With the rise in the number of breweries in the UK since the turn of the millennium, the porter has enjoyed something of a resurgence in that time after a dip in its popularity during the 20th century.
So, if you fancy brewing a porter on your next brew day, here’s a bit more info on the beer style itself – as well as recommendations on some of the malts we can deliver to you to help you make that killer beer.
History of the Porter
The earliest known mention of porter by name is in a pamphlet by the political journalist and poet Nicholas Amhurst dated May 22, 1721.
The first porters were brewed in London using 100% brown malt but, once brewers back then realised it only produced about two-thirds as much fermentable material – this is not the case with modern brown malt – the transition was made to primarily use pale malt, which produced more extract and was less expensive to make.
Nowadays, it’s possible to brew a porter using as much as 95% pale malt.
From the 1860s, the porter’s popularity nosedived to the point where, by the 1950s, its production had effectively ceased. However, the 1970s saw the start of the porter’s revival and beers like London Porter from Fuller’s – launched in 1996 – have gone on to win numerous international beer awards.
Base Malt for a Porter
Best Pale Ale Malt – Most modern porters use pale malt as a base and our Best Pale Ale, kilned to between 2.2°L and 3°L, provides a rich, malty flavour that works great in big, full-bodied porters with lots of caramel character. Many other of our base malts can also be used to produce a porter though, including all-rounder Maris Otter and also Extra Pale Ale.
Check out all of our Base Malts HERE.
Highly Kilned Malt for a Porter
Imperial – The warm brown notes Imperial Malt adds to the wort intensifies the depth of colour, without compromising enzymic activity. With its full-bodied flavour and biscuit aroma, its usage can be up to 50% in brown ales and porters. Likewise, Aromatic Malt can be used up to 50% as a base malt for dark beers and gives raisin and plum notes alongside a beautiful brown depth of colour.
Check out all of our Highly Kilned Malts HERE.
Crystal Malt for a Porter
Crystal Medium – Used anywhere between 5% and 15% of the grist in a porter, our Crystal Medium Malt sees caramel and toffee notes come to the forefront, with the appearance of stunning deep hues. Used in small amounts (from 3% to 10%), Crystal Extra Dark can also help balance flavour and colour in porters, while enhancing head retention.
Check out all of our Crystal Malts HERE.
Roasted Malt for a Porter
Brown Malt – In the early days of the porter, the beer was brewed using 100% Brown Malt. Now, of course, that isn’t the case, but Brown Malt is still used in some of the world’s best and most traditional porters, including London Porter from Fuller’s. In fact, John Keeling – former Brewery Director at Fuller’s – told us that the key to any London porter is Brown Malt. Other roasted malts like Chocolate and Black can also be used to significantly enhance a porter.
Check out all of our Roasted Malts HERE.
Extra Special Malts for a Porter
Malted Oats – If it’s an oatmeal porter you’re thinking of brewing, then you’re going to need some Malted Oats. With their large, thick husks, Malted Oats provide the backbone of creaminess and a complexity of flavour in this beer style, smoothing the astringency that may result from the heavy use of roasted grains.
Check out all of our Extra Special Malts HERE.