As the seasons change so too does the seasonal beer on tap at The Wild Boar Brewhouse. Mad Pig Ale, our 4.0% ABV house ale, will be ever present but Hogshead 54, a 5.5% imperial pale ale, will go into hibernation for the winter. With longer nights and colder days something altogether more hardy and warming will be needed to step in and take its place for a season.
Porters are dark, rich and toasty. Their natural habitat is a cold winter’s night accompanying a hearty meal. I am a big fan of Porter and it saddens me that their appreciation is so limited and that there are so few of them made. So, with this in mind, I have decided to contribute towards rectifying that situation and brew a porter as the winter seasonal at The Wild Boar.
However, fuelled by a barrier-breaking, progressive spirit of adventure we have decided to go a step further and smoke this porter in The Wild Boar Smokehouse. More accurately, we have decided to smoke a proportion (roughly half) of the malted barley that is used to produce the beer. To develop the recipe, I fished out my trusty pilot kit and started experimenting. Knowing that the biscuity, chocolate flavours in conventional porter would carry the smoke well, it was about achieving balance.
The final recipe tones down the traditional dark malt flavours to a point where they are undeniably present but not masking the smoke. The smoke comes through on both the nose and palette to balance punch with drinkability. Think of a smoked bacon rasher dunked in a dark chocolate sauce and you’re on the right lines.
The naysayers will say that that sounds disgusting, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried. Savoury-sweet combinations are at the heart of so many great flavour experiences and if this beer can begin to deliver such flavours I will be very pleased. It has been a real pleasure developing this recipe and I hope it goes down well when it appears on the bar. This sort of brewing is what I love to do and what gets me out of bed in the morning.
I expect this beer will divide opinion and will certainly not be to everyone’s taste. However, I think that a lot of people, after their second or third sip, will find it both drinkable and delicious.
- Written by Tim Bloomer, Master-brewer at The Wild Boar Brewhouse