Black Pepper Porter By Mike

September 2005 - This beer was inspired by a recipe in Randy Mosher's "Radical Brewing." Unfortunately, I didn't get to drink too much of it before it was all gone. The first pour from the keg being pretty tasty, I decided to enter this beer in a local keg-only homebrew competition. The top four winners of the competition were awarded the privilege of having their beer served at a local beer festival the following weekend alongside beers from such regional breweries of international fame as Victory, Dogfish Head and Weyerbacher. This beer took second place in the homebrew competition (lost out to a very worthy Double IPA) and my beer was served at the festival. It's an amazing experience having hundreds of complete strangers compliment your beer. Being quite different than your average brew, this beer created quite a buzz at the festival and I even got some great feedback from professional brewers.

My impressions of this beer: good underlying beer; soft on malt flavor and aroma; somewhat dry for a porter but not inappropriately so; color and clarity were good; hops were present but not prominent; the pepper followed the malt on the tongue and lingered for a bit. Among the recommendations offered by professional brewers: cut the black patent malt to about 1/8 ounce, increase the crystal or chocolate malts slightly for a more pronounced porter flavor and aroma, add some dextrine malt for head retention and consider cutting back the pepper very slightly (.8 ounces next time, maybe). From what I had of it, I really, really liked this beer and I will be brewing it again very soon.


  • 1/2 lb. 80L crystal malt

  • 1/2 lb. chocolate malt

  • 1/4 lb. black patent malt

  • 7 lbs. John Bull amber malt extract syrup

  • 1-1/2 oz. Northern Brewer hop pellets

  • 2 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets

  • 1 oz. crushed black pepper

  • 1 tsp. Irish moss

  • Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale yeast


  1. Steep the specialty grains in 1 gallon of 150 F water for approximately 30 minutes

  2. Remove the grains, add 2 gallons of water and bring it to a boil

  3. Remove the brew kettle from the heat source and stir in the extract

  4. Once the wort resumes boiling, add the Northern Brewer hops and the gypsum

  5. Add 1 ounce of the East Kent Goldings and the Irish moss at 45 minutes

  6. Add the final 1 ounce of the East Kent Goldings hops and half of the black pepper (1/2 oz.) at 55 minutes

  7. Once 60 minutes are up, chill the wort to about 70 F and pitch the yeast

  8. Add the remaining black pepper (1/2 oz.) to the primary fermenter and ferment for 1 week in the primary and 2 weeks in the secondary

  9. This beer was kegged

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