A while back, I had the opportunity to brew with my good pal Simon. We brewed one of his favorites: the Black Widow Porter.
Porter is a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th century, descended from brown beer, a well hopped beer made from brown and well roasted malts. This beer has a full bodied mouth feel, strong molasses aroma, coffee, chocolate, caramel and a little bit of black licorice. It’s smooth and very sessionable.
Simon’s Black Widow Porter
Est. FG: 1.014
Mash Temp: 67°C (153°F)
Boil Time: 60 Mins
Est. ABV: 6.5%
Batch Size: 19 Litres (5 US gal)
Est. Efficiency: 75%
4.8 kg (10.6 lbs) – Canadian 2-Row (You can sub this with Marris Otter)
600 g (1.3 lbs) – Munich Malt 20 L
400 g (0.9 lbs) – Crystal Malt 40 L
300 g (0.66 lbs) – Chocolate Malt
200 g (0.45 lbs) – Black Patent Malt
41 g (1.44 oz) East Kent Goldings (5% AA) @ 60 min
18 g (0.63 oz) Fuggle (5% AA) @ 15 min
18 g (0.63 oz) East Kent Goldings (5% AA) @ Flame-out
Safale US-05 or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) or Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) yeast
Step by Step
Mill the grains and dough-in targeting a mash thickness that will enable your system to achieve the necessary pre-boil volume and gravity. Hold the mash at 67°C (153°F) until enzymatic conversion is complete. Infuse the mash with near boiling water while stirring or with a recirculating mash system raise the temperature to mash out at 76°C (168°F). Sparge slowly with 77°C (170°F) water, collecting wort until the pre-boil kettle volume is around 22.3 L (5.9 US gal) and the gravity is 1.054 (13.4 °P). Mind you, this depends on your system.
The total wort boil time is 60 minutes. Add the first hop addition once the wort starts boiling. Add Irish moss or other kettle finings and the second hop addition with 15 minutes left in the boil. Add the last hop addition at flame out. Chill the wort to 19°C (67°F) and aerate thoroughly.
Ferment at 19°C (67°F) until the yeast drops clear. At this temperature and with healthy yeast, fermentation should be complete in about one week. Allow the beer to settle and the brew to mature without pressure for another two days after fermentation appears finished. Rack to a keg and force carbonate or rack to a bottling bucket, add priming sugar, and bottle. Target a carbonation level of 2.5 volumes. I might even go lower to about 2 CO²/Vol if you so choose.
New World Twist
If you want a new world twist to the porter, you can use Centennial and Amarillo to the hop schedule. Some would call this a black IPA, but Simon believes that it’s more of a hoppy porter.
28 g (1 oz) Centennial (10% AA) @ 60 min
18 g (0.63 oz) Centennial (10% AA) @ 15 min
18 g (0.63 oz) Centennial (10% AA) @ Flame-out
28 g (1 oz) Amarillo – Dry hop at day 8 of Fermentation for 4 days.
If you like this recipe, let me know!
Inspiration for this brew comes from McMenamins Black Widow Porter.