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Simple London Porter Cooking Recipe

Below is the quick and easy cooking recipe for London Porter.

A late writer has given considerable information respecting the brewing of porter. His intention being to exhibit the advantages derived from domestic brewing, he has annexed19 the price of each article of the composition, though it will be seen that the expense on some of the principal articles has been considerably reduced since that estimate was given.

  £ s.   d.
One quarter of malt 0
8lb. of hops010
6lb. of treacle00
8lb. of liquorice root bruised080
8lb. of essentia bina048
8lb. of colouring048
Capsicum half an ounce00
Spanish liquorice two ounces00
India berries one ounce00
Salt of tartar two drams001
Heading a quarter of an ounce001
Ginger three ounces003
Lime four ounces001
Linseed one ounce001
Cinnamon bark two drams00
 3  147
Total expense£ 3177

This will produce ninety gallons of good porter, and fifty gallons of table beer; the cost of the porter at the large breweries being £7 10s. and that of the beer £1 7s. leaves a profit of £5 to the brewer.—The 'essentia bina' is composed of eight pounds of moist sugar, boiled in an iron vessel, for no copper one could withstand the heat sufficiently, till it becomes of a thick syrupy consistence, perfectly black, and extremely bitter. The 'colouring' is composed of eight pounds of moist sugar, boiled till it attains a middle state, between bitter and sweet. It gives that fine mellow colour usually so much admired in good porter. These ingredients are added to the first wort, and boiled with it. The 'heading' is a mixture of half alum, and half copperas, ground to a fine powder. It is so called, from its giving to porter that beautiful head or froth, which constitutes one of the peculiar properties of porter, and which publicans are so anxious to raise to gratify their customers. The linseed, ginger, limewater, cinnamon, and several other small articles, are added or withheld according to the taste or practice of the brewer, which accounts for the different flavours so observable in London porter. Of the articles here enumerated, it is sufficient to observe the London Porter, that however much they may surprise, however pernicious or disagreeable they may appear, they have always been deemed necessary in the brewing of porter. They must invariably be used by those who wish to continue the taste, the flavour and appearance, to which they have been accustomed.—Omitting however those ingredients which are deemed pernicious, it will be seen by the following estimate how much more advantageous it is to provide even a small quantity of home-brewed porter, where this kind of liquor is preferred.

Ingredients necessary for brewing five gallons of porter.

One peck of malt
Quarter of a pound of liquorice bruised0
Spanish liquorice0
Capsicum and ginger0
Total expense4
This will produce five gallons of good porter,
which if bought of the brewer would cost
But being brewed at home, for4
Leaves a clear gain of3

This saving is quite enough to pay for time and trouble, besides the advantage of having a wholesome liquor, free from all poisonous ingredients. Porter thus brewed will be fit for use in a week, and may be drunk with pleasure. To do ample justice to the subject however, it may be proper briefly to notice the specific properties of the various ingredients which enter into the composition of London porter. It is evident that some porter is more heady than others, and this arises from the greater or less quantity of stupefying ingredients intermixed with it. Malt itself, to produce intoxication, must be used in such large quantities as would very much diminish the brewer's profit. Of the wholesomeness of malt there can be no doubt. Pale malt especially is highly nutritive, containing more balsamic qualities than the brown malt, which being subject to a greater degree of fire in the kiln, is sometimes so crusted and burnt, that the mealy part loses some of its best qualities. Amber malt is that which is dried in a middling degree, between pale and brown, and is now much in use, being the most pleasant, and free from either extreme. Hops are an aromatic grateful bitter, very wholesome, and undoubtedly efficacious in giving both flavour and strength to the beer. Yeast is necessary to give the liquor that portion of elastic air, of which the boiling deprives it. Without fermentation, or working, no worts, however rich, can inebriate. Liquorice root is pleasant, wholesome, and aperient. And opposes the astringent qualities of some of the other ingredients; it ought therefore to be used, as should Spanish liquorice, which possesses the same properties. Capsicum disperses wind, and when properly used, cannot be unwholesome: it leaves a glow of warmth on the stomach, which is perceptible in drinking some beers. Ginger has the same effect as capsicum, and it also cleanses and flavours the beer. But capsicum being cheaper is more used, and by its tasteless though extremely hot quality, cannot be so readily discovered in beer as ginger. Treacle partakes of many of the properties of liquorice. And by promoting the natural secretions, it renders porter and beer in general very wholesome. Treacle also is a cheaper article than sugar, and answers the purpose of colour, where the beer is intended for immediate consumption. But in summer, when a body is required to withstand the temperature of the air, and the draught is not quick, sugar alone can give body to porter. Treacle therefore is a discretionary article. Coriander seed, used principally in ale, is warm and stomachic; but when used in great quantity, it is pernicious. Coculus Indicus, the India berry, is poisonous and stupefying, when taken in any considerable quantity. When ground into fine powder it is undiscoverable in the liquor, and is but too much used to the prejudice of the public health. What is called heading, should be made of the salt of steel; but a mixture of alum and copperas being much cheaper, is more frequently used. Alum is a great drier, and causes that thirst which some beer occasions; so that the more you drink of it, the more you want. Alum likewise gives a taste of age to the beer, and is penetrating to the palate. Copperas is well known to be poisonous, and may be seen in the blackness which some beer discovers. Salt is highly useful in all beers; it gives a pleasing relish, and also fines the liquor.—These remarks are sufficient to show the propriety of manufacturing at home a good wholesome article for family use, instead of resorting to a public house for every pint of beer which nature demands, and which when procured is both expensive and19 pernicious. And lest any objection should be made, as to the difficulty and inconvenience of brewing, a few additional observations will here be given, in order to facilitate this very important part of domestic economy. Be careful then to procure malt and hops of the very best quality, and let the brewing vessels be closely inspected; the least taint may spoil a whole brewing of beer. The mash tub should be particularly attended to, and a whisp of clean hay or straw is to be spread over the bottom of the vessel in the inside, to prevent the flour of the malt running off with the liquor. The malt being emptied into the mash tub, and the water brought to boil, dash the boiling water in the copper with cold water sufficient to stop the boiling, and leave it just hot enough to scald the finger, always remembering to draw off the second mash somewhat hotter than the first. The water being thus brought to a proper temperature by the addition of cold water, lade it out of the copper over the malt till it becomes thoroughly wet, stirring it well to prevent the malt from clotting. When the water is poured on too hot, it sets the malt, and closes the body of the grain, instead of opening it so as to dissolve in the liquor. Cover up the mash tub close to compress the steam, and prevent the liquid from evaporating. Let the wort stand an hour and a half or two hours after mashing, and then let the liquor run off into a vessel prepared to receive it. If at first it runs thick and discoloured, draw off a pailful or two, and pour it back again into the mash tub till it runs clear. In summer it will be necessary to put a few hops into the vessel which receives the liquor out of the mash tub, to prevent its turning sour, which the heat of the weather will sometimes endanger. Let the second mash run out as before, and let the liquor stand an hour and a half, but never let the malt be dry: keep lading fresh liquor over it till the quantity of wort to be obtained is extracted, always allowing for waste in the boiling. The next consideration is boiling the wort when obtained. The first copperful must be boiled an hour. And whilst boiling, add the ingredients specified above, in the second estimate. The hops are now to be boiled in the wort, but are to be carefully strained from the first wort, in order to be boiled again in the second. Eight pounds is the common proportion to a quarter of malt. But in summer the quantity must be varied from eight to twelve pounds, according to the heat of the atmosphere. After the wort has boiled an hour, lade it out of the copper and cool it. In summer it should be quite cold before it is set to work; in winter it should be kept till a slight degree of warmth is perceptible by the finger. When properly cooled set it to work, by adding yeast in proportion to the quantity. If considerable, and if wanted to work quick, add from one to two gallons. Porter requires to be brought forward quicker than other malt liquor: let it work till it comes to a good deep head, then cleanse it by adding the ginger. The liquor is now fit for tunning: fill the barrels full, and let the yeast work out, adding fresh liquor to fill them up till they have done working. Now bung the barrels, but keep a watchful eye upon them for some time, lest the beer should suddenly ferment again and burst them, which is no uncommon accident where due care is not taken. The heat of summer, or a sudden change of weather, will occasion the same misfortune, if the barrels are not watched, and eased when they require it, by drawing the peg. The only part which remains to complete the brewing, is fining the beer. To understand this, it is0 necessary to remark, that London porter is composed of three different sorts of malt. Pale, brown, and amber. The reason for using these three sorts, is to attain a peculiar flavour and colour. Amber is the most wholesome, and for home brewing it is recommended to use none else. In consequence of the subtleness of the essentia, which keeps continually swimming in the beer, porter requires a considerable body of finings. But should any one choose to brew without the essentia, with amber malt, and with colour only, the porter will soon refine of itself. The finings however are composed of isinglass dissolved in stale beer, till the whole becomes of a thin gluey consistence like size. One pint is the usual proportion to a barrel, but sometimes two, and even three are found necessary. Particular care must be taken that the beer in which the isinglass is dissolved, be perfectly clear, and thoroughly stale.—By attending to these directions, any person may brew as good, if not better porter, than they can be supplied with from the public houses. Many notions have been artfully raised, that porter requires to be brewed in large quantities, and to be long stored, to render it sound and strong. But experience will prove the falsehood of these prejudices, which have their origin with the ignorant, and are cherished by the interested. One brewing under another will afford ample time for porter to refine for use, and every person can best judge of the extent of his own consumption. Porter is not the better for being brewed in large quantities, except that the same trouble which brews a peck, will brew a bushel. This mode of practice will be found simple and easy in its operation, and extremely moderate in point of trouble and expense.

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