Secret Society co-conspirator Jon Wikan is the kind of guy who really makes the DIY aesthetic a way of life. For instance, when his family's home in Ellensburg, Washington was flooded last year, he insisted on flying out to do the repairs himself, laying down all-new floors, electrical wiring, and so forth. (You can see before-and-after photos here.) He's been home-roasting his coffee beans for years -- the recording sessions for Infernal Machines were fueled in no small part by Jon's own espresso roast. (Bennett Studios do not own an espresso machine -- undaunted, Jon brought his own rig from home.) Lately, Jon has turned the Astoria apartment he shares with Ingrid into an all-grain brew-and-bottle operation, and has been turning out all manner of craft beers. (He's now thinking about planting hops at the Ellensburg place.)
Naturally, it was only a matter of time before these interests converged. Comrades, we proudly present Jon Wikan's own Secret Society Espresso Porter.
Jon is more of an IPA guy than a porter guy (truly, his love of aromatic hops borders on the obscene) but when it came time to create a Secret Society-inspired brew, it was clear that it would need to be a dark beer. I hipped him to the Smuttynose Robust Porter as inspiration, but we both agreed that the beer needed to contain shots of actual Wikan-roasted espresso. Jon also used three different kinds of high-alpha hops, because that is how he rolls.
"But how can I taste this extraordinary creation?" you ask. I will tell you. At first, Jon intended this ultra small-batch beer as a private reserve for the band, but after much arm-twisting, I have persuaded him to put aside a handful of bottles for you, our most loyal partisans.
So listen, here's the deal: if you come to our show at 45 Bleecker tonight, we will be giving away a bottle of the extremely limited edition Secret Society Espresso Porter to everyone who buys both a CD and a Secret Society T-Shirt at the show.
"Offer good while supplies last" as they say, and supplies are incredibly limited, so if you want one, you'd best make a bee-line for the merch table when you arrive. (The offer will be good on Saturday night as well, assuming there are any bottles left.)
One important caveat: you must promise not to drink the beer right away! It is still very young -- bottled on May 1 -- and needs considerably more time to mature. Take it home, store it at room temperature in a dark place, and give it at least another month (if not two or three) or so to develop. Porters need to age.
Below the fold... Jon's recipe (feel free to make your own batch!), and photos of the brewing process.
Secret Society Espresso Porter
Recipe by Jon Wikan
11# Pale 2 row
1# special b 140L
.5# special 13 140L
.25# Crystal dark 155L
3/4 tsp gypsum PH 4.5 + -
mash water added at 172 degrees
mash temp 160 degrees
5.5 gallons pre-boil
5. gallons post-boil
60 min - 1/2 oz magnum 13.4%
40min - 1/8 oz columbus 9%
10 min - whirlfloc
5 min - 1/3 oz centennial 4%
dry hop - 2 oz cascade
14 shots - home roast of Jump Start Espresso Blend (high caffeine) added at beginning of cooling
cooled w/copper wort chiller about 20 min
wyeast 1056 at 70 degrees
Starting gravity 1.054 (7% abv potential)
Fermented at 165 degrees 1 day
166 2nd day
167 3rd day
168 4th day
Secondary after 5 days
Final result for this batch was 6% ABV, 50 IBU.