Here is my latest diatribe about homebrewing pushing the limits.
Normally, experimentation is a great thing. Hell, I make a living off of experimentation everyday. But there comes a point where as homebrewers, you’ve got to ask yourself: “Can I really make a great experimental beer, if I haven’t mastered the basics.”
I find that Porter has bared the brunt of many a homebrewers foiled experimentation with flavorings. Don’t believe me… when was the last time you saw someone post a Porter recipe that didn’t include, chocolate, fruits, hazelnut, coffee, bourbon, whiskey, mint, sage, vanilla, grass or tooth-paste as a special additive? (That’s a trick question, see here.)
The point is whenever someone says; “Hey I want to add some Root Beer extract to a beer to make a Root Beer flavored beer, any idea what style I should use as a base???” The answer is inevitably poor old Porter.
Is this a just fate for what may actually be one of the grandfather styles of all English Beers? Porter signifies a major change over in the production of coke fired malting plants and roasting techniques that took much of the smoke wood fired nature out of brewing. Black Patent malt and Porter are significant milestones in the production of modern industrialized brewing. This first step brings us cleaner tasting malts and true paler ales!
I challenge anyone who follows along with us here to spread the word: If you have a Porter on your recipe “to do” list this year please, put down the cherry extract, the twigs of spruce or the basket of figs. Just focus on the roasty blackness and simplicity that should be Porter.