The Brewer: Big Pop Brewing
Hi, I’m Ryan Hansen from Big Pop Brewing.
I got into homebrewing after realizing that I’d never catch up to my wife’s cooking abilities—she’s just too good! I wanted my own craft that would allow me to experiment with ingredients and allow me to create a form of art. I started with a little 1-gallon stovetop DME kit and never looked back
Now I have a “brewery” in my third car garage, where I can nerd out whenever I want. Having a space like that also helps bring people together. When the door is open, it’s pretty safe to assume a neighbor (or ten!) will roll through to hang out while the kids play outside.
I was the brewmaster for a while at a local brewery, and now I focus on brew consulting for startup breweries or restaurants wanting to add pilot systems so they can serve their own house beers. Aside from beer, I also make ciders, seltzers, wine, and distilled spirits.
The Beer: Porter
I used this Bubba’s Porter recipe (scaled up) to brew the nation’s first commercial beer ever brewed on Native American land—it literally made history!
This is one of my house beers that I always have on tap. My house beers are named after my four kids’ nicknames. My oldest son goes by Bubba, hence the name Bubba’s Porter.
The Recipe: Bubba’s Porter
- 13 lbs 2-Row
- 1.5 lbs Caramel Malt
- 1 lbs Munich II
- 0.5 oz Black Malt
- 0.5 oz Chocolate
- Boil hops: 1 oz Columbus - 0:60 min
- Boil hops: 2 oz Cascade - 0:15 min
- WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast
BATCH SIZE: 5 gal
MASH TEMP: 152 ºF
BOIL: 60 min
68ºF - 10 days
SYSTEM: Spike Solo System and Spike Flex
1. Have Fun
This is such a fun recipe to brew! Start with good water and don't worry about the numbers too much.
2. Don’t Worry About Messing Up
The deep chocolate notes make this a recipe that's hard to mess up. It's a crowd-pleaser and I always keep it on tap.
Ryan Hansen – Big Pop Brewing
Spike Summarizes: All Things Porter Beer
What Is a Porter Beer?
Originating in 18th-century England, porter beer is a dark, malty, and full-bodied style crafted from a mix of malted barley, hops and yeast.
This flavorful beer boasts a rich body, deep color, smooth, creamy texture, roasted malt taste and gentle hop bitterness. Typically, porters have a lower alcohol content compared to other styles, making them perfect for leisurely sipping and savoring.
While they are especially popular during colder months, porter beers can be enjoyed year round. Their versatile nature allows them to complement a wide range of dishes, from succulent grilled meats to indulgent chocolate desserts.
What Is the History of Porter Beer?
With a rich history dating back to 18th century England, porter beer is believed to have been conceived by a London brewer named Ralph Harwood. He combined three distinct beers to create a novel style, resulting in a dark, full-bodied brew with a multifaceted flavor.
By the 19th century, the style reached the United States, where American brewers naturally developed their own spin on the style. American Porters were (and still are) slightly sweeter and more robust than their English counterparts.
What Does a Porter Taste Like?
Porter beer boasts a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from other beer styles.
With a malty sweetness, it features hints of roasted coffee, chocolate, and toffee, while maintaining a well-balanced taste through moderate hop bitterness and a smooth, creamy finish.
The robust yet smooth flavor of porter beer comes from the use of dark malts, which also contribute to its deep brown or black color. The roasted barley brings a rich, coffee-like taste, further enhancing the beer's complexity.
What Are the Different Types of Porter Beer?
English Brown Porter
English Brown Porter, a classic beer style originating in 18th-century England, boasts a deep, dark brown color and full-bodied flavor with roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee hints. This medium-bodied beer has a 4-6% ABV, 20-30 IBU moderate bitterness, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish.
Baltic Porter, a beer style originating in the Baltic region of Europe, is typically brewed with lager yeast, resulting in a smooth, slightly sweet, and crisp taste. Dark in color with a roasted malt aroma, this full-bodied beer has a higher alcohol content (6-10% ABV) compared to other Porters.
Its flavor profile has evolved to include chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, and a hint of smokiness. Perfect for cold winter nights, Baltic Porter complements roasted meats, stews, hearty dishes, and desserts like chocolate cake or ice cream.
American Porter, a modern take on the classic English Porter, features a deep color and robust flavor from its blend of dark malts. With a medium to full body and moderate hop bitterness, this beer often includes specialty malts like chocolate, caramel, and roasted varieties, creating a unique flavor.
Its moderate alcohol content makes it a versatile choice for pairing with meals or as a dessert beer, offering a dark yet approachable option for beer enthusiasts.
Smoke Porter, a unique beer style with roots in Germany's Rauchbier, is brewed using smoked malts dried over an open flame. The smoky flavor and aroma can vary from subtle to intense, depending on the smoked malts used. Typically dark-colored and medium to full-bodied, it features moderate hop bitterness.
Flavored Porter is a distinct beer style, incorporating various ingredients like fruits, spices, herbs, or chocolate during fermentation for a unique flavor profile.
Popular options include fruit-forward Porters with dark fruits like cherries, currants, or plums, offering a sweet, tart taste and deep ruby hue.
- Chocolate Porters, made with cocoa powder or similar ingredients, delivers a smooth, creamy experience with subtle chocolate notes.
- Herbal and spiced porters, often featuring pumpkin, use cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves for a warm, spicy flavor—perfect for fall and winter.
Barrel-Aged Porter, a complex and increasingly popular beer style, is aged in wooden barrels—usually whiskey ones—allowing the beer to absorb flavors and aromas from the wood and the previous spirit.
With a rich, dark color and smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel, this porter features complex flavors like roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit, and an aroma of oak, whiskey, and vanilla. Alcohol content ranges from 4-12%, depending on the aging duration.
What Do I Pair With a Porter Beer?
Porter beer's unique flavors make it a versatile pairing for various dishes, from light snacks to hearty meals.
The beer's maltiness and subtle sweetness complement smoked salmon and cream cheese, while its earthy tones can enhance a classic beef stew.
For an unconventional option, try porter with blue cheese and walnuts; the beer's sweetness balances the cheese's pungency and the walnuts' nuttiness. In any case, porter beer is the perfect companion to a wide range of dishes.
What Kind of Beer Is a Porter?
Porter is a type of dark beer made with a combination of malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. The hops and the dark malt used in the brewing process give the beer a unique flavor and color. Porters are typically darker than other beer styles, ranging from dark brown to black in color.
Is a Porter the Same as a Stout?
No, a porter and a stout are two different types of beer. Stouts are made with roasted, unmalted barley, while porters are made with malted barley. Stouts are usually darker in color than porters and have a stronger flavor.
What Is a Porter vs. a Stout Beer?
The main difference between porter and stout beer is the ingredients used in the brewing process. Porters are made with malted barley, while stouts are made with roasted, unmalted barley. Porters are usually darker in color than stouts and have a more subtle flavor.
Is a Porter a Strong Beer?
Porters range from 4% to 12% ABV. It’s not as strong as some other beer styles, such as imperial stouts and barley wines.
Why Is This Beer Called a Porter?
The name “porter” was first used in the 18th century to describe a type of beer that was popular among London’s working-class people. The beer was dark in color and had a strong flavor.
Is Porter a Lager or an Ale?
Porter is a type of ale. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast, which ferments at higher temperatures than lagers.