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Beer Review #165 George Washington’s Tavern Porter

Being a native Philadelphian, now living in Delaware, I try to support the local breweries. Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia is one of the breweries that I try to buy from on a more regular basis. They are quickly becoming “Philadelphia’s brewery,” and for good reason. This is my first review of Yards on this site, but I have had their beers on a number of occasions and I have found them to be pretty enjoyable.

My first experience with Yards was in college when I purchased a variety pack from them. Something was wonder with their bottling line as all of my beers were over-carbonated and gushed out of the bottle. Soon after this happened I tried a six pack from them and everything was as it should have been. It wasn’t a great first impression, but even with the problems, the beer tasted good.

My father-in-law gave me a bottle of George Washington’s Tavern Porter not too long ago and told me to give t a try. This beer is part of their “Ales of the Revolution” series. Great name. This porter is modeled after a recipe that was supposed to be George Washington’s own.

The porter pours a dark brown and has a nice light head as well. The nose is tick and malty. There is some slight roast in there along with lots of chocolate. On my first taste I was happy to find that my nose didn’t lie about the flavors in the beer.

Chocolate was found in excess, along with some slight roast on the back-end of the beer. There was some hop character to this beer, which I believe was Fuggles. The hops gave a slight, but nice hop kick at the end. This is a “chewy” feeling beer without being chewy. The creaminess that is found in the mouthfeel really works with all of the flavors.

I really dig this beer and I’m looking forward to the next time that I get to try it. It is a wonderfully drinkable beer that is rich in flavor, but not filling, like a stout might be. I really want to have this on a cold winter night. (more…)

Winter Warmer Recipe

11-20-01In my last homebrew post I talked about doing a Colonial American style beer. Well I am still working on that, but I have a lot more reading to do so that I can make it accurately. In the meantime, I thought that I would embrace the coming season change and got with a winter warmer. I’ve always been a fan of winter seasonal beers, but I have never made one of my own. My wife has also been asking me to make something dark and malty. A winter warmer fits perfectly into that style.

Let me begin with the fact that I have only had a handful of beers classified as “winter warmer” before in my life. I think my favorite belongs to Lancaster Brewing Company, which I enjoyed plenty of last year back in PA. The things I like about it are the facts that it has a huge body, a lot of different flavor notes (some fruit, chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, and caramel), and it all comes in being very well balanced. Furthermore, for an 8.9% abv beer there isn’t much, if any, alcohol noticeable and there is not a lot of hop bite on the back. The malt and complexity in it are what shine in this beer.

So I began doing some research trying to find a starting point with this beer. And after all was said and done, I came up with a recipe that I think is unique and should deliver a great amount of complexity.

  • 8.0 lbs American 2-Row
  • 2.0 lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
  • 1.0 lbs Caramel Malt 90L
  • 1.0 lbs Chocolate Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Chocolate Wheat Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Chocolate Rye Malt
  • 0.5 lbs American Black Patent
  • 1.0 lbs Molasses
  • 1 oz Fuggle hops (3.6% AA for 60 mins)
  • 1 oz Fuggle hops (3.6% AA for 15 mins)
  • Nottingham Dry Ale yeast, with starter

I’m planning on mashing this at about 150 degrees for an hour. Doing so should give a nice balance between malt character and easy fermenting sugar. The 1 lb of molasses will be added into the kettle during the first runnings. I put a lot of dark malts into this beer becasue I want something with some coffee, molasses, and chocolate notes.

The chocolate wheat and rye were a last minute decision and the original recipe had one pound of wheat malt. I’ve never used chocolate wheat/rye malt and this is my first experience with rye malt overall, so I’m not entirely sure what impacts they will have. From my¬† understanding, rye malt tends to dry a beer out and give a crisper feel to it. Even at that, it makes up about 4% of then total grain bill, so it should not have a large effect weather it be positive or negative.

I also went with a dry ale yeast here for a few reasons. First, I used it on the pumpkin ale with good results. Second, the dry ale yeast is easy to make a starter with and with the fluctuation in temperatures here in Texas during this time of year (40 degrees between day and night) I didn’t want any active yeast to suffer. Third is that the optimal temperature range for this yeast is 57-70 degrees which falls perfectly into my apartment’s temperatures. Fourth, it is highly flocculant (precipitating) and highly attenuating. And lastly, it has a lost ester profile, so the malt should be able to shine through even more when it is not competing with the hops or yeast esters.

The final stats on the beer look like this:

  • OG 1.075
  • 39 SRM
  • 7.5% ABV
  • 20.0 IBUs

I plan of fermenting for a week (or until fermention is complete) and than putting it into a secondary for 2-3 weeks. After that I will bottle it and leave it condition for another 2-3 weeks (hopefully there will be no carbonation problems this time around). Then I can finally enjoy the fruits of my labor.