Vanilla Porter

Porter is one of my favorite styles of beer. I particularly like the Robust Porters, and I like to think about them more like bitter chocolate.
The balance of the sweetness from the caramel malts and roasty character from the chocolate and black patent malts makes this beer a tricky one. But that also leaves so much room to play and make a porter that you like.
Perhaps you may like yours a little less bitter or a little more roasty or a little more sweet !!!
Want to make an already complex beer more complex ?
Start adding fruits like raspberry and strawberry or add spices, oak chips, Vanilla, and so on.

This time I chose to add some Vanilla to my Bitter Chocolate :)
I took the good old Robust porter recipe and added Vanilla extract to a part of the beer at bottling.

Here is the base recipe -

Batch Size : 16L
OG : 1.063 ,  FG : 1.017

5Kgs Best Malts Pale Ale Malt
280g Crystal 120 Malt
250g Oats
200g Chocolate Malt
50g   Black Patent

15g   Columbus ( 60 mins ) - Reduce this to 12gms if you like less bitter beer
7.5g  East Kent Golding ( 5 mins )

Whirfloc  1/4th tablet ( 15 mins )
S04 Starter ( created a few days ago and stored in fridge )

4g of Baking soda in sparge water

6ml extract at bottling in 5 litres of porter to make a Vanilla porter

I brewed the porter in the regular way. The only difference was that I added 4 gms of Baking Soda in the sparge water to counter the PH reduction caused by the dark malts.
The primary fermentation was done for 14 days.

The interesting twist was at bottling. Everytime one tries to add flavoring to a beer, its always a big risk. Too less of the flavoring and nobody detects it, too much flavoring and its overpowers everything else. In this case I would end up with a Vanilla milk shake.

So I just decided to make Vanilla porter out of 5 liters out of the 16 liters of beer.
At bottling I racked 5 liters of beer to a different bottling container, and added 5 grams of Sprig  Vanilla extract. You can also use Vanilla beans, too but don't use artificial Vanilla essence.

Make sure you dissolve the extract in a cup of boiled water and then rack the beer over it, so it gets mixed thoroughly with the beer.

Another option is to add the Vanilla in Secondary fermentation, but sometimes the flavor can be lost while doing that, but it could also mean that the beer achieves peak flavor earlier in the bottle.
If you try it, let me know how it works.

Tasting Notes :
Tasted the beer after 2 weeks of bottling and the flavors had not come together. You could taste the bitterness and roastiness and the Vanilla being separate things.

But when we tasted the beer after 4 weeks, the flavors were close to what I wanted. Bitter chocolate with Vanilla. The Vanilla was far more subtle and the chocolate flavors from the malt were jelling very well with the beer.
A few tasters said, they would like the bitterness to be lesser, which is what will happen with more ageing.

Rest of the beer bottled as a plain ( dare I call such a complex beer plain ;-) ) robust porter turned our well too.


  1. wow this is really awesome

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. We have brewed this on a comercial scale and will hit the taps soon..


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