Monday, 13 July 2015

Tasting Notes: 1831 Truman Keeping Porter

Last year, as part of my ongoing efforts to make beers inspired by historical English stock ales, I brewed a Nineteenth Century Keeping Porter based on a recipe for an 1831 Truman beer taken from Ron Pattinson's excellent Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer.  After undergoing an extended secondary fermentation by lactobacillus and brettanomyces clausenii, its been sitting in bottles for about a month. I haven't tried it since packaging because I don't have a Running Porter to blend it with.  I'll brew one as soon I start up again after the summer---essentially the same recipe, with a smaller amount of hops---but in the meantime I thought I might write some tasting notes with the help of a commercial beer.  Although there isn't much on the shelves that is likely to come close to the Nineteenth Century versions of these beers, a bottle of Samuel Smith's Famous Taddy Porter caught my eye.  No doubt well past its best at this point, but it was on sale and seemed like a good choice for blending.

I won't bother writing tasting notes for the Sam Smith's beer.  I tried each beer by itself, then blended approximately 1/3 'stale' beer with 2/3 'fresh' beer, in line with the descriptions in Ron's book.  I was pretty happy with the result, although the Keeping Porter is still a little rough around the edges.  Hopefully they'll smooth out as it continues to condition over the next few months.

Keeping Porter

Appearance: Dark brown colour, and fairly opaque.

Smell: Intriguing combination of toast, roast, and fruity sourness.  Very unique.  Powdered cocoa, dark fruity chocolate, toasted bread.  Suggestion of lactic sourness.

Taste: Very lightly tart.  Transitions to dry cocoa powder and then almost-burnt toast and bitter cold coffee.  Light fruitiness around the edges.  A bit rough still

Mouthfeel:  Low carbonation gives it a vinous character.  Slightly viscous.

Drinkability & Notes: Certainly interesting, though I don't think I'd care to drink more than a single glass at the moment.  The tartness is nice, and I enjoy the dark fruit and chocolate, but the burnt roast is a bit rough and astringent.  Hopefully it will continue to soften as the beer ages in the bottle.

~1/3 Keeping Porter & ~2/3 Taddy Porter 

Appearance: Dark brown with red highlights.  Good head that dissipates to about a quarter inch.

Smell: Similar to the Taddy Porter alone: dark fruits (raisins, prunes, figs), though less pronounced than in the original, along with a dusting of cocoa; but also a more pronounced breadiness.  Again the slightest suggestion of lactic sourness, which gives it an edge over the Taddy Porter.

Taste: The Taddy Porter is all dried fruit and chocolate with a slight tanginess and a hint of bitter coffee. This adds a tartness and lingering burnt roast that aren't there in the original, and transforms the overall impression.  Same elements but with a different emphasis.

Mouthfeel:  Not noticeably different from the Taddy Porter in terms of body, but there's added tang and astringent roast.  Dry and tart.  Very drinkable.

Drinkability & Notes:  The tartness really adds to the drinkability for me, since it clips the dark fruit from the original, and makes it transition to the burnt roastiness of the Keeping Porter.  Tangy up front, and then a lingering tartness and roast at the end, with dark fruit and cocoa in the middle.  Those transitions definitely add a complexity that is very satisfying.  The roughness of the Keeping Porter comes through as well though.  I hope it gets a bit softer with age.

No comments:

Post a Comment