The 10 Easiest Beer Styles

We’ve collected 10 easiest beer styles for homebrewers. Please keep in mind that “easy,” does not equal “bad.” We chose these classic styles because they represent the beers that have the best chance for success among homebrewers. We would like to thank the 10 homebrew shop owners who partook in this collection and offered us their brewing expertise and recipes for these easily brewed beer styles. Thanks to all. Cheers!


A genuine altbier is a difficult to find style outside of Northern Germany. For most homebrewers, making their own is a more attractive option than airfare. One way of looking at this style is that altbier is the opposite of steam beer. While steam beers are lagers fermented at ale temperatures, an altbier is most often an ale fermented at low temperatures and then cold conditioned like a lager. This conditioning per

– Jeff Schultz
Austin Homebrew Supply
Austin, Texas

AHS Altbier
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.052 FG = 1.013
IBU = 30 ABV = 5.0%


  • 12 oz. (336 grams) Caramunich malt
  • 4 oz. (112 grams) chocolate malt
  • 4 oz. (112 grams) black patent malt
  • 4 lbs. (1.8 kg) Munich liquid
  • malt extract
  • 2 lbs. (0.9 kg) pale liquid malt extract
  • 1 lb. (0.45 kg) wheat liquid malt extract
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Perle hops
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Spalt hops
  • 1 tsp. Irish Moss or one
  • Whirlfloc tablet
  • Use one of the following yeasts based on your preference:
  • Wyeast 1007 (German Ale), White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) or White Labs WLP036 (Düsseldorf Alt)

Step by step

Place the grains in a grain bag and steep in 155 ºF (68 ºC) water for 15 minutes. Remove the bag and allow to drain, then discard the grains. Bring water to boil, turn off heat and add the extracts, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil and add 1 oz. (28 grams) Perle bittering hops. After 45 minutes add 1/2 oz. (14 grams) Spalt hops for flavor and the Irish moss or a Whirlfloc tablet. After 55 minutes have elapsed, add 1/2 oz. (14 grams) Spalt hops for aroma.

Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) yeast will ferment at temperatures as low as 55 ºF (13 ºC), producing an exceptionally clean beer normally only found with lagers. White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) ferments down to 62 ºF (17 ºC), finishes clean and brings out hop flavors. For a sweeter finish with less hop flavor try WLP036 (Düsseldorf Alt).

After primary fermentation is complete, drop the temperature down to 32–40 ºF (0–4 ºC) and cold condition for 2–6 weeks. Bottle or keg with a goal of medium-high carbonation and enjoy!

American Amber

Given the fact that American amber ales got their start here in the west, it’s no wonder that our Outback Amber is by far one of the most popular recipes that we have. Amber ales are known for their malty, caramel profiles with low to moderate hop levels. To achieve this in Outback Amber, the use of dry malt is used in combination with liquid malt for added body and maltiness. In addition to using dry malt extract, the use of darker roasted crystal malts lends the caramel and toffee notes and reddish color so desired in this beer style.

Although a relative to the American pale ale, amber ales should not have a high level of hop aroma. Rather, they should be hopped in a way that balances and compliments the malty profile. Most of the bitterness levels for this style of beer are achieved in the early hop additions. Late kettle additions for flavor and aroma are acceptable, but should be done in a way that doesn’t add a lot of citrus character. The use of low alpha acid American hops are typically used for this purpose. We use Willamette hops in the latter part of the boil to lend a subtle hop flavor and aroma in Outback Amber.

American amber ales are very easy beers to brew and the combinations one can use to brew them are endless. Experiment with different malts. Try some new hop varieties and have fun brewing your very own amber ales!

– John Mendrick
Mountain Homebrew and Wine Supply
Kirkland, Washington

Outback Amber Ale
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.052 FG = 1.013
IBU = 39 ABV = 5.0%


  • 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) Coopers light malt extract
  • 3 lbs. (1.4 kg) amber dry malt extract
  • 8oz. (224 grams) crystal 40 ºL
  • 2oz. (56 grams) crystal 135–165 ºL
  • 1/2. oz. (14 grams) Chinook hops (60 minutes)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Willamette hops (30 minutes)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Willamette hops (5 minutes)
  • White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss at 45 minutes
  • 3/4 cup priming sugar

Step by step

Fill brew pot with at least 3 gallons (11.4 L) of cold fresh water. Bring water temperature up to 150 ºF (66 ºC). Add steeping grains to a muslin bag. Tie up the end of the bag and add to the brewing pot. Steep grains for 15–20 minutes then remove. Stir in the liquid and dry malt extracts until completely dissolved. Bring the wort to a boil making sure to watch carefully to prevent a boil over. Once a nice gentle rolling boil is achieved, add the first addition of Chinook hops. The total boiling time will be 60 minutes. At 30 minutes into the boil, add the first addition of Willamette Hops. At 45 minutes into the boil, add the Irish Moss. At 55 minutes into the boil, add the second addition of Willamette Hops. After 60 minutes, turn off stove and remove brewing pot from heat. Remove hops. Cool the wort down as quickly as possible by using a wort chiller or by placing brewing pot into a cold water bath in your sink. Once wort has reached 75–80 ºF (~25 ºC), add it to your fermenter. Top the fermenter up to 5 gallons (19 L) with fresh cold water. Mix well to aerate the wort and add the yeast. Allow the beer to ferment at 65–70 ºF (~19 ºC) until complete (typically 7–10 days) and then either rack to a secondary, keg or bottle the beer. Wait 10–14 days and enjoy your beer!

American Pale Ale

We start most new homebrewers with an American Pale Ale because of its simple nature and great flavor. The style of American pale ale for the AHA is characterized by American-variety hops used to produce high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. This bold hop flavor balances out with smooth low to medium maltiness. Good pale ale starts with light extract or pale malt and crystal malt for color and sweetness.

After this, the all important component is hops, hops and hops. We say it like that because you do need three hop additions. First for bitterness use a fairly high alpha pellet hops; using pellets leads to less possible oxidation of the hops. Seven percent alpha acid (AA) or higher should be used and boiled for at least 1 hour — a longer boil will give you a higher bitterness. The second addition of hops is for flavor. This hop can be lower in AA since it is for flavor.

Cascade is a great flavor hop because of its flowery and citrus-like flavor. The flavor hops should be added in the last 15 minutes of the boil. This will give you a flavor of the hop but very little bitterness. The third and final hop addition takes place in either the last five minutes of the boil or during the second fermentation stage. Just add the hop to the secondary and siphon your wort on top of the hops. This will take a little longer to clear, but will give an excellent nose of hops to your pale ale. You may become a “hop head” like some of us, experimenting with hop additions more and more.

– Gary Wilder
Brew Your Own Brew
Tucson, Arizona

High Sierra Pale Ale
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.060 FG = 1.014
IBUs = 51 ABV = 5.9%


  • 6 lbs. (2.7 kg) light dry malt extract
  • 1 lb. (0.45 kg) crystal malt (10 ºL) 4 oz. (112 grams) crystal malt (40 ºL)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Chinook hops (bittering)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Cascade hops (flavor)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Cascade hops (aroma)
  • 5 oz. (140 grams) priming sugar
  • 1 pkg. brewers yeast
  • 1 grain steeping bag
  • 1 hop bag (for flavor hops)

Step by step

Add 3 gallons (11.4 L) of water to your pot. Empty grains into the steeping bag. Tie bag and place into pot. Bring temperature of water and grains to 155 ºF (68 ºC) and steep for 30 minutes. Remove the grain bag from the steeping water and squeeze excess water and discard bag and grains. Bring this to a boil. Remove from heat and add all malt extract. Bring this mixture to a boil and add bittering hops directly into the pot. Allow the wort to boil for 45 minutes. Add the flavoring hops. Boil for an additional 15 minutes. Put 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of cold water in a 6.5-gallon (24.7-L) primary fermenter and add the hot wort. Put on the lid and airlock. Fill airlock half way with water. Allow the wort to cool to 75 ºF (24 ºC) or below. When the temperature reaches 75 ºF (24 ºC) it is time to pitch your yeast. Before the yeast is pitched take your original gravity reading.

Never drop the hydrometer directly into the wort, but pull some wort out and test in a tube or large glass. Follow the directions on the package of yeast before pitching. Put the lid and airlock back on fermenter. Keep the fermenter in an area, which will maintain a constant temperature of below 75 ºF (24 ºC), but no lower than 60 ºF (16 ºC). Fermentation should start in 8 to 48 hours. Between 3 and 5 days the fermentation will slow or appear to stop. This is a good time to use your hydrometer to test your specific gravity. After 5 days transfer to your secondary if you are using one. Add the aroma hops now. This is called dry hopping. Condition your beer for 7 to 10 days or until it clears. It is now time to bottle your beer. Wash all bottles in hot soapy water and rinse. Use the sanitizer of your choice to sanitize your bottles. Dissolve 5 oz. (140 grams) of priming sugar in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Place this in your sanitized bottling bucket. Using the siphon equipment transfer your beer to the bottling bucket. Attach your tubing to the spigot on your bottling bucket and fill your sanitized bottles. Leave at least 1” of air space in each bottle. Cap all bottles immediately. Store your beer at 70–75 ºF (23 ºF) to carbonate and age in the bottle for at least 10 days. Aging time varies from type and style of beer. Chill and enjoy!

American Wheat

American Wheat beers have grown from the basis of the German Hefeweizen. While they can be crystal clear, most retain the cloudy appearance of their forefathers. Typically the American hefeweizen is a light to medium body beer that is made of over 50% wheat. The wheat flavor and “fluffyness” should dominate the malt side of the brew.

In contrast to the German style the hop presence can range from subtle to rather aggressive and American hops are the norm. Recipes are pretty basic. All wheat malt extract (generally 40% barley/60% wheat) can be used with no specialty grains to achieve the right maltiness.

Low hop levels mandate a single bittering addition to achieve a balanced beer. Yeast is a key factor in a successful recipe. I prefer the White Labs WLP320 (American Hefeweizen) for its inherent cloudiness from low flocculation. German Hefe yeasts can be used but the brewer should keep the temperature at the bottom end of the yeast’s range to reduce the production of banana and clove esters.

– Mike Pensinger
Norfolk, Virginia

American Wheat Beer
(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)

OG = 1.051 FG = 1.012
IBU = 21 ABV = 5.1%

All Grain:

  • 5.8 lbs. (2.6 kg) wheat malt
  • 4.6 lbs. (2.1 kg) 2 row malt
  • 8 oz. (224 grams) rice hulls
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Cascade hops
  • White Labs WLP320 (American Hefeweizen) yeast

Step by step

Heat 3.25 gallons (12 L) of water to 161 °F (72 °C) and stir in crushed grains. Mash grains at 150 ºF (66 ºC) for 60 minutes. Recirculate the wort for 20 minutes, then begin running off wort. Collect wort at a rate of about
2 qts. (~2 L) every 5 minutes. Heat sparge water to about 190 °F (88 °C). Begin adding sparge water when water is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the grain bed. Add sparge water at the same rate as wort is being collected. Once upper grain bed temperature reaches 170 °F (77 °C), add cool water to sparge water until it reaches 170 °F (77 °C). Collect about 5.25 gallons (20 L) of wort. Add 0.5 gallons (1.9 L) of water. Boil wort for 60 minutes, adding hops at beginning of boil. Ferment at 70 °F (21 °C).

Brown Ale

Brown ale is a very old style of beer that was brewed long before it was formally named. Many of the earliest of English ales were what we would today define as a brown ale. Today the BJCP defines a brown ale as follows: “A beer with an OG falling between 1.060 and 1.040, IBU between 24 and 30 and SRM between 15 and 35.” Grains that predominate this style are pale ale, crystal and chocolate. Common hops are East Kent Goldings, Tettnanger, Cascade, Perle, Fuggle and Willamette. The style is commonly split into English and American varieties today and depending on which you are brewing your hop and yeast selections should be made appropriately. Also differing between the styles is the BU:GU ratio (A ratio of bitterness in IBU to specific gravity). A standard range for this ratio in an English version is 0.50 to 0.70 while it is higher at 0.90 to 1.0 in an American variety. This difference is seen primarily because of a difference in bitterness while gravity stays relatively constant between the two varieties. American versions also typically use more hop additions late in the boil for flavor and aroma contributions as well as occasional dry hopping which would never appear in the English versions.

– Bill Wiedmer
House of Homebrew
Green Bay, Wisconsin

House of Homebrew Brown Ale
(5.5 gallon/20.9 L, all-grain)

OG = 1.046 FG = 1.010
IBU = 29 ABV = 5.0%


  • 9.25 lbs. (4.2 kg) 2 row pale ale malt
  • 8 oz. (224 g) crystal malt (80 ºL)
  • 4 oz. (112 g) CaraPilsdextrin malt
  • 0.5 oz. (14 g) Target pellet hops
  • 10.6% AA
  • 1 oz. (28 g) East Kent Goldings pellet hops 4.75% AA
  • 0.05 oz. (1.4 grams) Irish moss
  • 0.75 cups corn sugar
  • Wyeast 1098 (British Ale) yeast

Step by step

Mash all grains at 150 ºF (66 ºC) for 60 minutes or until full starch conversion has been accomplished. Boil until formation of hot break is seen then add 0.5 oz. (14 grams) Target and boil 45 minutes. Add 0.05 oz. (1.4 grams) Irish Moss and 1 oz. (28 grams) East Kent Golding and boil 15 minutes. Cool to 70 ºF (21 ºC) and pitch Wyeast 1098 (British Ale) yeast. Ferment in primary until specific gravity falls to 1.023 then rack to secondary. Continue in secondary until fermentation ceases and beer clears adequately. Add 0.75 cups corn sugar and bottle.


We frequently have customers request a recipe that is both different and easy to brew. The next time you find yourself in this situation, consider making a Dunkelweizen. When you combine the rich malty character of a Munich Dunkel with the fluffy, fruity, banana and clove-like esters of a traditional Hefeweizen you get a great classic style easy to duplicate at home.

Malt: A rich melanoidin character from Munich and Vienna malts should combine with the somewhat grainy wheat for a flavorful, medium bodied beer. A very small amount of de-bittered black malt or German Carafa can be added in order to achieve the desired light amber to mahogany color. An ambitious all-grain brewer should consider a decoction mash with 50–60% wheat combined with Munich and/or Vienna malts.

Hops: Go light on the hops! Use just enough noble bittering hops to keep the beer from being cloyingly sweet. The flavor and aroma should come from the malt and yeast so no other hops are needed.

Yeast: Embrace your yeast! Good German hefeweizen ale yeast should be used to produce the banana and clove-like esters appropriate in a Dunkelweizen. You can control the amount of esters produced (to a certain extent) by watching your fermentation temperature. Ferment a little warmer and you’ll get more esters, a little cooler and you’ll get less.

The key when devising a recipe for a Dunkelweizen (or any other beer) is to make it in a manner that you believe will live up to your personal taste. That is the main reason many people homebrew. Want a hop-head Dunkelweizen? Add more hops! An Imperial Dunkelweizen? Double the extract/base grains and the bittering hops! On the other hand, if you are one of those brewers who like to stick to a recipe, give the recipe below a try!

– Kevin DeLange
The Brew Hut
Aurora, Colorado

The Brew Hut Dunkelweizen
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.046 FG = 1.012
IBU = 13 ABV = 4.5%


  • 6 lbs. (2.7 kg) wheat liquid malt extract
  • 8 oz. (56 g) German Munich malt
  • 8 oz. (56 g) German Vienna malt
  • 8 oz. (56 g) German dark crystal malt (65 °L)
  • 1–2 oz. (28–56 g) Weyermann Carafa II Malt (optional for slightly darker color)
  • 3.5 HBU Hallertau Hersbrücker hops
  • (1 oz./28 g of 3.5% AA) (bittering)
  • 3/4 corn sugar or 1 1/4 cup drymalt extract (for priming)
  • White Labs WLP300 (Hefeweizen Ale)
  • yeast or Wyeast 3068(Weihenstephan) yeast

Step by Step

Steep the grains in 155 ºF (68 ºC) water for 30 minutes. Remove and rinse grains with 165 ºF (74 ºC) water. Add and stir in wheat malt extract. Bring to a boil and add hops. Boil for 60 minutes and then chill to 70–75 ºF (~23 ºC). Ferment for about 7–10 days or until all fermentation is complete. There is no need for a secondary fermentation.


For a healthy fermentation, aerate very well before pitching yeast. This is a high gravity beer and the yeast needs extra oxygen to get a good start. Choosing the raw sugar is very important — plain white highly refined table sugar will not get good results and brown sugar has too much flavor. Candi sugar can be used but is not commercially available all organic. It is possible to make your own candy sugar by following a recipe for hard candy but using just organic sugar and a small amount of citric acid as the only ingredients. This Belgian Dubbel will benefit from a longer than usual aging time and should be aged at least one month for the best flavor development.

Seven Bridges Organic
Homebrewing Supply
Santa Cruz, California

Organic Dubbel
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.068 FG = 1.015
IBU = 28 ABV = 6.9%


  • 6 lbs. (2.7 kg) Briess organic pale malt extract
  • 2 lbs. (0.9 kg) Briess organic pale 2-row malt
  • 0.75 lbs. (0.3 kg) Weyermann organic pale Munich malt
  • 12 oz. (336 kg) Weyermann organic Carahell malt
  • 8 oz. (224 kg) Briess organic caramel 60 ºL malt
  • 4 oz. (112 kg) Briess organic extra special malt
  • 1 lb. (0.45 kg) Organic raw crystal cane sugar
  • 1/2 oz. (14 grams) German organic Hallertauer Tradition hop pellets (bittering) (15 IBU)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) German organic Spalt Select whole hops (flavor) (13 IBU)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) German organic Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops (aroma)
  • Ale Yeast: For warmer fermentation
  • (68–78 ºF or 20–26 ºC) choose
  • Wyeast 3787 (Belgian Trappist) or
  • White Labs WLP530 (Abbey) or
  • WLP550 (Belgian Ale).
  • For cooler fermentation (65–75 ºF or 18–24 ºC) choose
  • Wyeast 1214 (Belgian Abbey) or
  • White Labs WLP500 (Trappist)
  • For bottling: 1 1/4 cup organic dry malt extract, or 3/4 cup organic corn sugar or organic cane sugar
  • *Optional ingredient: 1/2 teaspoon Irish Moss

Step by step

Heat 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water to 160–165 ºF (~73 ºC), then turn the heat off. Add all the grains (or grain bag with grains in it) and stir well. The temperature should be 150 ºF (66 ºC). Adjust the temperature if necessary by adding heat, hot water or cold water. Allow the grains to soak for 40 to 60 minutes at 150 ºF (66 ºC). Heat 1 1/2 gallons (5.7 L) of water to 170 ºF (77 ºC) in a separate pot. Sparge the grains with this water when the mash is complete. Add water to the liquid collected from the grains to make up to 5 1/4 gallons (20 L) (adjust volume according to your own brewing system). Heat the wort to almost boiling and then turn the heat off. Add the malt extract and organic sugar; dissolve completely. Turn the heat back on and bring to a boil. Once the wort has reached a rolling boil add 1/2 oz. (14 grams) German Hallertauer Tradition hop pellets (bittering) and boil for 40 minutes. Add 1 oz. (28 grams) German Spalt Select hops (flavor). If desired, add the Irish Moss flakes. Boil for 15 minutes more. Add 1 oz. (28 grams) German Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops (aroma), boil 5 more minutes and turn the heat off. Cool the wort to 65–75 ºF (18–24 ºC) and into primary fermenting vessel. Aerate well, pitch the yeast and ferment in a cool dark place for 4–6 days at 60–70 ºF (14–21 ºC) in the primary fermenter. If you have a secondary fermenter, transfer the beer to it when fermentation activity has subsided (after 4–6 days). Ferment for an additional 7–14 days, or until fermentation is complete. Bottle the beer with the bottling sugar of your choice, or keg.

Old Ale

Old ale has a caramel/nutty malt character with toffee-like, roasty overtones. It is full bodied with a smooth malty-sweet finish. The oats help build a creamy, mouth-filling body and hold a dense tan head atop the deep reddish-brown beer. The addition of dark candi sugar boosts the gravity, while adding a rich, rum-like dimension to the complex flavor profile. Although this old ale uses a healthy charge of English hops, the overall impression is of malty complexity rather than hoppy and bitter. English old ale is an ale of high alcoholic strength that is usually stronger than porters, but not quite as strong as barleywines. With an ABV ranging from 6–9%, this is the perfect style of beer to warm your insides on those cold winter nights. To help you know what you’re shooting for, commercial examples of old ale include Gale’s Prize Old Ale, Bell’s Third Coast Ale, Theakston Old Peculier and Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome.

– Chris Farley
Northern Brewer, Ltd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Northern Brewer’s New Old Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.070 FG = 1.019
IBU = 22 ABV = 6.8%


  • 6.0 lbs. (2.7 kg) gold liquid malt extract
  • 2.0 lbs. (0.9 kg) light dry malt extract
  • 1.0 lb. (0.45) dark candi sugar
  • 8 oz. (224 kg) Simpsons Dark Crystal malt (75 ºL)
  • 8 oz. (224 kg) Simpsons Golden Naked Oats
  • 6.4 AAU Target pellet hops (60 min.)
  • (0.75 oz./21 g of 8.5% alpha acids)
  • 2.2 AAU Fuggle pellet hops (10 min.)
  • (0.5 oz./14 g of 4.4% alpha acids)
  • 2.2 AAU Fuggle pellet hops (1 min.)
  • (0.5 oz./14 g of 4.4% alpha acids)
  • Wyeast 1084 (Irish Ale) yeast

Step by step

Heat 5 gallons (19 L) of water in your boiling kettle. Steep specialty grains in water for 15 minutes or
until the water has reached 170 ºF (77 ºC). Remove grains and bring water to a boil. Once a boil has
been reached, remove kettle from heat and add malt extract and candi sugar while stirring. Bring to a boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the hop schedule. After 60 minutes, chill and ferment between 62–72 ºF (17–22 ºC) for two weeks. Age for 6–12 weeks in secondary. Bottle and enjoy!

Mild Ale

Mild Ale has a somewhat murky past and still is a style that is linked closely with brown ales. The mild is one of the oldest styles of British Ale. Originally mild ales were sold in England as darker beers that were not aged as long and thus could be sold at a lower price. This appealed to the working class. Mild ale was also a lower strength beer, so a couple of pints at the pub after work in the mill wasn’t enough to get them in trouble with the better half at home. Versions of mild ale are still being sold in England, primarily in northwestern England and Wales. The style has taken back seat to the more popular brown ale on both sides of the pond. Mild ales are lower in alcohol content, usually coming in at 3–3.5% by volume. Being lightly hopped, they are perfect for those who are not fans of the more bitter brown ales. This is a great beer to be served with traditional British food such as fish and chips or a good cheddar cheese. It also goes well with burgers and fries.

– Scott Law
WindRiver Brewing Co., Inc.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Mill Race Mild Ale
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.033 FG = 1.008
IBU = 11 ABV = 3.2%


  • 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) liquid malt extract
  • 1 lb. (0.45 kg) dry malt extract
  • 4 oz. (112 g) crystal malt (10 ºL)
  • 2 oz. (56 g) chocolate malt
  • 2 oz. (56 g) black patent malt
  • 1/2 oz. (14 g) Fuggles hops (bittering)
  • 1/2 oz. (14 g) Goldings hops (aroma)
  • Wyeast 1098 (British Ale) yeast
  • 1/2 cup corn sugar for priming (this will give a “British” carbonation level which is much less than the American preference.
    If you prefer American style carbonation levels, use 3/4 to 1full cup)

Step by step

Steep the specialty grains in 3 gallons (11.4 L) of water in a grain bag for 15 minutes at 110–120 ºF (43–49 ºC). Remove the grain and bag. Add malt extract while bringing the wort to a boil. Stir in the malt extract to make sure it dissolves. Bring to a boil and add the bittering hops. Boil for 1 hour. Add the aroma hops at the end of the boil. Let wort cool and add to fermenter. Add enough cold water to bring the level to 5 gallons (19 L). Add yeast and stir to aerate. Ferment at 55–65 ºF (13–18 ºC) for 7–10 days. Rack to bottling bucket and prime with corn sugar. Bottle and let condition at 50–65 ºF (10–18 ºC) for one to three weeks. Open bottle, pour in glass.


Porters are easy beers to make, partly because the style is subject to widely variant interpretations. Much might depend, for example, on whether you plan to brew an 18th century porter or a contempory version. A porter from the 1750s, for instance, might be called an “Imperial Stout” these days. Porters are slightly less full bodied than stouts (when brewed by the same brewer) but they are still very full-flavored brews. Small variations may not be easily noticed, so it’s a forgiving style.

Simply stir your cracked grains slowly into one quart of hot water per pound of grain, steeping them in the oven. When finished, scoop the grain into a large strainer, rinsing with hot tap water. Collect the runoff as part of your wort to be boiled.

– Byron Burch
The Beverage People
Santa Rosa, California

Black Passion Porter
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)

OG = 1.065 FG = 16
IBU = 44 ABV = 6.3%


  • 5 lbs. (2.3 kg) dark dry malt extract
  • 2 lbs. (0.9 kg) crystal malt (40 ºL)
  • 1 lb. (0.45 kg) brown malt
  • 8 oz. (224 g) Munich malt
  • 4 oz. (112 g) chocolate malt
  • 4 oz. (112 g) black patent malt
  • 4 oz. (112 g) black roasted barley
  • 4 oz. (112 g) 100% dextrin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. gypsum
  • 1/4 tsp. calcium chloride
  • 1 tsp. chalk
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss
  • 3/4 oz. (21 grams) Northern Brewer hop pellets (60 min.)
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Northern Brewer hop pellets (30 min.)
  • 1 1/2 oz. (42 grams) Cascade hop pellets (dryhopped)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming
  • White Labs WLP001 (California Ale)
  • yeast or Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) yeast

Step by Step

Grains are mashed with 5 quarts (about 5 liters) of water and the gypsum and calcium chloride for 1 hour at 155 ºF (68 ºC), then rinsed in a strainer with hot water, collecting the runoff in your boiling kettle. Dissolve the dry malt extract and dextrin powder in enough water to bring the total to 7 gallons (26.6 L) of sweet wort. Thoroughly stir in calcium carbonate and boil for a solid 60 minutes, adding Northern Brewer hops to be boiled for the specified times. Cool your wort, using a wort chiller or an ice bath and place the wort into a primary fermenter. After you pitch your yeast, rouse morning and night until fermentation starts and ferment until the foam drops back to the surface. Siphon to a secondary fermenter for at least three days of settling. Siphon back to your kettle, or primary fermenter, stir in priming sugar syrup, bottle and cap. Set the beer aside at room temperature for two weeks to carbonate then enjoy!

Issue: January-February 2005