Robust Porter (For Beginning Homebrewers) Recipe

Robust Porter (For Beginning Homebrewers) Recipe

[Photographs: Sarah Postma]

This recipe is designed for the beginning brewer, and is about the same level of difficulty as the Pale Ale recipe.

There is a lot of steeping grain used in this recipe—over two pounds—so you should pick up a larger mesh steeping bag when you purchase your ingredients. The smaller hop bags won't be enough to hold this much grain.

The specialty malts used for steeping are crystal 40L, chocolate malt, and black patent malt.

The main extract is the basic light liquid malt extract, and we're also going to also use a Munich liquid extract to add a complex malt flavor.

The yeast is the standard American yeast, and you'll need to make a 1 liter starter of either Wyeast 1056 or Whitelabs WLP001 to ensure healthy fermentation of this 6.5% brew. If you don't have the time to make a starter, an 11.5 gram package of Safale US-05 is a good substitute.

As always, the first step to success is proper sanitation. Mix up at least three gallons of sanitizing solution in your sanitizing bucket (either Iodophor or Star San), and sanitize every utensil that comes in contact with the wort after the boil is complete. Before you transfer your wort to the fermentation vessel, pour the sanitizer into the vessel and swirl the sanitizer around so it touches every surface, then pour it back into the sanitizing bucket. There is no need to rinse the sanitizer or foam off of anything you use—there will be no residual flavor and the residue will actually help to keep everything clean.

  • Active time: 4 hours
  • Total time:4 to 5 weeks


  • 6.5 pounds liquid light malt extract
  • 1 pound liquid Munich malt extract
  • 1 pound Crystal 40L malt, crushed
  • 3/4 pound Chocolate malt, crushed
  • 1/2 pound Black patent malt, crushed
  • 1 ounce Cascade hops—60 minutes
  • 1 ounce Cascade hops—15 minutes
  • 6 gallons of tap water, split
  • 1 Liter starter of liquid American Ale yeast


  1. 1.

    If possible, place 3 gallons in the refrigerator to cool in a sanitized container.

  2. 2.

    Tie the Crystal 40L malt, the Chocolate malt and the Black Patent malt in a large mesh grain-bag. Place the bag in 3 gallons of water in a 5 gallon pot and immerse the grain.

  3. 3.

    Begin to heat, making sure mesh bag isn’t sitting directly on the bottom of the pot. Remove the grain bag when the temperature reaches 170°.

  4. 4.

    Bring wort to a vigorous boil. As water is heating, slowly add liquid malt extracts, stirring constantly until completely dissolved. When the boil begins, add 1 ounce Cascade hops in a mesh bag.

  5. 5.

    After 45 minutes of boiling has passed, add 1 ounce Cascade in a mesh bag.

  6. 6.

    After total of 60 minutes of boil, remove from heat. Warning: After wort cools below 180°F everything that touches it should be sanitary, and exposure to open air should be limited as much as possible.

  7. 7.

    Cool wort by placing pot in ice bath until it is below 85°F. Transfer to sanitized fermentor (either a carboy or a fermentation bucket). Top off to 5 gallons using refrigerated water. In the image, I'm using a sanitized pitcher to top off my carboy.

  8. 8.

    Use a sanitized auto-siphon racking cane to remove enough wort to take a gravity reading with your hydrometer. Make a note of this number, since we'll be using it to calculate the actual alcohol content when it's done fermenting. Mine came out to 1.064, but yours might differ slightly.

  9. 9.

    Carefully pour yeast into cooled wort (it should be below 70°F), and agitate vigorously. Cover fermentor with a sanitized stopper and airlock. Ferment in dark place, keeping ambient temperature consistent, preferably between 65 and 68°F.

  10. 10.

    Bottle after three to four weeks according to these instructions.