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Beer Style: Robust Porter  (12B)
Recipe Type: partial mash
Yield: 5 US gallons

Robust Porter
Beer Color


I've very proud of this batch because I took a lot of care crafting it, but I also paid a lot of attention to some specifics. For example, I actually took the time to calculate my mashing (partial) efficiency which turned out to be about 75%. I hope the extra care pays off.

Here's the details copied from the Recipator summary. I didn't include in the summary the spices I included. For the last 15 minutes of the boil I added 3 cinnamon sticks, 0.5 tsp nutmeg, 0.25 tsp ground cloves. During the last minute of boil I added one split vanilla bean. It smelled great.


  • 1 lb. 11 oz. American 2-row
  • 1 lb. Wheat malt
  • .5 lb. American crystal 120L
  • 11 oz. British crystal 50-60L
  • 4 oz. British chocolate
  • 5 lb. Light dry malt extract
  • HOPS
  • 1 oz. Cluster (5.7% AA, 60 min.)
  • .5 oz. Kent Goldings (6.9% AA, 60 min.)
  • .25 oz. Chinook (12.2% AA, 60 min.)
  • 1 oz. Cascade (6.9% AA, 15 min.)

Additional Instructions

Boil: 60 Minutes

Beer Profile

Original Gravity: 1.067
Final Gravity: 1.014
Alcohol by Vol: 6.9%
Color SRM: 22  Color Sample 
Bitterness IBU: 31
Recipe Type: partial mash
Yield: 5.00 US Gallons

Click to Print Recipe


The yeast I used was Wyeast 1056, American Ale. I brewed with this yeast about a month ago. I saved a bit from the starter and placed it in a sanitized beer bottle and capped it. I stored it in my fridge for almost a month. I made another yeast starter and rejuvenated the yeast. Hopefully it is still healthy enough to make good beer. We will see.




review rating
 Reviewed by Krusty on Wed Dec 19 2012

I made a similar beer and made a tea that I added at bottling. I took 1.5 cups of water and boiled with the vanilla bean and other spices for twenty minutes covered Then cooled and added to bottling bucket. The vanilla came through perfectly.

review rating
 Reviewed by chemgeek on Thu Feb 14 2008

I just so happened to finish the last of my spiced ale last night, and I thought to myself "where is the vanilla flavor?"

The vanilla bean in the 2° did not seem to do much. However, it may have been over powered by the nutmeg or cinnamon. Both of those were a tad too strong for my tastes.

I should point out that instead of boiling the bean, I chopped it up and soaked it in vodka overnight.

I'm contemplating making a standard porter and throwing a bean in just to see what happens.

review rating
 Reviewed by Aren on Wed Feb 13 2008

Hey, I was wondering how the vanilla bean in the secondary approach worked. Better than in the boil?

Aren, Fellow Chemist

review rating
 Reviewed by chemgeek on Fri Dec 7 2007


That sounds like a very interesting beer.

For mine, adding the vanilla bean during the last minute of boil yielded very little in the way of vanilla flavor or aroma. I was disappointed. The nutmeg and cinnamon seem to over power what little there is. I LOVE the vanilla flavor from the bean, but this didn't work. I'm 3-4 days from bottling. You have inspired me. I am going to add another vanilla bean right now. I found an old bean in my cupboard. I'm going to boil it for a couple of minutes and throw it into the secondary. I don't think it can hurt it any.

Thanks for the comment.

review rating
 Reviewed by Aaron on Thu Dec 6 2007

Sounds like a great recipe, although I might have just put the vanilla bean in the secondary instead of boiling. How's the vanilla flavor? Pretty strong, or not so much?

Here's a recipe I've come up with for my Winter Ale:

-10 lbs Maris Otter (Thomas Crisp, UK)
-2 lbs Wheat Malt (Dingemans, DE)
-1.5 lbs Caramunich (Weyermann, DE)
-0.25 lb Roast Barley (Simpsons, UK)
-1 lb Rye (US)

Step Mash: 111F for 30 min, 154F for 60 min, 168F for 5 min

OG was around 1.080, but I'm not confident in my hydrometer. I'll be replacing that one soon.

-2.0 OZ Spalt Spalter (T-60)
-0.5 OZ Hersbruck Hersbrucker (T-30)
-0.5 OZ Hersbruck Hersbrucker (T-5)

Extended boil for maillard rxn products (and caramelization, depending upon who you talk to...)

and then the really strange part:
-Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan, for the banana and clove flavors it yields. This is supposed to be a "spicy" winter ale, right?

-1 vanilla pod added to secondary

Bottling tomorrow!

-Aaron Hefel