So its getting to that time of year again. As some of you will remember, the past few New Years Days I, and a few other members of the brewing fraternity, have undertaken a NYD brew-day to keep until the following New Years Eve. The brews so far have been Russian Imperial Stouts. Links below will take you to various threads and blog posts from last years cohort!
- My Titan Imperial Stout Parti-Gyle brewday
- Spikesdad’s Imperial Stout
- Barney’s Imperial Stout
- pdtnc’s Abyss Imperial Stout
- Lugsy’s Super Massive Black Hole Imperial Stout
- Jimp2003′s Event Horizon RIS (Slightly Belated)
- Tom Dobson’s Old Black Imperial Stout
Talking to other members of the ever growing NYD brewing brethren, this years offerings appear a little more eclectic than previous efforts. There is a distinct funky, sour, wild vibe around the camp. I know that recipes have been circulating and ideas toing and froing over twitter. Minds have been made and un made. Well time waits for no man, or beer it would seem.
My line in the sand has been drawn at a Baltic Porter! Not a million miles away from Russian Imperial Stout, but a change away from tradition non the less. I plan on brewing a relatively hefty Baltic Porter, somewhere around 10% abv, brimming with bold deep malty flavours of dried fruit, carmel and light toast. This will be then split into a number of batches for secondary fermentation with an array of wild bugs, brettanomyces and fruit, so hopefully I will end up with a number of different beers from this one batch, and maybe even an opportunity to do some blending.
As some of this beer will be set about by the wild beasts that eat long chained dextrin’s and other ‘non fermentable’ like they are going out of fashion, I felt I needed to do some reading around trying to keep body in this beer. A baltic porter should have a relatively full body and smooth mouthfeel brought to the beer by a mixture of high mash temps and crystal malts. The problem then with adding brettanomyces and other wild flora, any residual sugars that bested saccharomyces, will be long gone in the face of their new foe. So what is to be done? The answer it seems lies in other body building materials. Oats, rye, or spelt all add to mouthfeel, but rather than adding long chain unfermentables they add beta-glucans that will be able to stand the test of a brettanomyces fermentation. I can not however take credit for these ideas.
As any homebrewer getting into wild brewing will know there are a handful resources that are absolute MUST READS when coming up with recipes. Pretty much anything written by Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave Artisan Brewing and The Brettanomyces Project is gold in my view. From listening to his appearances on The Brewing Network, articles in Zymurgy, and of course his blog have really helped turn me on to the concept of wild/brett beer brewing, and how to go about recipe design, fermentation, yeast handling etc.
So on to the recipe! I have had reservations over this recipe. Over and over I read the same brewing mantra ‘Simple simple simple!’. How many malts is too much! There is a propensity within homebrewing of throwing the kitchen sink at a recipe when formulating a malt bill. I do however believe that if you can justify each malts place, and believe that it will have an impact on the beer then it’s use is therefore legitimate. With this ‘arse covering’ preamble out of the way 😉 ;
NYD Baltic Porter (5.5G)
Pale ale malt 46%
Munich malt 27%
Oat malt 5.4%
Toasted flaked oats 5.4%
Amber malt 3.2%
Special B 3.2%
Medium Crystal 2.7%
Flaked Rye 2.2%
Chocolate malt 1.6%
Carafa special III 0.6%
Magnum 16%aa FWH 19IBU 10g
Saaz 3%aa 30 mins 10 IBU 50g
I feel that I can account for each malts place in the mix! I know that traditionally there would be more munich in the grist but this isn’t going to be your traditional BP, so I can live with that! The oat malt, toasted flaked oats and flaked rye are their to give both beta-glucan contribution, and also the lovely toasted oatmeal cookie flavour you get from toasted flaked oats, and spicy rye flavour that will hopefully boost the spicy, earthy Saaz hops. The amber and chocolate malts will give a toasted, slight roasted, biscuity note to the beer. Special B and the medium crystal are there to lend a toffee caramel flavour and that unmistakable special B, dried stone fruit, fig molasses character. Carafa special is in their just to boost the colour a little without the acrid burnt flavour of black malt. I added the honey to try and boost the ABV (this is after all the big NYD brew!) with a fermentable that is not going to cause the yeast any concern and may lend just a hint of honey on the palate. I haven’t quite decided on the variety of honey yet though.
The hops are simple as this beer is about malt. The magnum just for IBU and the saaz to drive the spicy, noble character this style is known for.
So let the brewing comence! I am really looking forward to this beer as it will encompass a range of 1st for my brewing. I haven’t nailed down the specifics of the brett or souring organisms yet, although with news that White labs have made WLP665 Flemish ale bland a year round offering, this might be looking like a favourite for one of the splits. I’ll be following this post up with a brewday post and hopefully linking posts from the other lads in the great NYD brewathon of 2013.