Homebrew Recipes: Porter & Vanilla Porter

Unhopped Dark Malt Extract – 1 can
Dark Dried Malt Extract – 2 lbs.
Malto-Dextrin – 8 oz.
Chocolate Grain Malt – 6 oz.
Hop Pellets – 1 oz.
Ale Yeast – 1 pack
Priming Sugar – 5 oz.
Optional: 1.5 oz. Pure Vanilla Extract

Starting Gravity: 1.043-1.045
Final Gravity: 1.012-1.014
Approx. Alch. by Vol.: 4.1%


  • Remove the label from the can of malt extract, wash the can and place into a pot of hot water to soften the syrup.
  • Place 1-1 1/2 gallons of water in the brewpot and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat off. Place chocolate grain malt in a seeping bag, and seep in the hot water for 20-30 minutes. Then remove and discard the spent grains, and bring water to a boil.
  • Turn heat off. Stir the water with a long handled spoon while slowly pouring in the malt extract. Continue stirring while you add the dried malt extract, malto-dextrin and hops. Stir until dissolved, then bring water to a boil. Note: When it first boils, the mixture will foam. Reduce heat and foam will subside. Turn heat back on and repeat process until foaming stops. Boil for 20-30 minutes.
  • Place 3 gallons of cold water into your fermenting bucket, and slowly add the hot mixture. Top off with cold water to 5 gallons.


  • Allow the mixture (called wort) to cool to 90 degrees F.
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the mixture. (Optional: Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then stir wort gently with 1 or 2 strokes of a long-handled spoon.
  • Seal fermenting bucket, and allow wort to sit for 2 weeks before bottling.


  • In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of water and the priming sugar. Mix until dissolved and bring water to a boil.
  • Siphon beer from fermenting bucket to the bottling bucket. Slowly add the warm sugar mixture. As the bucket fills the mixture should mix thoroughly.
  • Don’t allow the siphoning hose to pick up sediment from the bottom of the fermenting bucket, leave 2-3 inches from bottom of bucket.
  • Optional: Add vanilla extract to bottling bucket, stir slowly and let sit for 10 minutes prior to bottling.
  • Bottle beer using spigot and bottle filler from kit. Cap bottles.
  • Store bottles in a cool place and allow to age for two weeks before drinking.

31 thoughts on “Homebrew Recipes: Porter & Vanilla Porter

  1. the nut brown was good. it smelled sort of like wine I thought at first. and it had a more earthy taste than big label beer. like I had let a juice box sit in the sun for 2 months and it fermented. so it had a bit of a bite, which was fine.
    all this to say I am in no way qualified to judge beer….I like most of it, and this was no exception. it was not as smooth as a Newcastle (my fav) but it was better than alot of other beers I’ve had.
    plus it was a fantastic birthday gift from a great brewmaster that made it even better.

  2. The Nut Brown hit me kind of strangely upon first sip. Like I didn’t know what to make of it and couldn’t really figure out what I was tasting. It gets better with subsequent sips. (And even better with subsequent bottles! 😆 ) I was nervous about how the beer would travel. It went from cold to room temp. a couple times along the trip and was jostled around in the trunk a bit.

    The other two are technically ready to drink now, but will be even better the longer you give them. I’ve had a couple now and think the Porter came out really well. Smooth, malty with just a touch of hoppy bitterness. Yum.

    I wasn’t as impressed with the Vanilla Porter. It’s alright, but the vanilla taste is a bit too strong for my liking. But it’s my fault.

    Typically a batch yields 48 bottles. So I bottled the first 24 and then added vanilla for the second half. The recipe called for 1.5 oz. of extract, so I should have put .75 oz in for half a batch. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to give it a little extra kick, so I added the whole 1 oz bottle. Only problem is, the batch only gave me about 40 beers (not sure why), so there’s just way too much vanilla in that batch as a result.


    Glad you enjoyed the Nut Brown.

  3. i really enjoyed the nut brown. as jim said it did smell a little like wine at first, but i liked the flavor a lot. i had a couple new castles after and admit that i liked yours a little more. as with most homebrews and microbrews i am not sure how many i could have had before feeling full, but certainly enjoyed the little bit that i had.

  4. Let’s not kid ourselves here. My Nut Brown is not better than Newcastle. 😆

    Your’e right, micros and homebrews do tend to be a bit heavier. Part of the reason is because they tend to be birthed out of anti-commercial beer rebellion. Your lighter beers dominate the marketplace because they’re brewed to appeal to the greatest possible number of people. (Or, lowest common denominator – depending on your perspective. 😆 ) So Miller, Budweiser, Coors, etc. tend to be light in both malt and hops – as well as calories and carbs.

    I’m actually brewing a Pilsner next. Beer snobs might turn up their noses, but I want to have something with a little more mass appeal on hand.

  5. i like a good Pilsner. and it will probably be better than a cheap light Pils you’d get at a store because it will, like you said, be a bit heavier.

  6. the only time i’ve ever tasted beer, it tasted like urine.

    don’t you have to trick your taste buds into liking this stuff? like smoking. your lungs rebel as soon as you take that first drag. you have to literally beat them into submission. is this what beer drinkers do to their taste buds?

    (i like good wine…even good rum…but beer is gross. actually, i really just don’t like alchohol at all. give me tea or coffee any day)

  7. And how exactly would you know what urine tastes like Stem? 😆

    It’s an acquired taste for many. I really didn’t like beer at all the first handful of times I had it. But then again, I would also attribute alot of that to the quality of the beer I was drinking. (Genny, Milwaukee’s Best, Natty, whatever was cheap).

    Then again, I never liked black coffee until recently. So I imagine it’s similar.

  8. well…about the urine thing…

    unfortunately i accidently drank some as a kid. it’s a long and gross story.

    suffice enough to say: it’s out of this world nasty.

    and no joke, beer and urine taste very VERY similar.

  9. who is the arab dude that drinks his own pee every morning…the leader of syria maybe???

    your beer sounds good…i had a pastor friend who made his own brew and i loved the hef he made one time….he made an oat based beer that I thought had much to be desired….

    man i knew i shouldn’t have missed out on jims party….

  10. true story.

    playing football at a friends house in grade school, one of the guys tells the friends little brother to get us some kool aid. kid comes back and gives him the pitcher, and he drinks right out of it, then stops and says “why is the kool aid warm?”

    and the urine taste would be related to the budweiser in my expert opinion (a belly like this is my trophy). a lot of people don’t care for dark rich beers like stouts, which are my favorites, guinness being the best – but only from the tap. i honestly think it’s better than a milkshake. but any domestic “30 rack” beer is awful. i’d rather drink water. and do if that’s all that’s available. i think sam adams is the only good popular american beer.

  11. @Jim E. – Glad to hear. I like the Porter alot as well. Though, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a type of beer that doesn’t go well with pizza.

    (Except maybe…)

    @Stem – Yeah, I would chalk your piss poor beer drinking experience to the fact that it was Bud. Your maltier beers (porters, stouts) and your hoppier beers (Pale Ale, IPA) have more distinct flavors and bear [sic?] less of a resemblance to human waste in terms of flavor and aroma.

    Even though I tend to enjoy most varieties of beer, there are some I simply can’t stomach. It’s blasphemy that I don’t care for Genny, being that it’s been brewed here in Rochester since the late 1800s, but it’s awful. Anyone had Steel Reserve? That stuff will melt your bowels.

    All that to say there’s plenty of bad beers out there. I’d put Bud on that list, but then again it is the largest selling beer in the country. But then again, then again, that doesn’t make Coke the best soda or McDonald’s the best fast food joint.

  12. Is there a need to differentiate between cola and soda? Either way it’s just flavored carbonated high fructose corn syrup.

    1. Pepsi
    2. Dr. Pepper
    3. Wegmans Root Beer

    1. Burger King
    2. Wendy’s
    3. Taco Bell

  13. shane, i say cola only to point out that it’s a dark, caramalized drink…this is how the health describes it, anyway.

    “Soda” is universal, unless you’re in the deep south and then everything is a “coke”

    of course, i grew up saying “pop” but morphed into saying soda when it became apparent that is what the cool kids said.

    regardles, you’ve uttered SHEER and UTTER blasphemy with your soda/fast food list and i’m not sure i can still consider you a friend.

    1. Mt. Dew
    2. Coke
    3. Bargs Root Beer

    1. Wendy’s
    2. Rally’s
    3. Chick fil-et

  14. We have neither Rally’s nor Chik-fil-a in these parts. I’ve never even heard of Rally’s. Chik-fil-a would likely be higher on my list if it didn’t remind me of Gainesville.

  15. without a rally’s, you are lost. the fries alone will change your life. it’s a religous experience. the only fries better on planet earth are from “five guys and fries”…but they aren’t really fast food, so i didn’t list them.

    i weep for the northeast.

  16. i waited tables in this irish joint for about 2 days in floribama. the whole “everything is coke” thing was too confusing 🙂

    and like with your genny, there’s this RI ale called narragansett (pawtucket pat in family guy is a spoof on it) that is aaaaawful, but all RIers love it, b/c it’s “theirs”. and for some reason i don’t care for IPA. i guess it doesn’t make me fat enough 😉

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