Everything you need to know about Porter beers

What is a Porter beer?

Porters were first brewed in the late 17th century. Porter was the first beer style to gain popularity during the Industrial Revolution in England. A porter is a dark brown, sometimes black, beer brewed from malt and is partially “charred” or “browned.” These beers are known for their deep ruby brown to black color with dark malts that impart chocolate and caramel aromas and flavors to the beer. A well-known Estonian brewer that markets well-known Porters is Puhaste Brewery. They brew with the beer styles such as the Baltic Porter, Imperial Double Porter and the Imperial Double Baltic Porter.

What is the difference between a Porter and Stout?

Porter and stout have many similarities. Most noticeable is the dark brown to black color that is often opaque but not cloudy. They generally have a pale malt base enhanced with darker malts. Stouts tend to use roasted barley and porters generally do not. In addition, a stout is usually firmer and thicker than a porter. Both styles can also be brewed with additives for extra flavor. Chocolate, coffee and vanilla are common, with some beers containing oatmeal, fruit, honey, maple, nuts and other flavoring ingredients.

The different styles of Porter

Baltic Porter

A Baltic Porter, is an English-style porter that blurs the line between porters and stouts even further. These bold brews have the maltiness of a brown porter with the roasted crispness of schwarzbier (a black lager). Along with that a full mouthfeel often described as silky and creamy, Baltic Porters often have notes of smoke, roasted malt and hoppy bitterness on the palate.

Imperial Double Baltic Porter

An Imperial Double Baltic Porter, is a baltic porter but heavier in alcohol. Due to its high alcohol content, it may contain low to very low complex alcohol aromas and/or lager fruitiness, such as berries, grapes and plum.

Imperial Double Porter

As with imperial stouts, imperial porters enhance every element of the beer style. They often have moderate caramel, cocoa and malt sweetness that complement native American hops.

Brown Porter

The Brown Porter has no roasted barley or strong roasted/black malt character. The Brown Porter has low to medium sweetness, caramel and light notes of chocolate. Hop bitterness is medium to mild. They are softer, sweeter and have more caramel notes than a Robust Porter and less alcohol and body.

Robust Porter

As the name suggests, a Robust Porter is a “more intense” style porter. Robust Porters are closer in style to stouts due to the use of roasted and black malt. The main difference is that the roasted flavors come from malt, not the roasted barley of stouts.

Smoke Porter

Smoke Porters are robust porters with smoky flavors added through the use of wood-smoked malts. Most Smoke Porters do not have great hoppiness, although IBUs range from 20 to 40.

What is the typical ABV in a Porter?

The ABV in Porters ranges from 4 to 12 percent.

Where do you store a Porter?

7 to 12 degrees. So in your refrigerator (or basement if the temperature is right)

Porters and stouts have a balanced flavor profile that blends the bitterness of hops with the sweetness of malt. These brown beers also tend to have a higher alcohol content, which means you can store and serve them at higher temperatures than, say, an IPA – but they should be well below room temperature.

What does a Porter taste like?

Sometimes Porters can be described as “sour” or “dry.” Porters can also be described as “sweet” and “moderately bitter.” Porters can be hoppy or not, this is up to the brewer.

Porter beers and food

Beers support and enhance the flavors of food. Porters taste great with smoked foods. Think anything barbecued, cheeses and desserts:

  • Sausages, stews, bacon and stewed dishes
  • Soft blue cheeses
  • Chocolate cake


Check out our Stout beers here

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