Robust Porter – Extract


General Info

Since I love Browns so much, I decided that I’d like to have one or two "signature" beers that I brew often - tweaking the recipes until I’ve got them just right. Old Brown Shoe, therefore, has been deemed one of those beers.

This time I changed the Crystal Malt to British Dark Crystal 120L (sounds like a movie title) and increased the amount to 2 pounds. Also, since the last incarnation was a ligher brown than I wanted, I added in 4 oz. of black patent. The hops I kept relatively the same but went with, out of necessity since the brewstore was out of Crystal, Mt. Hood for the finish hops. To impart some extra sweetness I added some brown sugar to the boil.

Unfortunately, I missed the boat with brewing a brown this time around. Actually, upon looking at the ingredient list, calculating the bitterness, and figuring out the alcohol content, this beer actually turned out to be more of a robust porter. Therefore, I’m reclassifiying it. Nonetheless, the beer is very good. It’s going to take me a few tries to get a brown where I want it, but as porters go, this one is pretty damn tasty. No wonder the brew store employee asked me if I was brewing a porter...friggin’ A.

Next time, to brew a true Northern English Brown, I’ll ease up on the bittering hops, reducing them down to 1 ounce or so. The other hop additions should also be cut down, probably in half. Additionally, I think I’ll omit the black patent and roasted barley, change up the crystal from 120 to 40 or 60, and reduce the chocolate malt in half. I may consider adding some biscuit malt to round out the flavor. Harumph!


The wort is very dark - which is what I’m going for. Since this was an extract brew, and I could not boil all 5 gallons in the brewpot, the color diluted a bit when I added the wort to the primary. After about 15 hours, vigirous fermentation began.

After 7 days in the primary, I racked all 5 gallons to the secondary making sure to strain out any stray trub (February 27, 2006).

Racked to keg and forced carbonated after 9 days in secondary (March 8, 2006). Beer is a very dark brown - nearly black but not quite - and opaque at this early stage. Definately not your typical brown. As for taste, the beer is sweet and fruity, with a floral hop nose and a pleasant aftertaste. Reminds me of Pete’s Wicked Ale. It’s more of a porter than a brown, however. No worries.

By April 15, 2006 the brew has matured and is very easy to drink. Bitterness has mellowed out, but is still pronounced.

After 6 weeks of aging, this beer is excellent and it packs a punch. Smooth, creamy head. Nice balance of bitterness and maltiness. Big flavor.


Amount Extract % of Grist
6.00 pounds LME - Light 67.8%
6.00 pounds Total Extract Weight 67.8% of grist

Malts and Grains

Amount Malt/Grain %
2.00 pounds British Dark Crystal Malt 22.6%
0.50 pounds British Chocolate Malt 5.6%
0.25 pounds British Black Patent Malt 2.8%
0.10 pounds British Roasted Barley 1.1%
2.85 pounds Total Grain Weight 32.2%


Amount Non-Fermentable Time
1 tsp. Gypsum 60 minutes


Amount Hop Time AA
2.00 ounces Kent Golding 60 min 6.2%
1.00 ounces Fuggle 60 min 4.2%
1.00 ounces Mount Hood 3 min 3.2%
4.00 ounces Total Hop Weight


Name Lab/Manufacturer Form Amount
Dry English Ale White Labs Liquid 35 ml


  • Add gypsum to water.
  • Steep grains at 160 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grain bag.
  • Add extract.
  • Bring to boil.
  • Boil for a total of 60 minutes.
    • Add Kent Golding hops immediately.
    • Add Fuggle hops immediately.
    • Finish with Mt. Hood hops the last 3 minutes of boil.
  • Rack wort to primary.
  • Pitch yeast when wort cools to 75 degrees F.

Fermentation and Aging

7 days @ 70° F
7-14 days @ 70° F
14 days @ 60° F

Old Brown...Porter?

Date Brewed:  

Brew Day Data

  Target Actual Notes
Boil Time: 60    
OG: 1.053 / 13.1° P    
Mash PH:      
Boil PH:      

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