Homebrew Recipe: Steampunk Entire Porter

This recipe appears in Michael Dawson’s book, “Mashmaker: A Citizen-Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home.” Learn more at mashmakerbook.com.

Steampunk Pennyfarthing Glider from Wild Wild West

Steampunk Pennyfarthing Glider from Wild Wild West

Porter: also known around my house as “Why don’t I brew this all the time?”

“What if”: one of my favorite mental games to play while contemplatively nursing a pint of Why don’t I brew this all the time?

This month let’s use our mash tuns and carboys to enter the realms of conjecture and apply some 21st century hop sensibilities and varieties to an Industrial Revolution-era ale, then ferment it as though we were 19th century West Coast lager brewers: Steampunk Entire Porter. Forward! Backward! To the LHBS!

Going by numbers

Our stylistic lighthouses for this batch will be robust porter and California common: the former a dark, roasty, chocolatey, bittersweet ale with Anglo-American heritage, and the latter an indigenous caramelly, hoppy, warm-fermented amber lager.

Some of our targets will be the points where these two divergent beers show some overlap: OG in the mid 1.050s for an alcohol level of about 5.5% abv, and a high hop bitterness approaching 50 IBUs.

For color we’re going for a very porterish 30 SRM – basic black is never out of style.

What makes it tick

But for fermentation, we’ll take a cue from the brewers of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, who wanted to brew pale lager (as was the style at the time, as Grandpa Simpson would tell us) but lacked refrigeration: let that puppy run warm, and boom, California lager yeast came to be.

The net effect of Cali lager plus porter wort will smooth the rough edges of the roast grain, making it mocha-like and velvety, but still with a strong hop bitterness.

And honestly, we could leave it at that and have a very nice post-pumpkin ale, post-fresh hop harvest, post-Oktoberfest beer with which to usher out autumn – but naaah. More is more. Let’s dump in some dank new-school American hops at the end to add a piney, resiny, rosemary-and-mint overtone … not unlike an anachronistic, ahistoric CDA.

A recipe to try:

Steampunk Entire

Target OG: 1.055
Target IBU: 48-49
Shopping list:


  • 8.75 lbs Rahr 2-row
  • 8 oz Caramel 60L
  • 8 oz Pale Chocolate malt
  • 8 oz Black malt


  • 1 oz Chinook
  • 1 oz EXP 5256 (see notes, below)
  • 1 oz Mosaic


  • A “California-style” lager yeast – I’ll be using Wyeast 2112 California Lager

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