Tag Archives: brew club

Honey Porter

I recently brewed a porter and split the batch. One fermentor took a third of the wort and another vessel two thirds. Both had the yeast pitched from the same starter. After two days, I added a kilogram of blue gum honey to the smaller batch. I took both beers to a recent club meeting which was themed around brewing with the nectar of the gods. All hail the honey and its mysterious properties.

Batch #1: Porter
1042 OG, 1013 FG. 4.1% bottle ABV. M10. Melbourne water, untreated.

Fermented at 20°C from:

30% :: American Ale Malt
30% :: Pilsner Malt
15% :: Munich Malt
15% :: Brown Malt
10% :: Special B Malt

60m single infusion mash at 70°C.
60m boil with 16 IBU of Horizon hops added at 60m.

The one kilogram of honey I added to the rest of the beer ended up working out to 30% of the total fermentable sugars. This meant it was going to be very recognisable in the finished beer.

Batch #2: Honey Porter
1061 OG, 1015 FG. 6.3% bottle ABV. M10. Melbourne water, untreated.

Fermented at 20°C from:

32% :: Honey
21% :: American Ale Malt
21% :: Pilsner Malt
11% :: Munich Malt
11% :: Brown Malt
04% :: Special B Malt

60m single infusion mash at 70°C.
60m boil with 16 IBU of Horizon hops added at 60m.

We tasted these beers side by side two months after bottling and three months after brewing. Of the six people that tried both beers, three responded that they preferred the straight porter, while three preferred the porter with honey. Some comments were illuminating and reflected personal taste: “I like the straight porter, it’s roasty, smooth, good recipe!” and another “I prefer the honey one because it smooths over the roast character”.

I definitely notice a boozier edge to the honey porter that is less to my liking. The standard porter is reasonably accurate to style and an immensely quaffable beer. The honey version adds a blanket that accentuates the beer’s sweetness and throws it a little out of balance. The aroma is very similar between the two beers; the honey one is slightly more fusel.

On the whole, as with many honey beers, there’s little to recommend a honey addition to porter in my mind.

The honey porter also carbonated substantially more than the standard porter, almost to the point of gushing. I obviously bottled it too early. They still seem to be carbonating even now – which is a concern given I used a few glass bottles. I’ll need to drink them pronto.

Beer and Brewer Feature

Readers may be aware that I am a founding committee member of Melbourne’s largest brewing club. Our members have fostered the club’s growth in surprising and encouraging directions since we incorporated more than a year ago, and recently we were featured in the latest issue of the quarterly Beer and Brewer.

The write-up for the magazine by committee member Timothy Train focuses on our first year and inaugural competition, the 2015 Specialty IPA comp.

The spread also includes the recipe of the beer that won Beer of Show in our 2015 competition, a profile of two of our best brewers and a few photographs, including one of yours truly pontificating over a glass of goji berry pale ale.

Merri Mashers Brewing Demonstration

This video is promoting a recent brewing demonstration my club did at the Catfish, a relaxed bar with great beer, as part of Good Beer Week 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

It was a fun day and good times were had by all. An earlier brew of the Red IPA recipe we were demonstrating was being served on tap inside and it took less than two hours to blow the fifty-litre keg.