The Perfect Porter: 7 Tips for Brewing a Delicious and Robust Porter

January 28, 2019

The Perfect Porter: 7 Tips for Brewing a Delicious and Robust Porter

The Perfect Porter: 7 Tips for Brewing a Delicious and Robust Porter.

To brew, or not to brew, that is the question.

Well, not really. It's more like, "What kind of beer should I brew, a stout, lager, or porter?"

Let's go with the king of all brews: porter beer. But how do you start, and what makes this delicious beer the perfect choice for aspiring brewers? 

If you're looking for a quick, easy way to make a rich, delicious, and versatile beer, keep reading!

What Makes Porter Beer Different?

You might be asking, "What is a porter beer, and why should I spend my time and energy brewing this beer?"

The answer is that porter has some of the most complex flavors of any beer available. It can come in both dark and light colors to suit anyone's taste.

Since porter beer is an ale, it's most commonly confused with a stout.

If you're debating stout vs porter, the best option depends on what you like. The only major difference is the types of malt used in making each beer. On the whole, porter beer is made with malted barley, while stout beer is made from top fermentation and unmalted roasted barley.

If you enjoy the taste of a strong coffee, stout is your beer. It has a creamier taste while not being as sweet as porter or ale. 

Porters are rich and pair nicely with dark fruit like blueberries and pomegranate. They can also be added to more filling flavors like toffee and nuts.

The most popular porter pairings are cereal flavors like oats and barley, which stand out nicely against the porter's sour notes. The best porter beers are dark and rich.

1. Get the Right Ingredients

Let's go over what you'll need for your perfect porter brew. The first set of ingredients you'll need are the following:

Malted Barley (Malt)

This is one of the hardest choices you have to make as a home brewer. You can use brown or crystal malts to get a rich dark brown color that'll give your home-brew that classic porter look. Or if you're feeling more adventurous, chocolate malts add great flavor.

For this recipe, you should have at least 5 lb of malted barley grain to work with as well as other flavors of malt you want to add.

Hops

Because of tradition, the best hops are usually made with English hops like Fuggles or Goldings. If those aren't available, you should try Cascade.

Be aware of how bitter hops can be if you want a beer that's a little sweeter. Typically, if you're looking for a mild porter that's not too bitter, you want International Bitterness Units (IBU) to be around 18, whereas if you want something richer, aim for around 50 IBU.

Yeast

This is one of the more simple ingredients to add. The best option available for yeast is Wyeast (Ringwood Ale)

We'll go over some spices and additions you can add to your porter later. We've carefully selected some of the best flavors on the market to help you make your first brewing experience delicious.

The recipe we're following is a 5-gallon brown porter. Now, let's get started!

2. Steep the Grains

Seeping the grain improves the color and flavor of the beer. The most popular beers on earth usually contain some kind of steeped grain. It adds a freshness that pairs nicely with the sour of porter beer and any dark fruit you choose to add.

This step has to be done carefully. Place the grain in a bag and bring it to a boil in around 5 gallons of water. Heat it up to around 152F for around 30 minutes. Make sure the grains have been crushed to expose any sugar inside of the grain.

Though you don't have to use a bag, it works best for making sure that the grain is easy to remove. But it can also be removed by pouring the water and grains over a strainer.

After this, remove the grains from the heat and add in the malt.

There are some things to note about this step. Although you have some wiggle room in terms of temperature, you shouldn't go over 170F. If you boil it too high, then the grains will release extra tannins, which might have a negative effect on human health and will give your beer a bitter and unpleasant taste.

3. Add Hops and Yeast 

Next, add the hops and boil for 25 minutes. After this time has passed, add in the yeast. 

4. Bring up to a Boil

Let the mixture continue to boil for around 25 minutes. Then wait for the mixture to cool down.

5. Add Some Spice

This is when you can get creative and add thing like coffee extract. At this point, it pays to think about what flavors you like, including raspberry and cranberry. Mix and match to see what suits you.

6. Let It Sit

Now it's time to play the waiting game. Since you've brewed your beer, you have to let it sit for at least 2 weeks.

7. Enjoy Your Porter

The best way to enjoy beer is with an excellent food combination.

Some classic delicious examples are oysters and steak. If you're feeling less fancy, go with barbecue. If you want to go in a more adventurous direction, consider that porters pair nicely with venison.

You can also pair it with a dessert like vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate.

Want More Home Brewing Tips

Now that you know how to make porter beer, how about some more tips on brewing?

If you want to make the best beer possible, check out our store.