In the great ether of the Internet I do a lot of talking about homebrewing, between posts and comments on this blog, emails, forums, Twitter, and Facebook. It feels odd to talk with so many different people about brewing without actually getting to sample their beer or visa versa. Once in awhile I'll swap some bottles with someone else via UPS, but it's rare (so much effort to try beers from one person).
A few months back a few guys on BeerAdvocate hatched a plan to form a group of homebrewers willing to brew the same beer style (with our own spin) and then swap bottles. Sounded like a good plan to me. The basic concept was borrowed from a group of professional brewers who dubbed themselves Collaborative Evil. The group was founded by Todd Ashman of FiftyFifty, Zac Triemert of Lucky Bucket, and Matt Van Wyk of Flossmoor Station in 2008 with the idea that they each brew a version of the same recipe with their own embellishments. Over the last few years the group has grown to include five other brewers.
For our first attempt at this concept we decided to copy this year's Collaborative Evil style, Baltic/Strong Porter. I decided to use the opportunity to brew the spiritual successor to the best dark beer I've brewed, my Scandinavian Imperial Porter (which I'm down to the last three year old bottle of). I took what I liked from that recipe, but pared down the overly complex malt bill and eliminated the tacked on ingredients (heather-honey, licorice, cardamom). I also added a hefty portion of smoked malt in place of half of the Munich/Pils base. I did keep the flaked rye because I love that it contributes a hefty body without adding excessive sweetness like a higher mash temp or crystal malt does.
Smoked Baltic porters seem to be in vogue these days with Surly's Smoke, Hill Farmstead's Fear and Trembling, and Great Divide's Smoked Baltic Porter. I haven't had a chance to sample any of them yet, but the idea of rich smoke mingling with the coffee and dark fruit character of a Baltic Porter seems like a perfect pairing.
With the fermentation complete, yesterday I dropped the temperature of my fermentation fridge for the long cold lagering period. Over the next six weeks the yeast and proteins will slowly fall to the bottom and the yeast character will mellow, hopefully allowing the smoke to shine through. This batch should be ready to drink just as winter is really hitting here in the Mid-Atlantic.
Smoked Rye Baltic Porter
Batch Size (Gal): 4.75
Total Grain (Lbs): 14.50
Anticipated OG: 1.081
Anticipated SRM: 34.4
Anticipated IBU: 48.2
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes
41.4% - 6.00 lbs. Weyermann Smoked Malt
20.7% - 3.00 lbs. German Munich Malt
20.7% - 3.00 lbs. French Pilsen
6.9% - 1.00 lbs. Flaked Rye
5.2% - 0.75 lbs. Brown Malt
5.2% - 0.75 lbs. Carafa Special II
1.00 oz. Brewer's Gold (Pellet, 7.80% AA) @ 75 min.
0.75 oz. Perle (Whole, 7.17% AA) @ 75 min.
0.38 oz. Fuggle (Pellet, 4.00% AA) @ 35 min.
0.35 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
WYeast 2565 Kolsch
Profile: Washington DC
Sacch Rest 60 min @ 154
Brewed 9/11/10 by myself
For the Collective Sin group.
Collected 6.5 gallons of wort from batch sparge @1.072. (Much better efficiency than expected, so I added an extra 1/2 gallon of water mid-boil along with the Fuggles to boost up the IBUs slightly)
Chilled to ~80 and place in the fridge at 54.
Pitched the small yeast cake from Fresh Hopped Pale Ale after 5 hours. Gave 45 seconds of pure O2 before pitching. Attached blow-off tube.
Good fermentation after 8 hours.
9/17/10 Upped temp to 60 to help it finish out.
9/24/10 Racked to secondary, still has a krausen, still really yeasty.
9/27/10 Down to 1.026 (68% AA, 7.3% AA), nice bacon-y smoke, still a bit sweet and yeasty, but another week should take care of that. Temp up to 64 to make sure it finishes out.
10/3/10 Dropped the temp to 35 to start dropping out proteins/yeast. Shooting for 6 weeks of lagering before bottling.
11/19/10 Bottled with 2.5 oz of table sugar. Stirred up with the auto-siphon to pick up a bit of the yeast. Down to 1.024.
1/20/11 Smooth chocolate roast, but not as much smoke as I was aiming for. I guess the smoked malt wasn't as fresh as I hoped. Still a pretty good beer, drinkable for being so big/young.