Sweet Potato Porter

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Providence, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Title says it all, that's what I want to brew next. I am looking for advice on a range of things:

    1.) Any good porter recipes to use as a base for this brew?
    2.) How shall I incorporate the sweet potatoes? Puree them (like I make my sons baby food) and add it to the boil, to the primary, to the secondary? Roast them first? Roast them with spices?
    3.) Anyone ever do a brew like this before? I'd love to hear about your experience.

    I am doing extract brewing.

    Thanks in advance! I truly appreciate the info and advice I get from you all.
  2. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    1) I don't have any examples, but I'd use a bigger porter for this type of beer. 7% range with a good amount of body.

    2) I would do do a mini-mash and add in the sweet potatoes to that. I don't know if you'd get much out of them beyond that, unfortunately

    3) Never used sweet potatoes, but I've brewed a few pumpkin beers and quite frankly you get very little "pumpkin" flavor from actual pumpking. Most of the "pumpkin" flavor comes from the spices, so maybe you should think about adding some nutmeg or something to help boost the sweet potato flavor (people put nutmeg on sweet potatoes, right?).
  3. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Yeah, I think spices will be important as well. Roasting the sweet potatoes with some nutmeg, cinnamon and maybe some cloves was what I initially thought about doing. I agree that pumpkin beers lack actually pumpkin taste (as pumpkin taste is pretty subtle anyways and in my opinion, not all that tasty). Sweet potatoes on the other hand are damn tasty and the flavor is more noticable in my opinion, so a little spice should bring it out a bit more.

    7% abv range would be awesome.
  4. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (740) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    If sweet potato pie flavor is what you are shooting for, then some orange and vanilla should help also.
  5. Wreckoncile

    Wreckoncile Aspirant (200) Jul 19, 2011 California

    Since you're looking for a ~7% range Imperial Porter, this is the base porter I used this weekend for my pumpkin porter:

    6 lbs Light DME
    1 lb brown sugar
    1/2 lb. Maple Syrup

    1/2 lb Chocolate Malt
    1/2 lb Black Patent
    1/2 lb Biscuit Malt
    1/2 lb Flaked Wheat

    1.5 oz Kent Goldings @ 60 minutes

    WYeast 1084 Irish Ale, from a 1 liter starter.

    I know the wheat should be mashed instead of steeped, so I kinda half-mashed it prior to steeping the grains. You can just take out the wheat altogether.
  6. chuckee

    chuckee Initiate (0) May 11, 2005 Alabama

    Sweet potato flavor is very subtle. I hate to be a turd in the punch bowl, but I think the flavor will be lost in a porter.

    I did a sweet potato beer last summer. It turned out pretty well.

    9# Maris Otter
    .75# Honey Malt
    .25# Biscuit Malt
    .25# Acid Malt (to water condition)
    6# Roasted Sweet Potato mash added in the mash tun, burnt crunchies and all (roasted in a pan)
    .5 oz. Magnum hops
    1/2 tsp calcium chloride in mash (to condition water)
    Efficiency = 82%
    mash @ 154 for 60 mins

    Yeast: 1968 London ESB
  7. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    It is subtle, I agree. Stronger than pumpkin , but subtle nonetheless. Truthfully, a big motivator for me to do this is that I am going to be giving it away as Christmas presents. Many of the folks I give it to will be beer drinkers but not beer geeks. So I was hoping for a beer that would sound interesting to them. Case in point, when I told my non beer friends that I brewed a Rye IPA that sat on top of oak chips soaked in bourbon there was little interest, ha ha ha. But a sweet potato porter? They'll all be signed up for that one. Of course, I want there beer to be tasty as well, since I'll be holding on to a six pack or two.
  8. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Sounds good. Have you brewed this porter before? Any comments on how it turned out. I dig that Maple Syrup you got in there.
  9. chuckee

    chuckee Initiate (0) May 11, 2005 Alabama

    Yeah, eyes light up when sweet potato beer is mentioned.

    One thing to add- the beer benefited from a little extra time for the beer flavors to mellow. This brought the sweet potato flavor out more.

    Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
  10. Providence

    Providence Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island

    Cool, thanks again.
  11. Wreckoncile

    Wreckoncile Aspirant (200) Jul 19, 2011 California

    Brewed it for the first time this past Sunday. Got it fermenting right now, but everything looks good so far. Target gravity per the recipe was 1.072 and my original gravity came in at 1.073.
  12. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,395) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    How do you half-mash flaked wheat?
  13. Wreckoncile

    Wreckoncile Aspirant (200) Jul 19, 2011 California

    The "half-mashed" comment was supposed to be a play on half-assed. Essentially, I steeped my flaked wheat in the water from ~120 degrees up until I achieved steeping temp of 155 for my grain bill. After reaching steep temp, I put the rest of my grain bill in there, let that whole deal steep for 30 minutes, took about a gallon and a half of the steeped runnings and did my "ghetto sparge" technique (run the first runnings through a small pasta strainer over another pasta strainer and back into the steep pot from there).

    This was only my second brew and $$$ is tight right now so I have had to kinda make due and wing it through parts of the process based on my fairly limited knowledge base as a rookie brewer. From the research I did on the distinctions between a mash and a steep, this seemed like the closest and easiest means of achieving the starch to sugar conversion from the flaked wheat that I could figure. If not, no biggie. I'll have starch in my beer, but at least I'll have the thicker mouthfeel that I was aiming for.
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,395) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Ah. Okay. Because the flaked wheat is not malted, it doesn't contain the enzymes needed to convert starches to sugars (regardless of how long you steep or at what temps). The way around this is to do a mini-mash along with roughly the same amount of a base malt. To conduct any mash (mini or otherwise), you need...

    - an enzymatic base malt (in addition to whatever other grains you're using)
    - a suitable mash temp (your 155F would be fine, and no need to ramp it up from 120)
    - a water to grain ratio that promotes conversion (1 to 2 qts water per pound of grain is a good place to start).
  15. Wreckoncile

    Wreckoncile Aspirant (200) Jul 19, 2011 California

    Based on this, I think I should be good. I used 1 gallon of water for what ended up a total grain bill of 2 lbs. I steeped/mashed at 155, and while I started with the just the half lb of flaked wheat in at 120, once I got up to 155, I added to the other 1.5 lbs of enzymatic base malt.
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,395) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I should have explained better. The grain bill you listed didn't include an enzymatic base malt. This would be something like Pale Ale Malt or Pilsener Malt. So you'll have some starches in your beer. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either.
  17. atomeyes

    atomeyes Aspirant (282) Jul 13, 2011 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    i'd treat it exactly like pumpkin. cook it first. roast it.
    i'd suggest the porter and i'd make sure the porter had some nice sweetness to it.
    i'd spice it like pumpkin pie. i'd suggest any of the following: vanilla, nutmeg (very little!), cinnamon
  18. Wreckoncile

    Wreckoncile Aspirant (200) Jul 19, 2011 California

    Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Still learning the whole process but loving every minute of it. Between the forum here and homebrewtalk, I feel I'm really picking up a pretty good knowledge base of the brewing process, and gradually getting some information on the actual science behind the brewing (which I really want to learn, but I'm focused on just getting a few brews under my belt for ironing out best practices on brew day). I suppose a little starch won't hurt for now (will help the mouthfeel and will put a few extra calories in each beer so that I can convince my wife not to drink them if they turn out tasty), but that's something I'll definitely pay attention to and fix in future runs.
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