The Porter is one beer style that can be traced back to its very beginnings.
First brewed in 1722 by a man named Ralph Harwood and served at the Blue Last Pub
in England. Mr. Harwood brewed Porter to make it easier and faster to serve than three or four thread beers, which is beer pulled from three or four different taps. Mr. Harwood
decided to put the ingredients from those three or four beers into one beer and call it
Entire or Entire Butt.
Porter than became one of the most popular beer styles in the world in the middle to late
1700’s. Arthur Guinness started out brewing Entire Butt at St. James Gate Brewery Dublin in 1759, which later evolved into the stout. The name porter was first used in the 18th century from its popularity with the street and river porters of London. The Porter style started declining in popularity by the late 1800’s and almost disappeared in the 1900’s. Their demise was due to the popularity in paler and lighter ales and pilsners being brewed. Porter made a come back because of the home brewing and the craft brewing community that revived the style in 1960’s and 70’s. Thanks to a few concerned brewers porter is now a widely drank beer style again in the U.S. and England.
There are three different styles of Porter the Robust Porter, London Brown Porter and Baltic Porter. Their aroma and flavor profiles are listed below.
A medium to full body in a balanced beer that has a noticeably coffee-like dryness, and may have a malty sweet flavor that comes through in the finish. Chocolate and black malts add a sharp bitterness, but do so without adding roasted or charcoal notes. There can be a little roast barley character with a hop bitterness presents and hop flavor and aroma noticeable. A low fruitiness and esters due to the clean fermenting ale yeast. The color is deep brown with red hues to black.
Here are some great commercial examples to try Anchor Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter, Black Hook Porter. Great Lakes Edmond Fitzgerald Porter, Pikes Porter, Rogue Mocha Porter, and Left Hand Black Jack Porter. Alcohol can range from 4.5 – 8% a.b.v..
A bit lighter than the robust, with light to medium body and generally lower in alcohol. The malt sweetness is low to medium and well balanced with the subdued hop bitterness. No strong roast barley or burnt malt character. Color is medium to dark brown with reddish tones. No real hop aroma and flavor with a touch of fruitiness from the ale yeast used. These are the commercial examples to try Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter, Fuller’s London Porter, Dublin Plain Porter (only in Dublin), Yuengling Porter, Stegmeter Porter, Flag Porter, and John Labbatts’s Porter the alcohol content is 4.5 – 5.5% a.b.v..
Baltic porter is brewed in the U.S., Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark and Sweden. Baltic Porters are brewed with Lager yeast and aged giving them a clean rich flavor. The aroma has a great complexity of rich malty sweetness with hints of caramel, toffee, nutty and/or licorice notes. The flavor is malty sweet with a blend of deep malt, dried fruit and roastiness, which is balance with mostly noble hops. The commercial examples are Southampton Imperial Baltic Porter, Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter, Browar Okocim S.A. (Carlsberg), Smuttynose Baltic Porter, and Alaskan Baltic Porter the alcohol content is from 5.0% – 9.5% a.b.v. (Serving Temp for Baltic Porters are 42 degrees).
All three styles of these porters should be tried. You will taste their uniqueness and experience the real history that made this beer style so great. “Cheers”
The Ale Guy