Stories | Recent Posts
London porter, in the 1800s, was utterly unmatched in scope, reach, and quality. Our latest small-batch release, Xporter, continues the great tradition of London porter. One of the tricks of the great brew seemed to be in the water:
“Finding that no means whatever, tried in any quarter of the earth, could make porter taste as it did in London, some ingenious individual at length hit on the idea that the cause must lie in the Thames water…”***
Now, this wasn’t exactly true… since the brewers weren’t using the water from the Thames at all (it was filthy by then.) But the hard water the breweries drew from London wells, along with pH balance achieved through use of dark malts, did help to make London porter the finest in the world. So for Xporter, our English Style Brown Porter, we recreated the hard water profile (with high amounts of sulfate) of these legendary beers. And, of course, we used a fair deal of dark malts.
It started at Adnams, in Southwold. Sixpoint brewer Keir Hamilton, (who we coincidentally imported from Scotland) formulated a recipe with the great brewers at Adnams, and traveled to England to brew it, as part of our ongoing cask series with that crew. Then we exported the recipe back to Red Hook, BKLYN, to brew it for NYC and beyond. That wasn’t all – along with recreating the water profile and bringing back the recipe, we got ourselves a sample of Adnam’s house yeast to achieve authentic English malt character in the brew.
Adnams Brewer Daniel Gooderham talked to us about the Adnams house yeast: “Like many traditional ale yeasts it is defined as being a mixed culture, and it certainly provides us with house flavor. There are two classes of yeast in the culture… over time, one strain naturally dies off, and another takes over. Our skill, if you will, is in maintaining an equal population of each.”
Traditionally, hard water brought out the bitterness in English Pale Ales brewed in Burton-on-Trent, but Keir’s concept for Xporter was different: “I’m not particularly fond of extreme flavors, whether it’s bitterness, sourness, or roast. Over the holidays we popped open a highly acclaimed sour… my face nearly folded in half.”
So when Daniel proposed a softer, smoother porter, I was all for it. He left the hop strains to me, and I went with some hops we don’t use much in our rotational beers, ones I’ve mostly only played around with in pilots. Galaxy and Mosaic… I like the fruitiness of them all. We went with mostly late additions to keep bitterness low.”
That’s a unique element of Xporter – though it has traditional English Porter malt and yeast character, we used cutting-edge hop strains only bred in the last decade. The result is distinctly British, but distinctly different. The smooth, caramel + maltiness of the brew plays with tropical and fruity hop notes for a unique drinking experience.
If you have any questions about any of the beer stuff discussed in the article, or want more in-depth knowledge, drop us a line on twitter and we’ll chat about it!
You can also find Xporter on the Sixpoint Mobile App under “On Draft.” The app is your go-to for finding our brew on the run.
***per an article written in the 1830s on porter, per Ron Pattinson’s exemplary beer blog, Shut up About Barclay Perkins