Monday, October 29, 2012

Brew Day: Brown Porter

Besides from brewing a few bitters, I haven't made many English style beers these past few months and it seems a few of my friends have noticed. With a holiday beer party scheduled for early December, I have been asked to bring two kegs of 'malty' beer to the event, including a bigger version of Fuller's London Porter. While a big and chocolaty porter would certainly be a hit, brewing and properly conditioning such a beer in a month's time - one that contains a large % of brown malt - would be close to impossible. Instead, a smaller and simpler porter would be ready to drink earlier than a bigger version and probably be appreciated at a party where the beer selection will mostly consist of IPA's and Belgian Quads. Moreover, given my recent fermentation issues with Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) yeast, I don't want to risk turning up to the party with a keg of sub par beer. As such, the recipe for this beer is a 50-50 mix of Golden Promise and Warminster Maris Otter, with smaller amounts of crystal, chocolate, and brown malt. On a whim, I decided to add some chocolate rye malt to the grist, using up what I had leftover from my last brew day. It certainty isn't needed, but wont hurt anything. Yeast will be Wy1318 (London III). This should be ready to drink by late November.

Yeoman Porter: Brown Porter
Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.25
Anticipated OG: 1.050
Anticipated FG: 1.012
Anticipated SRM: 25
Anticipated IBU: 28
Efficiency: 75%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

81.1% - 7.50 lbs. Pale Malt, GP/MO
8.1%   - 0.75 lbs. Medium Crystal
5.4%   - 0.50 lbs. Chocolate Malt
3.2%   - 0.30 lbs. Brown Malt
2.2%   - 0.20 lbs. Chocolate Rye

1.25 oz. EKG @ 60 min for 25 IBU
0.50 oz. EKG @ 15 min for 3 IBU

Yeast: Wyeast 1318 London III
Mash 154F for 60 min
Brewed on 28 October


  1. I'm planning to experiment with brown porters in the next few months. Your blog is great starting point! I'm really happy that I found it.

    What would you change in this recipe to make it "bigger" besides larger % of brown malt?

    I also read your posts about making your own brown malt in open fire. I experimented making brown malt in the oven. Is there a big taste difference between the two approach?


    1. Just more brown, crystal, and pale malts. The SG of this beer is very close to Fullers, although it has around 5% less brown malt which makes a big difference.

      As for brown malt, while I haven't made any in an oven, just from comparing what I've been making to the commercial stuff, the two really are quite different. The fire-kilned brown malt has more roasted flavor - sorta like a chocolate/cocao powder/licorice - and it does retain some of those smokey, fire type flavors. Also, the fuel source does seem to impart its own flavor to the grain. In contrast, the commerical stuff is more of a clean, toasted-lightly roast type flavor, which I assume would be similar for the oven made stuff.

      Regardless, keep up the experimentation and if you are interested in making some of the fire-kilned stuff, I say go for it. More the merrier. Good luck with the brown porters too. Cheers.

  2. Hi,

    Recently brewed a very close version to 'Fullers London Porter' instead of using med colour crystal I opted for the same percentage in a dark crystal. fermented with London Ale III. after 10 weeks conditioning this beer is spot on.

    I personally think the brown malt addition makes this beer - everyone who try's it likes it - most of whom have never sampled a porter before. however due to living on the south coast just outside of London (UK) my Dad has memories of his grand parents quaffing the stuff.

    A very good choice. I may try the chocolate rye next time.



    1. Glad to hear your porter came out so well, especially using 1318. That yeast is fast becoming my favorite strain for dark beers. And paired with brown malt, Mmmm...

      Lastly, it is cool your great grandparents were drinking porter back in the day. One of the things I like so much about British beer is that there is always a history behind the beverage, of who drank it and how it is remembered. Sadly, here in the US it seems the only 'old' beer people remember drinking (with any sense of pride) is Ballantine.



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