This is a beer I have brewed once and it’s pretty dang good. This porter is rich, dark and creamy if brewed right. It’s not a terribly high gravity beer so it’s a good drinker and isn’t so heavy that it will turn away your squeamish friends. Here are the stats:

  • OG:        1.062
  • FG:         1.015
  • ABV:      6.1%
  • IBU:       20
  • SRM:     40

As you can see it’s a pretty standard porter, low on the bitter side to let the vanilla bean shine. The vanilla beans are the most important part. You need to make sure you get good, natural vanilla. Extract will not be the same. I recommend getting one from a whole foods or organic foods store to ensure a fresh vanilla bean. This recipe is customizable; if you want just a hint of vanilla use one bean, for a nice hearty vanilla use two beans, and a wholly vanilla beer use three beans. Here are the ingredients.

  • 8 lb American 2 rowPerfection
  • 1 lb American chocolate
  • 3 lb American caramel 120
  • 0.5 lb American black
  • 0.5 lb flaked barley
  • American Ale 1056 yeast
  • 1 oz fuggle @ 50 min
  • 1 oz kent golding @ 10 min
  • 2 vanilla beans (soaked in vanilla vodka)

The instructions are pretty simple. This is a single mash at 154°F. I use mash infusion but you can use whatever mash style you like. However, it might give you slightly different results, hopefully for the better. My sparging water was 168° F. In the boil add the Fuggle at 50 minutes and the Kent Golding at 10 minutes. I would recommend doing a yeast starter, as it will always help, but I have had great luck just pitching my yeast straight in at around 75° F during cooling. As for the fermentation length, this is dependent on you and your brew. Mine took five days to complete but I gave it one extra to make sure before transferring it to the secondary.

For the vanilla beans, I soaked them in vanilla vodka for two weeks prior to brewing. They will go into the secondary fermentation for five days. Make sure to split the beans open and scrape the insides. You can use more or less vanilla depending on how strong you want the vanilla flavor. I hope this beer turns out as good for you as it did for me. Enjoy.