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Brewing a Baltic Porter Extract Kit

For the foreseeable future you won’t see a lot of posts about IPAs.  I just don’t love them, so why spend the time to make them.  I am well aware of such a blasphemous statement in the home brew world, but it is what it is.  Do you want to know what I do love? A dark porter or stout.  So, Little Boy Brew and I decided to brew a Baltic Porter Extract Kit

What is a Baltic Porter Beer?

According to Beer Advocate,

Porters of the late 1700’s were quite strong compared to today’s standards, easily surpassing 7% alcohol by volume. Some brewers made a stronger, more robust version, to be shipped across the North Sea, dubbed a Baltic Porter. In general, the style’s dark brown color covered up cloudiness and the smoky/roasted brown malts and bitter tastes masked brewing imperfections. The addition of stale ale also lent a pleasant acidic flavor to the style, which made it quite popular. These issues were quite important given that most breweries were getting away from pub brewing and opening up breweries that could ship beer across the world.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 7.0-10.0%

I found a cool site that shared the history of the brew,

Baltic Porter owes its origins to the rise of wildly popular English Porter in the 1700’s. Though Porters of the time were already much stronger than today’s beers (many exceeding 7% ABV), an even more robust version of Porter was made for export across the North Sea to support Baltic trade. As the style grew in popularity it was also brewed in virtually all of the Northern European and Baltic states including Germany, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark and Sweden. (Ref: Wikipedia)

Like English Porter, the character of the beer has changed over time. The earliest Baltic Porters were made from wood kilned brown malts that had a smoky roasted brown somewhat bitter flavor. They also were brewed with top fermenting ale yeasts. They were often highly hopped to preserve the beer and also offset the heavy flavor of malts (over 7% ABV for many early porters).

Some authors also claim Baltic Porter owes some of its heritage to Russian Imperial Stout, another beer brewed in England for export to the Russian imperial court in the 1700’s. Like Baltic Porter, Russian Imperial Stout is a stronger, sweeter more robust version of the stouts made domestically in England at the time.

In the mid 1800’s as the beer was brewed more widely and continental influences drove production, most Baltic Porter brewers switched to bottom fermenting lager yeasts in a tradition that continues today. Also as industrialization occurred, coke fired kilns eliminated the smoke flavor from brown malts, and gradually the Porter base of mostly brown malt was replaced by a combination of modern pale malt, Munich, Vienna and roasted malt. While taxes and supply shortages during the Napoleonic wars drove the alcohol content of other Porter’s down to modern levels, Baltic Porter remained a strong beer at a robust 7-10% alcohol content.

Brewing Our Baltic Porter

We went with BoomChugalug’s Ya Dats Gude Baltic Porter.  They describe the beer in the following way,

Okay, you’re traveling to the Baltics and you need a language lesson. The situation: you’re sitting with your fellow travelers in a pub, and you take a healthy swig of this substantial porter. Now, with grand expression, repeat after me: “Oh, ya, ve like dis very much! Ve vould like anudder and anudder!” Excellent, you’re well on your way to speaking the local language, which is a skill you’ll need for repeated samplings of this bountiful, black lager. For below your pint’s impressively creamy and tan head, you’ll experience the cavernous depths of multi-dimension darkness as worlds of flavor unravel, like the malty richness, tongue-tied roastiness, toffee-like caramel and a dark-fruit richness that is redolent of port wine and the tobacconist. Soon you’ll be dancing in the streets, proclaiming, “My hovercraft is full of eels!” But first, before getting carried away, finish your lesson. Take another swig, stand on the bar top, and declare, “Ya, dats gude!”

 

It took me a while to realize that Ya, Dats Gude! = Ya, that’s good.  Guess I need to take down a few of these 10.6% beers!

Little Boy Brew and I both had off of work on St. Patty’s day for reasons other than the holiday so we decided to brew that night.  We did not consider the temperature which froze Little Boy Brew’s hose so it was ridiculously cold waiting for the wort to chill which took forever since we didn’t have our wort chiller.

Eventually, it got to temperature and we added our yeast.  I found it interesting that a Baltic Porter uses lager yeast.  I was denied the addition of vanilla flavoring by Little Boy Brew.  I am still not over the rejection…who doesn’t love vanilla flavoring? No one, because it is awesome.

We are going to try and “lager it” as to drop the temperature in it during secondary.  Easiest way to do this would be to take the secondary and stick it in my kegerator.  Luckily, I don’t have anything on my second tap so this may work out for a few days.

Primary Date: 3/16/2017

Secondary Date: 4/2/2017

Lagering our First Beer

For 99.9999% of the world the word lager is not a verb, rather it describes a certain type of beer.  A cold refreshing beer you have drank a thousand times.  However, in the brewing world the process in which you get that cold refreshing beer it can be used as a verb, as in we “lagered” our first beer!

I found a fantastic guide to lagering on BYO,

Once fermentation and the diacetyl rest have been completed, it is time to rack to a secondary fermenter and lager the beer. The term “lagering” refers to the extended secondary aging the beer undergoes at cold temperatures (hovering above freezing).

Removed from the primary yeast sediment and allowed to chill and age, the beer should clear and sulfury and other various extraneous aromas and flavors dissipate until it achieves that clean character for which lagers are known. As the saying goes, time heals many wounds. A number of the haze problems sometimes associated with ales are conspicuously absent from most lagers, mainly due to the time spent lagering.

Some brewing texts recommend slowly reducing the temperature by no more than 5 °F (3 °C) per day until the temperature is at the desired setting for lagering. However, many homebrewers ignore this advice and achieve excellent results. There is agreement that in order to achieve the maximum effect the lagering needs to be done cold, with the temperature no more than 40 °F (5 °C). Many commercial breweries lager at nearly freezing temperatures, in the 32–34 °F (0–1 °C) range.

How long to lager is a matter of some discussion. Light American lagers are typically held near freezing for 10–20 days, while some strong German doppelbocks are lagered as long as six months. For medium to high-gravity beers, Greg Noonan — brewpub owner and author of “New Brewing Lager Beer” (1996, Brewers Publications) — recommends 7–12 days per each 2 °Plato of original gravity. (One degree Plato is roughly equal to 4 specific gravity “points.”). For lower gravity lagers the time is reduced to 3–7 days. According to those guidelines, a 1.064 O.G. German bock should be lagered for 112–192 days, while a 1.040 American lager would be lagered 15–35 days.

As you can see I had a small 2.5 gallon keg in the kegerator (filled with Chocolate Covered Beaver Nutz – best name ever) so slowly reducing the temperature was not an option.  Instead I took the beer and dropped it right in the 33 degree keg.  Also, I am not too sure how long I am going to be able to keep it in there.  I have 5 gallons of “Brady Beer” and also another 5 gallons of Grapefruit IPA that needs to get in there at some point. I’ll keep it in there as long as possible though.

 

Keg Date – Bottled don’t remember date

Reviewing my Baltic Porter

Wow this came out fantastic! The flavor is deep.  It is odd because it is kinda sweet, but heavy.  The few bottles I have opened up so far are inconsistent with regard to carbonation.  I’ll assume I didn’t keep the bottles warm enough during the bottling period.  I haven’t decided if I am going to just deal with it or if I am going to keg the beers.

 

By | 2017-05-19T00:19:43+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|Porter|0 Comments

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