Ocho's Lusty Winter is the ideal companion for a Tasmanian winter night. An exemplary Baltic Porter, this rich and toasty brew balances the sweetness of chocolate with the silkiness of a well-brewed coffee. And while it may seem a little too smooth to be true, there are a few scientific secrets that head brewer Stu Grant used to achieve the beer's high drinkability.
Firstly, the beer features roast barley, the characteristic grain of stouts and porters, used in an less conventional way. Instead of adding the dark, roasted grains to the mash (not sure what this is? Check out our introduction blog!) as one usually would, the crushed grain is steeped in cold water prior to the brewing day. The resulting dark liquid is separated from the roasted grains and added to the brew at the end of the boil, just prior to fermentation. The idea is that the higher temperatures of the mash bring out undesirable traits, such as astringency and harsh flavours, while steeping the grain in cold water removes those, leaving a roasty punch with an unrivalled smoothness.
The second piece of the puzzle is the distinctive fermentation conditions of Baltic Porters. The Porter, named so because of its reverence among the dockworkers of England, was taken to the Baltic states in the late 18th century and fermented at cooler temperatures. Higher temperatures during fermentation encourage the production of fusel alcohols which lead to the formation of esters, the flavour compounds responsible for the “fruity” aromas found in beer. When beers are fermented at lower temperatures, as is the case in Baltic Porters, the yeast is less active, resulting in a longer fermentation and conditioning process and leading to a cleaner finish and a well-balanced brew - qualities that are undeniably characteristic of Ocho’s Lusty Winter.