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Pecan Porter: A Fall Ale Recipe

Porter quaffed down with a laugh,
The gentry have their achin’ livers
Water is all right in tea
For fish and things that swim in rivers
      -Traditional Irish Drinking Song

Porter is one of many people's favorite style of beer, warming and with a buzz that does not put one to sleep.  Once one has mastered the basic porter, a slightly sweet, nearly hop-less ale, it is time to spice the beer up with an experiment.  A nutty pecan flavor goes very well with the chocolat-ey porter’s selection of flavoring malts.  This recipe delivers a vigorous ale with a smooth blend of chocolate, malt, and pecan overtones that flow relatively seamlessly together, with only a light touch of hop flavor and around 6% alcohol content.

Pecan Porter

Ingredients for 5 Gallon Batch:

    Sugars
  • 8 ½ lbs. Dark Malt Extract

    Flavoring Malts
  • ½ lb. Caramel 120 L malt
  • 1 lb. Organic American 2-row malt
  • ½ lb. Chocolate malt

    Hops
  • ½ oz. New Zealand Pacific Gem hop pellets (bittering)
  • ½ oz. New Zealand Hallertaur hop pellets (flavoring)
  • ½ oz. Fuggle loose leaf hops (aroma)

    Yeast
  • Nottingham Ale yeast or other basic ale yeast

    Other Ingredients
  • 3 cups crushed roasted pecans
  • 1 tsp. Irish Moss

Directions for brewing:

First, allow your flavoring malts and one cup of roasted pecans to soak in 3 gallons of your heated spring water for 20 minutes. Do not boil these grains, as this can destroy some of the more subtle mashing processes.  Best not to exceed 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Next, strain the flavoring malts or take out the grain bag, and add the rest of your water to the kettle, and bring the whole liquid to a boil.

Turn off the burner and add your malt extract, stirring the wort thoroughly to ensure that the sugars do not get burned on the bottom of the kettle.  Once the sugars have been thoroughly dissolved, bring the wort to a rolling boil and add the bittering hops and 2 cups of crushed roasted pecans.  

Now, boil the wort for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.  Then add the flavoring hops and Irish moss for 15 more minutes, and after that add the aroma hops and boil for five more minutes. Turn the burner off and cool the wort to room temperature or 75 degrees, whichever is hotter.

Now you can transfer the wort into your clean and sanitized fermentation vessel, prime the yeast and stir the wort with vigor.  Now plant the yeast in the beer and store in a cool, dark room for one week, taking care to check on the airlock every day to ensure that the foam has not come up through the airlock. If you are using a blowoff assembly you won't have to worry about any airlocks.

After 7 days transfer your beer to a secondary fermentation vessel for the next two weeks, and then the beer may be ready to bottle or ferment.  Always check that the beer has cleared somewhat or stabilized before bottling or kegging.

Published: October 18, 2010

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