Saturday, March 28, 2015

Old Horse and Jockey Version 2

Less than 2 weeks ago my beloved grandmother passed away. A brave world traveler who lived through wartime bombings, moved half way across the globe as a young woman, and managed to visit all 50 states and all 7 continents, she helped inspire my desire for travel and my general curiosity about the world around me. The name Old Horse and Jockey comes from the, now long defunct, pub managed by my grandmother's grandfather (my great-great-grandfather) and for one year after his death her grandmother (my great-great-grandmother) in Bristol, England from 1921-1945. My grandmother spent much of her youth in and around this pub and always spoke of it with such fond memories and the Old Horse and Jockey Porter is brewed in loving memory of her, her hometown of Bristol, and the pub she called home.

From what I can tell the pub was owned, and would have served beer brewed by, The Bristol Brewery Georges & Co. Ltd. brewery. While the brewery had begun as a solely porter producing operation, by the 1920's the porter style had all but faded from existence in England and I can't tell whether the brewery (or one of their many acquisitions) made the style during this period. Nevertheless I decided to brew a somewhat classic porter recipe that includes brown malt and no black patent.

Sentimental stuff out of the way, this porter also means a lot to me as a brewer. I want to renew my passion for brewing and really evaluate my processes, ingredients, equipment, and techniques in a new light. This is the second version of the Old Horse and Jockey, and while the first (an extract brew) came out well, I'm hoping to really start to hone this recipe in.  The first step is taking more notes and more accurate notes, the second is putting more time and focus into the little details.  Instead of knowing that what I'm making will be beer, I want to know that what I'm making will be Good Beer. At a minimum if what I create isn't great then at least I will have solid explanations for why and can be sure that I continue to progress as a brewer.

For this batch I used 5 malts, all from either Crisp Malting or Bairds Malt, bought online, milled, from Morebeer. Below is a breakdown of the smell and flavor of each prior to being added to the mash:
  • 10 lbs Floor-Malted Maris Otter (Crisp): Smell: toast, grassy, hay-like. Taste: lightly toasty, grainy, grassy.
  • 1 lb. Carastan (Bairds): Smell: toffee, fresh baked bread, pastry dough. Taste: sweet, doughy
  • 1 lb. Brown (Crisp): Smell: pizza crust, just burnt toast.  Taste: fire cooked pizza crust
  • 1/2 lb. Chocolate (Bairds): Smell: herbal, woody, pinecone. Taste: burnt marshmallow, heavily burnt toast.
  • 1/2 lb. Crystal Malt 135/165 (Bairds): Smell: Plum, fresh fields (soil and floral elements), light toast, freshly baked dark bread. Taste: Slightly burnt caramel, cherry, bread crust, black tea.

I measured my water additions by weight adding 6g of chalk and 2 grams of gypsum to the mash water.  I hit my numbers pretty well mashing in with 4 gallons of 162 (Fahrenheit) strike water for an initial mash temp of 156 (target of 155). After a 1 hour mash rest I added ~1.5 gallons boiling water to raise to a mashout temp of 170. After the 15 minute mashout I ran off all the mash water and added the final 2 gallons of water (at 105 F) which was held for another 10 minutes prior to runoff.

For hops I used .75 oz of Target (8.9% AA) for 60 minutes, with WGV (5.3% AA) at 15 minutes and flame-out. The target has a earth, pine, grass, herbal, mint smell with the WGV having some similarities but also having a big juicy fruit character blending with the dank and earthy characters.                                                       

The finished wort appears to have a nice deep brown color. Cooled to 72 (about room temp) after 1.5 hours. The ice bath water was still cold but this method is just super ineffective and I need to find a better way. Added the 11g packet of yeast then moved the bucket to the keezer set at 60F (fortunately there was some empty space due to a number of kegs kicking recently and the only beer on tap is a bitter that can handle being served this warm). I should have waited to pitch the yeast until it had cooled a little further but on the positive side the yeast immediately took off puffing up with foam and throwing off yeasty smells, I hadn't brewed with dry yeast in a while and don't remember them taking off so quickly.  OG was 1.062, slightly beating my (low) efficiency expectations.

Not too surprisingly this beer came out sweeter and less roasty than I would have liked.  A pound of brown malt just doesn't go very far, and the half pound of chocolate wasn't enough, while the 1.5 pounds of crystal malts was too much for an already moderately attenuative beer.  I decided to add half an ounce of bourbon soaked oak chips.  Next time I brew this recipe I plan to knock down the crystal malts by at least a quarter pound and increase the roast malts by at least half a pound.

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