1847 Polish Porter

Chophouse Mash Tun
Peter Jones and Barrett Lauer mashing in at the Chophouse’s second floor brewhouse.

We recently had the great fortune of being able to re-imagine an iconic Baltic Porter with the amazing brewers at District Chophouse, Barrett Lauer and Rob Fink. The United Warsaw Brewery’s Baltic Porter was first mentioned in newspaper advertisements in 1847 and has been beloved ever since. The Brewery, like many, was destroyed during World War II. In 1950, it was rebuilt and continued to brew Piwo “Królewskie Porter” on a small scale until it closed in 2004. Besides its ardent Polish fanbase, the dark lager (Baltic Porters are made with lager yeast unlike most British or American Porters which are commonly made with English or American ale yeast) won numerous Polish and international beer awards.

Mike was first inspired to research this beer after a chance meeting with a Polish beer blogger, Michal Maranda, from Warsaw, who visited and reviewed several of the District’s fine establishments in 2013. After corresponding overseas, researching, and a little help with translating Polish to English, we reached out to Barrett and the Chophouse team. The beer turned out wonderfully with a smooth, medium-dry finish and notes of chocolate, lightly roasted coffee with a hint of toasted pumpernickel.

Chophouse Mash tun with carafa malt
Mike Stein, reviewing the mash post-carafa addition

Though the taste is complex, the grist was simple, consisting of only 3 malts: Pale, Munich, and Carafa. With Barrett’s suggestion we sprinkled the Weyermann Carafa malt at the end of the mash to encourage it’s darker color without introducing as much astringency. Polish Junga hops in the bittering and final additions completed the royal beer. It will be served at the Chophouse through Tuesday, May 10. After that, look for it at special tastings including our lecture at the 2016 National Homebrewing Conference in Baltimore.

Update: Polish Porter was also featured in the April/May 2016 issue of Mid-Atlantic Brewing News! For more on this beer, also see our post reprising some of the Homebrewcon lecture.

 

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Peter Jones, checking the gravity with a refractometer
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Beautiful wort

 

6 comments

  1. Sorry to be a a bit mean, but in 1847 a Polish Porter would have been top fermented. It’s only in the later 19th century when Polish brewers started brewing Lager that they switched to bottom fermenting their Porters. In 1847 almost no-one was bottom fermenting outside the south of Germany. Even in the Bohemia most beer was still top fermented.

    Not to say that the beer won’t be delicious.

    • mvmstein says:

      Not mean at all Ron, and thanks for reading! I urge you to read this post as we imply that in 1847 it was ale yeast that was used to ferment. 1847 is simply the earliest written record of Porter in Poland we could find. We were unable to find any sources as to actual top or bottom fermentation or Polish beer historians who would weigh in beyond a reasonable doubt on yeast. We couldn’t source any yeast from the Polish Institute of Agro-Food Industry, though there are some leads to follow there, so we fermented with a lager yeast at ale temperatures. Too bad you won’t be in DC for CBC but we’re looking forward to seeing you in our city in the near future!

    • Thanks so much for reading, Ron. It’s definitely an honor to have you on the site!

      As Mike says, this beer wasn’t a recreation of any from 1847 and was more to honor the now closed Warsaw brewery and it’s long history in Polish brewing tradition. That we were able to serve this beer at the Polish Embassy’s 2016 Constitution Day Celebration made it particularly special.

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