern Brewer hops (40 IBUs)

34 g (at 9% alpha acids) boiled for 60 minutes

Fuggles hops (4.6 IBUs)

14 g (at 5% alpha acids) boiled for 15 minutes

 

Yeast (to attenuate to FG 1.011, for an ABV of 4.8%)

Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) yeast or

White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast

(a 2 L yeast starter is suggested)

 

Processing Aids and Other 

1 tsp. Irish moss (boiled for 15 mins)

1/2 tsp. yeast nutrients (boiled for 15 minutes)

7/8 cup corn sugar (to prime bottles for 2.2 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURE

Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of time. On brewday, heat 10 L of brewing liquor to 73 °C and mash grains, 67 °C, for 45–60 minutes. Stir the mash a couple times if you can do so and maintain temperature (via heating mash tun or adding hot water). Add boiling water to mash out to 76 °C. Recirculate wort until clear, then run off. Sparge steadily over 75–90 minutes to collect about 26 L of wort. Vigorously boil wort for 90 minutes, to yield post-boil volume around 21 L. Add hops, Irish moss and yeast nutrients at times indicated. Chill wort, then rack to fermenter. Your yield should be about 20 L. Aerate wort thoroughly and pitch sediment from yeast starter. Ferment at 20 °C. After fermentation stops, let beer settle for 2–3 days, then rack directly to keg or bottling bucket, for a yield of 19 L. Carbonate to 2.2 volumes of CO2.

 

Colby House Porter

(Malt Extract Option)

by Chris Colby

 

DESCRIPTION

This is the malt extract adaptation of a porter I have brewed, in one form or the other, over 25 times. It is a robust porter with a hint of molasses. (If you don’t tell anyone about the molasses, they probably won’t pick it up.) In some previous incarnations of the recipe, I also added brewers licorice. The first time I brewed it, back in 1991, the recipe was a slight alteration of a bock recipe from Charlie Papazian’s book. From there I’ve tweaked and retweaked it to my liking. (If you want it to compete at a BJCP contest, boost the OG and IBUs to the top of the category limit, or maybe 10% over.) The dark grains and hops are nicely balanced for a delicious aroma, full-flavor and very drinkable beer. This, along with my pale ale, is one my “go-to” beers that I try to have on tap as often as possible. My local water is high in carbonates and this is one of the few beer recipes I have that don’t require “cutting” my tap water with lots of distilled water.

INGREDIENTS (for 5 gallons)

 

Water Profile 

100 ppm calcium (Ca+2)

20 ppm magnesium (Mg+2)

300 ppm carbonate (HCO3)

Malts and Other Fermentables

(for an OG of 1.048 at 70% extract efficiency and an SRM of 58)

1.0 lb. 2-row English pale ale malt (Maris Otter)

1.0 lb. Munich malt

1.0 lb. crystal malt (40 °L)

7.0 oz. chocolate malt

6.0 oz. black patent malt

3.0 oz. roasted barley (500 °L)

12 fl. oz. molasses (boiled for 15 mins)

1.25 lb. light dried malt extract (boiled for 60 minutes)

2.0 lb. light liquid malt extract (boiled for 15 minutes)

Hops (for 45 IBUs total)

Northern Brewer hops (40 IBUs)

1.2 oz. (at 9% alpha acids) boiled for 60 minutes

Fuggles hops (4.6 IBUs)

0.5 oz. (at 5% alpha acids) boiled for 15 minutes

Yeast (to attenuate to FG 1.011, for an ABV of 4.8%)

Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) yeast or

White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast

(a 2 qt. yeast starter is suggested)

Processing Aids and Other 

1 tsp. Irish moss (boiled for 15 mins)

1/2 tsp. yeast nutrients (boiled for 15 minutes)

7/8 cup corn sugar (to prime bottles for 2.2 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURE

This recipe makes use of a small partial mash. You can approach it as you would a regular malt-extract-with-steeped-grains brew, or you can mash the grains in a small beverage cooler. Instructions are given for both approaches.

Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of time. On brewday, heat 5.5 qts. of brewing liquor to 164 °F and mash grains in that volume, at 153 °F, for 45–60 minutes. You can do this by “steeping” the grains in your brewpot in one or two large steeping bags or by placing the grains in a large steeping bag, placing the bag in a 2-gallon or 3-gallon beverage cooler and mashing the grains in the cooler. The latter approach is much easier.

If “steeping” in your brewpot, when you’re done with the steep, lift the bags and let them drip into the pot. (You can twist them gently to push out a little extra liquid, but don’t wring them out thoroughly.) If you have a colander large enough to hold the grain bag(s), you can put the bag in it and rinse with a couple quarts of water at 170 °F.

If you mashed in a small cooler, recirculate by opening the spigot, collecting a few cups of wort and pouring that on top of the grain bed. Repeat until the wort runs clear. Then, collect the wort by drawing off a couple cups and placing it in your brewpot. Add the same amount of hot (170 °F) water to the top of your grain bed and repeat until you have collected 11 qts. of wort from the grains. (You’ll need about 6 quarts of water, heated to 170 °F, total.)

Add water to make at least 3 gallons of wort in your brewpot. Stir in dried malt extract and vigorously boil wort for 60 minutes. Add hops, Irish moss and yeast nutrients at times indicated. Stir in liquid malt extract during the final 15 minutes of the boil. (Stir well to avoid extract sinking to the bottom and scorching.) Chill wort, then rack to fermenter. Add water to yield about 5.25 gallons. Aerate wort thoroughly and pitch sediment from yeast starter. Ferment at 68 °F. After fermentation stops, let beer settle for 2–3 days, then rack directly to keg or bottling bucket, for a yield of 5 gallons. Carbonate to 2.2 volumes of CO2.

 

Colby House Porter

(Malt Extract Option)

by Chris Colby

 

DESCRIPTION

This is the malt extract adaptation of a porter I have brewed, in one form or the other, over 25 times. It is a robust porter with a hint of molasses. (If you don’t tell anyone about the molasses, they probably won’t pick it up.) In some previous incarnations of the recipe, I also added brewers licorice. The first time I brewed it, back in 1991, the recipe was a slight alteration of a bock recipe from Charlie Papazian’s book. From there I’ve tweaked and retweaked it to my liking. (If you want it to compete at a BJCP contest, boost the OG and IBUs to the top of the category limit, or maybe 10% over.) The dark grains and hops are nicely balanced for a delicious aroma, full-flavor and very drinkable beer. This, along with my pale ale, is one my “go-to” beers that I try to have on tap as often as possible. My local water is high in carbonates and this is one of the few beer recipes I have that don’t require “cutting” my tap water with lots of distilled water.

INGREDIENTS (for 19 L)

 

Water Profile 

100 ppm calcium (Ca+2)

20 ppm magnesium (Mg+2)

300 ppm carbonate (HCO3)

Malts and Other Fermentables

(for an OG of 1.048 at 70% extract efficiency and an SRM of 58)

0.45 kg 2-row English pale ale malt (Maris Otter)

0.45 kg Munich malt

0.45 kg crystal malt (40 °L)

200 g chocolate malt

170 g black patent malt

85 g roasted barley (500 °L)

355 mL molasses (boiled for 15 mins)

0.57 kg light dried malt extract (boiled for 60 minutes)

0.91 kg light liquid malt extract (boiled for 15 minutes)

Hops (for 45 IBUs total)

Northern Brewer hops (40 IBUs)

34 g (at 9% alpha acids) boiled for 60 minutes

Fuggles hops (4.6 IBUs)

14 g (at 5% alpha acids) boiled for 15 minutes

Yeast (to attenuate to FG 1.011, for an ABV of 4.8%)

Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) yeast or

White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast

(a 2 L yeast starter is suggested)

Processing Aids and Other 

1 tsp. Irish moss (boiled for 15 mins)

1/2 tsp. yeast nutrients (boiled for 15 minutes)

7/8 cup corn sugar (to prime bottles for 2.2 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURE

This recipe makes use of a small partial mash. You can approach it as you would a regular malt-extract-with-steeped-grains brew, or you can mash the grains in a small beverage cooler. Instructions are given for both approaches.

Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of time. On brewday, heat 5.2 L of brewing liquor to 73 °C and mash grains in that volume, at 67 °C, for 45–60 minutes. You can do this by “steeping” the grains in your brewpot in one or two large steeping bags or by placing the grains in a large steeping bag, placing the bag in a 8-L or 11-L beverage cooler and mashing the grains in the cooler. The latter approach is much easier.

If “steeping” in your brewpot, when you’re done with the steep, lift the bags and let them drip into the pot. (You can twist them gently to push out a little extra liquid, but don’t wring them out thoroughly.) If you have a colander large enough to hold the grain bag(s), you can put the bag in it and rinse with a couple quarts of water at 77 °C.

If you mashed in a small cooler, recirculate by opening the spigot, collecting a few cups of wort and pouring that on top of the grain bed. Repeat until the wort runs clear. Then, collect the wort by drawing off a couple cups and placing it in your brewpot. Add the same amount of hot (77 °C) water to the top of your grain bed and repeat until you have collected 10 L. of wort from the grains. (You’ll need about 5.5 L of water, heated to 77 °C, total.)

Add water to make at least 11 L of wort in your brewpot. Stir in dried malt extract and vigorously boil wort for 60 minutes. Add hops, Irish moss and yeast nutrients at times indicated. Stir in liquid malt extract during the final 15 minutes of the boil. (Stir well to avoid extract sinking to the bottom and scorching.) Chill wort, then rack to fermenter. Add water to yield about 20 L. Aerate wort thoroughly and pitch sediment from yeast starter. Ferment at 68 °F. After fermentation stops, let beer settle for 2–3 days, then rack directly to keg or bottling bucket, for a yield of 19 L. Carbonate to 2.2 volumes of CO2.

 

 

Comments

  1. It may be interesting to try Wyeast 1028 (London Ale) Yeast or WLP013 (London Ale) yeast with your recipe to see if it improves the malt and hop profile. Are you using Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) yeast or White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast with this brew because it’s better at flocculation or is there another reason you haven’t strayed away from it?

    • Chris Colby says:

      I’ve used Wyeast 1968 most of the times I’ve brewed this and I like the resulting beer. To me, it’s reminiscent of Fuller’s London Porter, which I like. (And 1968/002 are supposed to be the same strain as Fuller’s, so that makes a certain amount of sense.)

      Wyeast 1028 is more attenuative and has little different character, but it would probably make a fine porter with this recipe. I think most English ale strains would. Hmmm . . . maybe a split batch is in order.

      • It looks like a couple of brewers have had 80-81% apparent attenuation for both WLP002 and WLP013 if you read in the comments below the 2 yeast types on the WLP website. I recently brewed the NB Rye Porter with WLP013 and it was truly one of the best beers I’ve ever brewed/tasted. I’ve never had Fuller’s so I can’t compare it but now I’m on the hunt for it. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Ok, two quick questions:
    1) I put the molasses in the recipe in Brewtarget, but when I printed it out, it did not show up in my instructions, any idea how to add it to the recipe so it is figured into the calculations and also in the printout.

    2) Since I thought of it after I had it chilled with yeast in my carboy, I added the molasses directly to the carboy. Good, bad, or indifferent?

    • Chris Colby says:

      1.) I’m not familiar with Brewtarget, so I can’t answer that question. Sorry.

      2.) You’re probably OK, especially if you added it after fermentation had started. Molasses has enough sugar in it that it should suppress the growth of any contaminants. (High sugar solutions = not enough water for microbes to live.) Additionally, if you added it when there was any alcohol in the beer, that should have been enough to kill most surface contaminants (assuming the jar was opened prior to use in this recipe; if it was unopened, all the better).
      In the future, a safer way to do this would be to add a little water to the molasses and heat the solution to 170 °F (77 °C). Hold it there for 5 minutes, then cool and add to the fermenter when you rack to secondary (or late in primary fermentation).

      • Thanks, I put the Molasses in around a half hour after I put the yeast in, so it will be interesting. The jar was not opened so it should be clean I hope. I did rehydrate my yeast (S04) and I have a really nice head of krausen this morning so I am happy.

  3. Darryl Johnstone says:

    Hi Chris,

    Great work on the beer and wine journal. Even when some of the articles are just reminders and refreshers to a seasoned brewer… I still find myself reading the full articles and learning something new, or reinforcing something I already know.

    After the great porter articles (one of my favorite styles), I decided to give your recipe a try instead of my ‘usual’. Brew day was great, we’ll see in a few weeks how I made out with your house recipe.

    Cheers,
    -Darryl

  4. Sam Reese says:

    Chris,

    I really like your Colby House Porter and have brewed it three times. Thanks! But the last two times I have had trouble getting good attenuation. I used WLP005 British Ale one time and WLP002 English Ale the other. Each time I only got 58% attenuation, I did make 2 qt. starters using a stir plate 2-3 days ahead. I also added Wyeast yeast nutrient each time. I hit the mash temp within 1 degree and achieved my usual 75% efficiency and hit the 1.048 gravity target. I adjusted my local tap water (which is very good quality) using John Palmers RA spreadsheet to achieve your water specifications which required 7 grams chalk, 2 grams gypsum and 2 grams calcium chloride. I don’t normally have trouble getting good attenuation. I’m stumped. Any ideas?

    • Chris Colby says:

      How did the beer taste? Specifically, did it taste under-attenuated (too sweet)? If so, check the calibration on your thermometer. If not, check the calibration of your hydrometer. [Also, if you’re using a refractometer to check your FG, your measurement will be way off (although there is a formula you can use to correct it).]

      • Sam Reese says:

        Thanks for your reply. No, the beer didn’t taste overly sweet. I calibrate my thermometer with every batch, but I have not calibrated my hydrometer or refractometer lately. I use a refractometer for OG and a hydrometer for FG.

      • Chris , that was it! My hydrometer is reading 4 gravity units high. Thanks so much.

Trackbacks

  1. […] week, I decided to brew my porter. However, I knew it was going to be hot out, and at first I thought I’d make a 5.0-gallon (19-L), […]

  2. […] finally, I brewed my porter recipe that I have tweaked over the years. I brewed an all-grain version of this, scaled down to 3 gallons […]

  3. […] remember some years where I brewed a number of different batches. Each was different — pale ale, porter, “copper ale” — but they shared many similarities. All were ales, fermented with one of my […]

  4. […] Molasses (including treacle and blackstrap molasses) is a byproduct of refining cane sugar. After the sucrose crystals have been removed from the dark brown syrup made from heated cane juice, the remaining liquid is molasses. (Beet molasses is also produced, but is only suitable for use in animal feed.) Molasses and brown sugars — which are refined sugar with some refining byproducts either retained or added back to the sugar — add their distinct flavors when added to beer. Popular types of brown sugar include demerara, turbinado, muscovado and plain supermarket brown sugar. (I sometimes add molasses to my porter.) […]

  5. […] to 100%), for brown style porters. Don’t be afraid to aim for the middle ground, as I do in my porter. (I’ve done well with this porter in contests in which I’ve entered it as a robust […]

  6. […] and you should have a very drinkable porter. As one example of a porter, I would give my Colby House Porter. I’ve brewed this about 30 times and really like […]

  7. […] few of the recipes on this website are formulated with this method in mind. These are Colby House Porter, Beelzeboss (“saison” brewed with Mt. Dew), Fimbulvinter Øl (winter warmer), […]

  8. […] (38-L) stovetop recipe for a Scottish 70/- ale. Previous recipes formulated this way include: Colby House Porter, Fimbulviner Øl (winter warmer), Beelzeboss (“witbier” brewed with Mt. Dew), and […]

  9. […] malt. As an example, I’ll use my IPA recipe, Roswell IPA, and blend in aspects of my porter, Colby House Porter. An alternate approach, of course, would be to find a clone recipe of a beer you like and start […]

  10. […] to present a series of my recipes converted to the 3-gallon (11-L) scale. I’ll start with my “house porter” as it’s my most-frequently brewed beer and I’ve brewed it at the 3-gallon […]

  11. […] (23-L) batch. As such, you are brewing a 1.25X concentrate of your beer. I’ve chosen my Colby House Porter as an example, and the 6.0-gallon (23-L) 1.25 X concentrate recipe is given below. This beer is […]

  12. […] can give a nice edge to a robust porter or imperial stout. For example, I use a fair amount in my Colby House Porter, blended in with the other […]

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