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Stout/Porter Help

Hey gang, I’m trying to figure out this porter recipe that I brewed back when I was doing 3 gallon batches. I brewed it twice, same way both times. Other than an inadvertent difference in mash time, I can’t recall any discrepancies in the brew processes, however the two batches turned out vastly different. The first attempt (#1) came out a very smooth chocolate porter, while the second attempt (#2) tasted more like a mildly bitter coffee stout. The #1 ended up having an 80min mash while I got sparge water to temp, while the #2 mash was exactly 60min. Anyone know what alterations/mistakes in the process may result in these differences? Do you think it was the mash time? I want to recreate the first attempt (chocolate), but now that I’m doing 5-6 gallon batches I don’t want to end up with 6 gallons of bitter coffee if it goes wrong again. I batch sparge via the Denny Process.

Here’s the recipe I used for the 3 gallon recipes:

Mash ratio: 1.25qt/lb
Mash @ 152
Batch sparge @ 170

4lb 2-row
0.5lb Chocolate malt
0.5lb Caramunich I
0.5lb Roasted Barley

60 min boil:
0.5oz Northern Brewer @60min
0.5oz Northern Brewer @15min
0.5 cup brown sugar @5min

OG#1: 1.047
FG#1: 1.008

OG#2: 1.053
OG#2: 1.011

Any thoughts?

Something I forgot to mention; the difference in taste was apparent in the OG samples, so I know it’s not a fermentation issue.

Well, the diff. in mash time could have made a difference in the fermentability of the wort - perhaps temp. dropped more on 80 min. mash??? Obviously, you ended up with a drier beer with the longer mash temp.

Was the crush the same on both?
Was the grain the same (brand that is)?
Same size yeast starter?
Same fermentation temps?

one thing - in your recipe you have .5 lbs of roasted barley for 3 gallons - that seems like a lot to be getting a “chocolately” taste out of it. I would expect more towards the “bitter coffee” with that much Roast Barley. I make quite a few porters and stouts and I know I have never used a pound of roast barley in a 6 gallon batch. Seems to me that your second beer (the coffee one) is truer to the ingredients you used.

I would agree. That is a lot of roasted barley in 3 gals. Are you sure that you didn’t use more chocolate malt and less roasted barley in #1?

Same yeast, temps, and same grain brand and profile from the same LHBS.

One thing I forgot until now is that I used my own mill for #2, while I used the LHBS mill for #1. I’m thinking I got a better crush with my mill, which would mean I got more extraction from the already too high poundage of roasted barley in the recipe. So you think I would get more chocolate flavor if I cut the roasted barely, say, in half?


half for sure. I don’t use much roast barley unless I want to taste it. I use combos of choc., pale choc., Brown, Coffee Kiln to get “chocolately.” I would cut to half (or even a quarter on the roast barley.) Then tweak from there if you want more or less of something. I think it is likely the crush may have made the difference.

Thanks for the advice everybody, I think I’m about ready to give this recipe another shot.

I’m kinda curious about the hops that were used. I have brewed the exact same recipe 6 months apart and the only difference was the AA% of the hops. Same hops but a different harvest or location or producer…whatever. It made a HUGE difference in the final brew.

Just a thought.

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