The Hairy Porter – A Rich Winter Warmer

The Hairy Porter is a full-bodied, slightly sweet, chocolatey beer without the astringency some dark ales have. We forwent the usual black patent malt and swapped it with a dark wheat malt, leaving the familiar brownish-red color and highlighting the Belgian Special B and chocolate malts. The flaked oats and the wheat malt make for a rich, creamy head with staying power.

By comparison to some other beers — especially hop-forward IPAs —this brew is pretty straight forward, and we recommend it for brewers of all levels. The only challenge we encountered was achieving fermenting temperatures in our cold Vermont home during the winter.

However, we overcame that by employing a seedling heat mat to warm the brew, and help the yeast do its job. If you find it challenging to brew ales in the winter, and you don’t have a fancy fermenting chamber, this hack works well. Homebrewing suppliers also make fermenting wraps that are similar (and cheaper) to the seed mat we had on hand.

For the full recipe, read on.

rick and sarah pose with full glasses of dark beer
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The Hairy Porter

5 gallons (18.9 liters), all-grain



11lb (5kg) American – Pale 2-Row
8oz (227g) Flaked Oats
0.5lb (0.23kg) Briess – Chocolate Malt
0.5lb (0.23kg) Belgian – Special B
5oz (142g) American – Midnight Wheat Malt


1.2oz (34g) Centennial (10.4%AU) – 60 min
0.5oz (14g) Willamette (4.8%AU) – 15 min
0.5oz (14g) Willamette (4.8%AU) – 5 min


Wyeast British Ale 1098: From Whitbread. Ferments dry and crisp, slightly tart, fruity and well-balanced.tap handle on kitchen sink with The Hairy Porter on the label


Target OG: 1057
OG: 1060
FG: 1015


  • Mash-in all grains using 16qts (15 liters) of water at 152ºF (67ºC) and hold for 60 minutes.
  • Sparge using 15qts (14 liters) of water at 168ºF (75ºC).
  • Collect ~6.5 gallons (26qts / 24.6 liters) of wort.
  • Bring collected wort to a boil and add hops at specified times listed above.
  • Remove from heat and cool to approximately 68ºF (20ºC), pitch the yeast, and store in dark space at ale fermenting temperatures.
  • After 1 week, rack to secondary container.
  • Two weeks after brew day, transfer the beer to bottles or keg, and enjoy a few days or weeks later depending on which you chose. [We actually bypassed secondary fermentation and racked directly to the keg and served 2 days later at out annual Boxing Day dinner party.]

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Published by Rick Scully

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