Thursday, June 30, 2011

History Lessons and the Sweet-Smelling Mess in My Closet.

There was an imperial porter volcano in the closet last night. I should have used a blow-off tube. On the upside, the home office smelled pretty tasty this morning. Mess managed, now I can work to the soothing sounds of bubbling airlocks.

Baloop, baloop, baloop, baloop. I know, I don't usually write about homebrewing. But...

My blog. I write what I want.

So I part-gyled yesterday. Since this isn't (usually) a homebrewer's blog, I'm going to explain that: I made two beers from the same mess of grain. First runnings for a strong beer meant for keeping... maybe until Christmas, when it might be enjoyed from cute little snifters, with strong cheese or a cigar. Second runnings for a beer that will be drunk sooner, from larger glasses.

The original idea was an imperial stout and a mild. But then the mild wound up with an original gravity of 1.050, which means it'll likely end up with around 5% alcohol. Maybe I'll call it a porter then. And the big one--OG 1.092, maybe 9% strength when it's finished--can be an imperial porter.

So, porter and imperial porter. It was Martyn Cornell who got me thinking about the latter. He's uncovered a newspaper clipping, as he is wont to do, that mentions "imperial porter" and predates the earliest known reference to "imperial stout." "[A]lthough to a late Georgian drinker," Cornell notes, "stout, or at least brown stout, WAS porter, just the strongest version thereof."

Well, why not call it a stout anyway, then? I don't know. Maybe because it reminds people of Guinness. And because I just like the word "porter." It has a sort of old-timey, sepia-tinted, workmanlike cool. It reminds me of big glasses, flat caps and Flogging Molly.

But: Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to reject the mild thing. Milds used to come in all sorts of strength, as Ron Pattinson likes to remind us. Just today, in fact, he's posted up one of his historical-turned-homebrew recipes for an 1879 export mild. It's stronger than 8%.

In that case, maybe I just made a mild and an export mild.

My brewery. I call it what I want.


  1. Ship some bottles to VA and I'll ship some for my upcoming parti-gyle experiment your way!

  2. What are you going to brew, Al?

    Already thinking about my next parti-gyle. Maybe a Rochefort-esque dark strong and a hoppy brown saison.

    Does make for a long day, though.