Brewing a Vanilla Porter…

Sights of Porter-filled glasses are quickly becoming the norm here in our neighbourhood. Mocha Porter, Coffee Porter, Vanilla Porter, and with our recent trip to Maui, Coconut Porter. Eric had stumbled across an amazing example from Box Steam Brewery in England named “Funnel Blower“. I was blown away by the smoothness of it, but in particular, it was the delicious vanilla notes that got me. Now usually I’m against any kind of flavouring in beer, 99% of the time, but this was definitely the 1%. Since trying Funnel Blower and the Coconut porter, I’m finding that this style really lends itself to subtle flavour enhancements. I think I’m slowly warming up to the peer pressure.

While at a roadside fruit stand in south Maui, we stopped to have some fresh coconut water and some papayas. The gentleman, who looked quite like “Quest Love” from The Roots, offered us some free vanilla beans that he grew on his property after I had expressed some interest in them. I originally thought that we could use them in the kitchen somehow, but after reconsidering, I changed my mind, these are going into some beer!!

One of the key components to making a good quality porter is the use of brown malt. It’s what would have been used by English brewers during the height of the porter craze in the 1800’s. It’s sometimes hard to get a hold of some from home brewing supply stores, but when Eric & I brewed with Ed at the Black Creek Historic Brewery back in May, he was kind enough to share some of his brown malt with us, and we’ve been saving it for a porter ever since.

This brew session will have its share of learning curves. For starters, I’ve just completed our 10 gallon brewing system that consists of a 10 Gallon cooler mash tun, a 10 Gallon cooler Hot Liquor Tank, and a 15.5 Gallon Stainless Steel Brew Pot. We just recently purchased a Barley Crusher from Hop Dawgs (check them out, Chris is a great help!) out in B.C. and a Chugger Pump through a group by on the “Are You An SOB?” brewing forum. I’m very excited to try out both of these new additions and see how they (hopefully) step things up to the next level.

Once again, I’m going to reference Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew book, using their Brown Porter as a starting point. There is a recipe for a Vanilla Porter in the book, but it’s more of an American-style Robust Porter which doesn’t include the brown malt. I’ve also lowered the gravity and bitterness ratio just a touch.

The plan is to get up at 6:30 am, fire up the kettle, and get a mountain of Maui Grown Coffee going in the bodum. There’s only 1 or 2 other things that might beat a morning like that…

So here’s the recipe:Carbonation and Storage

Vanilla Porter
Brown Porter
Type: All Grain Brewer: Hoptomology
Equipment: 15.5 Gallon Stainless Steel Pot + 10 Gallon Cooler Mash Tun
Est Original Gravity: 1.044 SG Measured Original Gravity:
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.2 % Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 20.3 IBUs Bitterness Ratio: 0.463
Est Color: 21.5 SRM Calories: 0.0 kcal/12oz

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
14 lbs 1.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) Cdn (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 77.1 %
1 lbs 10.0 oz Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 2 8.9 %
1 lbs 10.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 57L (57.0 SRM) Grain 3 8.9 %
15.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.1 %
2.000 oz Willamette [4.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 20.3 IBUs
1.00 oz Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 6
1.00 Items Vanilla Bean (Boil 10.0 mins) Flavor 7
1.0 pkg Nottingham (Danstar #-) [0.80 oz] Yeast 8
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [0.80 oz] Yeast 9
Total Grains Used: 18 lbs 4.0 oz Total Hops Used: 2.000 oz
Mash Profile
Mash Style: Single Infusion, Full Body, No Mash Out
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78.00 %
Mash Steps 

Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 6.33 gal of water at 175.7 F 156.0 F 45 min
Sparging: Fly sparge with 9.59 gal water at 168.0 F to achieve 13.10 gal
Boil Profile
Boil Size: 13.10 gal Boil Time: 60 min
End of Boil Volume: 12.10 gal Estimated pre-boil gravity: 1.039 SG
Batch Size (into fermenter): 11.00 gal Measured pre-boil Gravity:
Final Bottling Volume: 10.40 gal
Fermentation Profile
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage
Primary Fermentation: 10.00 days at 68.0 F
Secondary Fermentation: 0.00 days at 0.0 F
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 1.8
Pressure/Weight: 4.66 PSI Age Beer for: 3.00 days
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 40.0 F Storage Temperature: 40.0 F
Taste Rating: 0.0 / 50
Taste Notes:
Other: – A little about life, a lot about beer.

Read the review here.




One Response to Brewing a Vanilla Porter…

  1. Pingback: The Vanilla Porter is in!! | Hoptomology

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