Style Details

Name
Eng­lish Por­ter
Cate­go­ry
Brown Bri­tish Beer
BJCP Style Code
13 C
Appearan­ce
Light brown to dark brown in color, often with ruby high­lights when held up to light. Good cla­ri­ty, alt­hough may approach being opa­que. Mode­ra­te off-white to light tan head with good to fair reten­ti­on.
Aro­ma
Mode­ra­te to moder­ate­ly low brea­dy, bis­cui­ty, and toas­ty malt aro­ma with mild roas­ti­ness, and may have a cho­co­la­te qua­li­ty. May also show some non-roas­ted malt cha­rac­ter in sup­port (cara­mel­ly, nut­ty, tof­fee-like and/or sweet). May have up to a mode­ra­te level of flo­ral or ear­thy hops. Frui­ty esters mode­ra­te to none. Dia­ce­tyl low to none.
Fla­vour
Mode­ra­te brea­dy, bis­cui­ty, and toas­ty malt fla­vor inclu­des a mild to mode­ra­te roas­ti­ness (fre­quent­ly with a cho­co­la­te cha­rac­ter) and often a signi­fi­cant cara­mel, nut­ty, and/or tof­fee cha­rac­ter. May have other secon­da­ry fla­vors such as cof­fee, lico­ri­ce, bis­cuits or toast in sup­port. Should not have a signi­fi­cant burnt or har­sh roas­ted fla­vor, alt­hough small amounts may con­tri­bu­te a bit­ter cho­co­la­te com­ple­xi­ty. Ear­thy or flo­ral hop fla­vor mode­ra­te to none. Medi­um-low to medi­um hop bit­ter­ness will vary the balan­ce from slight­ly mal­ty to slight­ly bit­ter. Usual­ly fair­ly well-atte­nua­ted, alt­hough can be some­what sweet. Dia­ce­tyl moder­ate­ly-low to none. Mode­ra­te to low frui­ty esters.
Mouth­feel
Medi­um-light to medi­um body. Moder­ate­ly-low to moder­ate­ly-high car­bo­na­ti­on. Light to mode­ra­te crea­my tex­tu­re.
Over­all Impres­si­on
A mode­ra­te-strength brown beer with a restrai­ned roas­ty cha­rac­ter and bit­ter­ness. May have a ran­ge of roas­ted fla­vors, gene­ral­ly without burnt qua­li­ties, and often has a cho­co­la­te-cara­mel-mal­ty pro­fi­le.
Typi­cal Ingre­dients
Grists vary, but some­thing pro­du­cing a dark color is always invol­ved. Cho­co­la­te or other dark-roas­ted mal­ts, cara­mel malt, brewing sug­ars, and the like are com­mon. Lon­don-type por­ters often use brown malt as a cha­rac­te­ris­tic fla­vor.
Histo­ry
Ori­gi­na­ting in Lon­don around 300 years ago, por­ter evol­ved from ear­lier sweet, Brown Beer popu­lar at the time. Evol­ved many times with various tech­no­lo­gi­cal and ingre­dient deve­lo­p­ments and con­su­mer pre­fe­ren­ces dri­ving the­se chan­ges. Beca­me a high­ly-popu­lar, wide­ly-expor­ted style in the 1800s befo­re decli­ning around WWI and disap­pearing in the 1950s. It was re-intro­du­ced in the mid-1970s with the start of the craft beer era. The name is said to have been deri­ved from its popu­la­ri­ty with the Lon­don working class per­forming various load-car­ry­ing tasks of the day. Parent of various regio­nal inter­pre­ta­ti­ons over time, and a pre­de­ces­sor to all stouts (which were ori­gi­nal­ly cal­led “stout por­ters”). The­re is no his­to­ric con­nec­tion or rela­ti­ons­hip bet­ween Mild and Por­ter.
Comments
This style descrip­ti­on descri­bes the modern ver­si­on of Eng­lish por­ter, not every pos­si­ble varia­ti­on over time in every regi­on whe­re it exis­ted. His­to­ri­cal re-crea­ti­ons should be ent­e­red in the His­to­ri­cal style cate­go­ry, with an appro­pria­te descrip­ti­on describ­ing the pro­fi­le of the beer. Modern craft examp­les in the UK are big­ger and hop­pier.
Com­mer­cial Examp­les
Bur­ton Bridge Bur­ton Por­ter, Fuller’s Lon­don Por­ter, Nether­ga­te Old Grow­ler Por­ter, RCH Old Slug Por­ter, Samu­el Smith Tad­dy Por­ter
Notes
Sim­ply cal­led “Por­ter” in Bri­tain, the name “Eng­lish Por­ter” is used to dif­fe­ren­tia­te it from other por­ters descri­bed in the­se gui­de­li­nes.
Ori­gi­nal Gra­vi­ty
1.040 - 1.052 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.008 - 1.014 SG
Color
20 - 30 SRM
Alco­hol
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
Bit­ter­ness
18 - 35 IBU