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Christmas Porter

The goal of this beer is to evoke the smells and tastes of Christmas time in New England.  

The base beer is essentially a simple porter recipe from BYO magazine -- a classic.  It can be found here, along with extract variants: https://byo.com/stories/item/514-create-your-own-great-porter.  

Ingredients

I made a couple of adjustments in order to increase the residual sweetness, so the final malt bill is:

  • 6.5 lb 2-Row Pale Malt
  • 1 lb Dextrine/Carapils
  • 12 oz Chocolate Malt
  • 12 oz Crystal 40
  • 8 oz Roasted Barley
  • 4 oz Black Malt

For hops, I wanted something that would be very restrained, and ideally traditional for the style as well.  This suggests something English.  Final hops selection is:

  • 1.5 oz East Kent Goldings @ 60 minutes

Yeast, again, is traditional and English.  I want something that's a little more attenuative and crisp, and will adjust the mash temp in order to make sure that there's enough residual sugar.  In this case, that suggests:

  • WLP007 Dry English Ale yeast

Finally, this beer has a couple of extras.  The roasted malts give that fire-in-the-fireplace sense, but we want to pull in the smell of a Christmas tree, and a subtle hint of hot toddy (licorice, clove, lemon).  

  • Zest of 2 roasted lemons @ 10 minutes
  • 1 clove @ 10 minutes
  • 2 star anise pods @ 10 minutes

Mash

Mash at 155 for 60 minutes.

Boil

60 minute boil.  Add the hops at the beginning.  At 10 minutes to go, add the clove and star anise, along with the zest of two roasted lemons.  (Roasting the lemons gives them a little bit of caramelized sugar flavor.)

Ferment

Ferment until done.  Once active fermentation has stopped, add 4-5 sprigs of rosemary to the fermenter for an additional 7 days.  After 7 days rack to secondary, and allow to sit for a couple of days before bottling/kegging.

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