Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tasting Stale Porter: Soured Double Stout

Not what I had in mind when I blended a bit of sour beer into some stout nearly two years ago (Guinness FES is what I had in mind). I didn't consider what would happen when the lactic acid bacteria and super-attenuating Brettanomyces strains took hold in the lush, smoky stout.

All the roast, toast and smoke is still present. With it there is sharp, sour smelling funk. All present in the mouth along with solvent/plastic. The body torn to shreds. Thin, sharp and sour.

If you've had Madrugada Obscura from Jolly Pumpkin (who are usually great), this is like that. That austere sour character is not meant for stouts. Maybe I will try to mix a little bit into fresh porter to see if it gives a bit of complexity.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tasting Stale Porter: Stout

Next up is a rather straightforward stout brewed about a year ago. The full recipe was lost to my old laptop. Pale, Amber, Brown and a touch of Black malt made for an old school (late 19th century). It was very nice fresh and this is the last bottle.

How many ways can I say black with tan head. Molasses appearance with fine crema. Smell has espresso, cherry and a touch of vinegar. In the mouth there's lots of coffee. Not diner coffee, a fruity East African roast from Stumptown put through a french press. It also has a nice sweet - sour balance like Guinness FES. A bit thin but still plenty rich. The year has given it an interesting dimension but I wouldn't give it much more time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tasting Stale Porter: 1808 Whitbread with B. Bruxellensis

I've realized that I have several porters and stouts that have been stashed away for some time. I reckon that all that stale (old) porter will make for a nice series of tastings. All but one are homebrew. That lone commercial beer is a special one, Pretty Things Once Upon A Time: December 6, 1855 East India Porter. For that one I've tried to simulate the voyage to India by leaving the bottle in my cabinet at ambient temperature throughout the summer and giving it a regular roll about a ships hold in the mid Atlantic.

First up is my own foray into historical brewing: August 29, 1808 Whitbread Porter. I added Brettanomyces Bruxellensis to some bottles to mimic the secondary fermentation that old style stouts underwent. Original tasting here. I won't bother with pictures, matter of fact it's all dark.

Large tan head even with a careful, slow pour. Over carbonated, no way around admitting that. First hit on the nose is oak and smoke, likely a product of the Brett B as this recipe had neither component. A deeper whiff finds super dark chocolate (like that 85% stuff) and dried figs, maybe yogurty acidity. Hey, there's the smarties and clove from le gout d'Orval! The taste has changed dramatically from the velvety espresso and cocoa from the fresh beer. The bitterness has faded a bit, joined by a soft lactic acidity. The body is thinner than originally, but not the thin, sharp feel that I expected from previous tastings. A little cocoa powder with clove. All around an interesting beer to taste, much better now than the early samples of the Brett B portion. I am, however, glad that I chose B Claussenii for subsequent batches.