Spiced Solstice Porter: A Beverage for the Holidays

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The quick summary of this recipe is that it comes directly from Scott Russell.  Not just his web-published 2010 Holiday Porter recipe, but he was kind enough to collect the grains at the Lebanon Brew Shop for me.  I met up with him at the shop for an Oktoberfest event where I ground the grains and secured the hops and yeast. The two ways this recipe strays from Scott’s original is that the shop was out of the White Labs Bedford English Ale (WLP006) yeast and I used White Labs Whitbread II Ale (WLP017) on Scott’s suggestion. And rather than only use 1/2 ounce of two separate hops, I substituted Galena for the Goldings to limit waste and save a few bucks.

This is kind of a beer drinker’s mulled wine!

I brewed this with the help and guidance of my good friend, Neil on Sunday, October 1, 2017.  I invited Neil because with this batch I inaugurated the Chugger pump I got for last year’s holidays from my mother-in-law.

Neil has a very similar brewing set up as I, and he uses a pump. I wanted to brew with someone with experience, and Neil provided that as well as excellent companionship.

I am very pleased with the pump setup, and can see how it will make my process more efficient. It also means I can move hot liquids more safely and save my back. With the addition of the MegaPot, I have had a hard time moving the kettle around my space. Now I just move the pump and tubing. This is a game changer.

This time I only moved water from the kettle to the mash tun, and from the kettle to the sparge tun. Next time I will use it to move the wort.

Even though the recipe isn’t that different from Scott’s original, I still keep track of my own changes, process, etc.   I’ll share a bottle with Scott and Neil of course!

2017 Spiced Solstice Porter

5 gallons, all-grain


• 10 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt
• 1/2 lb. black malt
• 1/2 lb. dark crystal (120°L)
• 1/4 lb. roasted barley
• 1/4 lb. chocolate malt
• 1/2 lb. malted wheat

• 1/2 oz. Galena hop pellets (16% aa) at boil
• 1 oz. Fuggles hop pellets (4% aa) at 30 mins
• 1/2 oz. Galena hop pellets (16% aa) at 5mins

• 1 whole (fresh) vanilla bean (flame out)
• 1 cinnamon stick (flame out)
• Pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg (flame out)
• 2/3 cup corn sugar (for priming)

• White Labs Whitbread II Ale (WLP017)

OG: 1070

• Heat 3.75 gallons of water to 164°F.
• Mash in the ground grains and hold at 153°F for 90 minutes.
• Heat 3.5 more gallons of water to 170°F.
• Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 6.75 gallons of sweet wort.
• Bring to a boil.
• Add the hops as scheduled above.
• Turn off heat.
• Cut the vanilla bean, break the cinnamon stick into a few smaller pieces, and add them to the wort along with the pinch of grated nutmeg.
• Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
• Chill to 80°F.
• I drained directly from the MegaPot into a the sanitized FastFerment unit which added enough splashing to aerate.
• Pitch yeast (leave the cinnamon and vanilla in).
• Ferment 8 to 10 days.
• Rack to secondary (removing cinnamon and vanilla at this time).
• Age for 14 to 20 days.
• As this batch will be bottled and not kegged, I primed with (organic) corn sugar and conditioned to cool (~55°F in my case) for two months with intention of opening it around the bonfire on Solstice with my family.

Published by Rick Scully

Rick is a craft brewer, shepherd, gardener, photographer, writer, tech nerd, web developer, and all around good guy.