Nothing is better than a Porter on a wintery night

Why not read about beer while brewing? Grab one of our educational materials to read until you can grab a glass of beer! These articles will lead you through the path of making beer with useful brewing tips.

As my grandmother always said, there’s nothing better than a good old brown beer on a wintery night. During growing up, I’ve often found myself in the kitchen helping her cooking dinner, and she really was my first impression of beer lovers, believe it or not! This is basically the reason why I’ve learned so early that in spite of their similar colour Stouts and Porters are not the same type of beer. While I coloured my drawings, kneaded the cookie dough or did my homework, my granny always told me the best family stories between two gulps of Porter or Stout. Around that time, even though I wasn’t aware of it, my beer enthusiasm has started to bloom, and it hasn’t been reversed since then.

Porters are top fermented, luscious kind of Ales, with colours from light brown to the blackest black. The taste of this type is characterized by good bite and fullness of flavour, sweetish with roasted aromas – that can easily remind you of dark chocolate, coffee beans, and even baked apple. Knowing this, it’s kind of obvious now why this drink is the beverage of Winter.
One of the greatest achievements of the Industrial Revolution was the consistent quality of the produced goods. Porter was the first category that was brought in a mass-produced beer in this industry. Its name came from the porters of the dock.

Porter or Stout? Does it even matter?

Yes, of course. The significant difference between these two styles is in the basic components. In the case of Stouts, the key ingredient is malt or black patent malt that gives your drink an espresso-like character. Porters have rather chocolate- or coffee latte-like taste thanks to the bigger amount of chocolate-, caramel- and/or brown malt usage.

According to a legend, Ralph Harwood, the brewer of the Bell Brewhouse has made Porter beer for the first time in 1722. Around that time in England it was a common practice to sell half ready barrels to the pubs, so the drink inside reached its final state at the location of consuming. Due to the ever-changing maturing conditions, the same beer tasted different according to the pub where it has been matured.

This is the oldest Porter description by César de Saussure from 1726:

Another kind of beer is called porter… because the greater quantity of this beer is consumed by the working classes. It is a thick and strong beverage, and the effect it produces if drunk in excess, is the same as that of wine; this porter costs 3d the pot. In London there are a number of houses where nothing but this sort of beer is sold.

Fancy making some Porter to impress your loved ones? Here come the most common types and some tips from a professional brewer!

+ add more from the 40°L malt but if you want your drink to be darker, use less from the 80-150°L malt. 
+ to improve mouth-feel use oat, rye or grain. IBU/OG ratio is preferred between 1 and 1.3
+ use the simplest yeast
+ for colouring use 500°L roasted grain that can be completed with Chocolate malt or sinemar product
+ advanced homebrewers can experiment with adding special B malt
+ use any kind of American hops
+ IBU 40-60

+ carries the characteristics of porters and stouts – Baltic Porter is on the borderline of two categories
+ based on Vienna and Munich malt, you can specialize it with Chocolate malt and Dark malt, Brown malt, Cara aroma or Melano
+ avoid roasted malt
+ use Czech and Slovenian hops
+ if you like to emphasize the malt complexity, use hard water

+ Brown Porter’s base is brown malt (10-60%)
+ the higher the Brown malt ratio the more mashing time it takes
+ there’s no such thing as too much Brown malt
+ moderate hop usage
+ choose hops that are harmonizing with malt: let it be English hop with grassy greenish flavour (and not citric)
+ choose neutral mushrooms as yeasts with quick fermentative ability

+ you can use peat smoked malt
+ water can be hard or sulphuric
+ add Brown malt or Crystal malt but in a smaller quantity than other porters
+ choose seasonal English hops

Try out Brewie’s Porter Pad, the Dark Monk after watching Simon’s video about it!

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