19th century English Porters

[Favicon]hi folks

I read an article in one of the mainstream brew mags about 8-10 years ago about ‘original’ 19th century English Porters… supposedly heavy on brown malt. Does anybody have experiences with historic Porter recipes???

Thanks !

(counting on you Denny!)


Ron Pattinsons’s book, The home brewer’s guide to vintage beer, has 16 porter recipes based on the actual brewing records from 1804 to 1940. 1804 Barclay Perkins TT had 46.3% browns malt, Pattinson describes this a transitional recipe between the 100% brown malt of 18th century and the overwhelmingly pale malt ones of the 19th century… Barclay 1848 TT had 10.53% brown malt and 1936 Barclay Perkins TT had 3.83% brown malt.

+1. I encourage anyone interested in historic British beers to check out Pattinson’s book, it’s excellent and based on historic fact.

Fatso, you are correct. Early porters were heavy on the brown malt. With the advent of black patent malt, this quickly evolved in the 1800s to using pale malt with less and less brown malt until it was gone.

I have not personally brewed a historic porter yet, but I do have one in the works to brew sometime in 2015 or 2016. Too many recipes, not enough time…


+2 to Pattinson’s book (and blog). One point Pattinson makes is that the old Brown malt was quite varied and not necessarily the same as modern Brown malt. That makes it a little difficult to be certain how accurate modern versions of historic recipes actually are. Making historic recipes is an interesting exercise nonetheless.


The brown malt available today is not the same as what was used back then, although a portion of modern brown malt does go well in a porter.
See if you can find a copy of “Old British Beers and How To Make Them”, by Dr. John Harrison and members of The Durden Park Beer Circle, an excellent resource for those interested in old British beers.

‘Designing Great Beers’ has a real good chapter on Porters.

Thanks everyone !