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Hare's Porter


Jan 30, 2013
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Greetings fellow brewers.  I read an article about a beer that was a favorite of the Founding Fathers, called Hare's Porter made by Robert Hare in Philadelphia around the late 1770s.  The recipe for the beer that came with the article calls for some extract instead of grain.  Thinking that they didn't have any extract back then, there must be some all grain recipes out there for Hare's Porter.  Does anyone have such a recipe you would be willing to share here?  Failing that, can someone tell me how to get the right amount of grain to equal 3.5 lbs. of Amber Malt Extract and 3.5 lbs. of Dark Malt Extract?  Thanks and cheers.
Any porter made before the 1800's would most definitely been 100% brown malt. However, brown malt of that day was 100% diastatic while todays malt is not.

Once brewers began using hydrometers they discovered that brown malt, while much less expensive than pale malt, was not as efficient. It was actually cheaper for them to use pale malt and so economics won out. They still used a considerable amount of brown malt however.

The earliest porter recipe I have in my collection is from London's big porter producer, Barclay Perkins. The recipe is scaled down to 5 gallons from the original hand written brewery logs. It comes from the book, Home Brewer?s Guide to Vintage Beers by Ron Pattinson. Page 42

And Ron describes this as a transitional recipe, between the 100 percent brown malt 18th century grists and the overwhelmingly pale malt ones from the 19th century. Since you would have to malt your own brown malt to make this a true 1700's porter this is your best bet to get as close as possible.

1804 Barclay Perkins TT
OG 1.067
IBU 67
SRM 28
ABV 7.0%

Batch Size 5.5 gal
Boil Time 90 mins

46.3% Brown Malt 6lbs 4oz
40.7% Pale Malt 5lbs 8oz
13% Amber Malt 1lb 12oz

2.5oz East Kent Golding (5% aa) Boil 90 minutes
2.5oz East Kent Golding (5% aa) Boil 60 minutes

British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098)

Mash at 150 - 152 F

These figures are accurate for my brewhouse/mash efficiencies. You should scale the recipe to match your system which is why I gave you the percentage figures for the grains. You could probably scale the boil time down to 60 minutes but be sure to adjust the hop schedule as well.

Good luck!
Kevin58, thanks for your information and the recipe.
When I read the article about Hare's Porter, I was amused to see that the recipe called for extracts in the grain bill.
I doubt they had extracts back in the late 1770s.  Supposedly, this was a favorite of George Washington and John Adams.
From the recipe it looks like it might be awfully sweet with 1 1/2 cups of molasses.
Molasses is quite fermentable. up to 90% fermentable sugars depending on the molasses type used. Creates a rum like (big surprise!) wine-y type flavor. It's quite good in browns/porters/sweet stouts if used appropriately. 1.5 cups isn't too terribly much depending on the other constituents of the grist and size of the batch. I regularly use far more than that in some recipes I have, contributing up to about 7% (I'm assuming a 5g batch?)

beersmith says it can be used up to 5% I imagine this is a percentage allowed without being "strong" in flavor.