Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brewday: Baltic Avenue Porter

A week ago I moved my two Oktoberfestbiers in to kegs and was left with the accumulated yeasty dregs. What oh what to do? Brew something I haven't brewed in years, obviously. A Baltic Porter.

Heck, the last one was at least four years ago. I seem to remember a hurricane interfering with my lagering. Katrina? Wilma? I can't remember. But it all came out ok, the coconut version took gold at the Coconut Cup that year. I put a grainbag full of toasted coconut flakes in the secondary of half the porter.

The style itself comes from Russia and the other Baltic countries, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Basically it's a strong porter, almost like a Russian Imperial Stout, but brewed with lager yeast and Czech hops due to the location. A good one is incredibly complex and smooth, no harsh burnt or roasted flavors, just lots of coffee, caramel, chocolate, and a hint of weird fruit (raisins, plums) sometimes. Using Carafa will keep the bitter harshness down while providing the color and flavor of burnt Black Patent malt. Authenticity might dictate using Polish Lublin hops, but I used Newport because, well, I had Newport.

What's fun about this style is that it was a seriously Cold War beer, and it wasn't until the Iron Curtain fell that we started seeing it in the West. Which is a shame, because they're delicious. My favorite of the commerical examples are Baltika 6 and Zweic, though for American brewers Duck Rabbit and Victory's Baltic Thunder are also pretty darn tasty.

Brewed on a nice sunny day with no major cockups. Decided to run out during the mash and pick up two more packets of yeast. Used a mix of Wyeast Bavarian and Munich Lager yeasts, since I combined the Oktoberfest yeasts anyways. Gravity suffered for some reason. I moved the rollers on my grain mill closer together for the next batch. Seems to have fixed it.

Baltic Avenue Porter

All Grain. 5.25 Gallons.
Est O.G. 1.089.
Act O.G. 1.082.
Est. F.G 1.016-1.020.
Est. ABV 8 - 8.5%
32 IBU

12 lbs German Pilsner malt
3 lbs Munich Malt
12 oz Caramunich (I subbed Caravienna because I was out of caramunich. Oops)
8 oz Crystal 80
8 oz Chocolate Malt
4 oz Carafa II
2 oz Special B

Mashed 90 minutes at 150. Knockout at 168. Collected a total of 7.5 gallons to boil down to 5.25.

Water modification in the mash = pH 5.2 stabilizer, 1/4 t gypsum, 1/4 t kosher salt, 1 t chalk. No lactic acid adjustment for the water, Seattle's water has low residual alkalinity and though it has a high pH it drops quickly and easily. The dark malts would be more than enough.

1 oz Newport (11.1% AA) at 90.
0.5 oz Czech Saaz (3% AA) at 15.

Whirlfloc tablet at 15.

Pitched with a packet of Wyeast Bavarian Lager, Wyeast Munich Lager, and yeast cake of both of those from two Oktoberfest batches.

Ferment at 50 degrees for 10-14 days, bring up for a diacetyl rest at 62 degrees for at least 3 days, then rack to secondary to finish, stepping temp down a degree or two every day to 34 degrees. Leave there for a couple weeks. Keg and serve sometime in February probably.

Update: 2/15/10

Ugh. It has a heavy phenolic note that is totally offputting. My guess is that it wasn't cooled enough before pitching. I took it off tap and let it hang out for six weeks to see if it improved. Nope. Looks like it's the sink for this batch. The recipe is sound though, I just need to cool it better before pitching. Based on what I've been getting using ground water during winter here, it looks like lagers are going to be a seasonal project.


Anonymous said...

Maybe your next beer can be a Copyright Infringement IPA! Just kidding, obviously... I really like your brew's name.

Mine is called the Great Belt Baltic Porter. Nothing too clever, but it goes out to the geography of the Baltic Straight. It also comes with a pretty stupid yet appropriate label. Follow my comment name and you can find out more about my brew.

Thanks again for all your help...

Russell Hews Everett said...

Haha, I'm thinking "Fair Use Porter" maybe? Non-commercial use and negligible impact upon the original copyrighted work? I wonder when Monopoly's copyright expires, it's from the Depression era after all. Copyrighted after 1923 and before 1963 is 95 years if renewed right? So wiki says first copyright was 1934, that's 2029 before it's public domain. And I seem to remember there was actually a copyright case regarding the game and its many knock-offs.

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