How To Brew a Baltic Porter (3 Recipes & Complete Style Guide!)

The Baltic Porter is the result of a popular import beer style that gained traction in Northeastern Europe. It’s a complex lager style balancing malt sweetness and hop bitterness with slightly roasted notes.

Brew a delicious Baltic Porter using Munich or Vienna as the base malt, specialty caramel, chocolate, and black malts, and high alpha acid composition hops. This style uses a lager yeast, but ale yeasts fermented at low temperatures are also used. This creates a clean fermented lager with slightly roasted notes and balanced bitterness.

This is a challenging style to brew but it’s extremely rewarding. Get ready to brew a historical style with loads of character and depth.

What is a Baltic Porter?

Like many other beer styles, the Baltic Porter has its roots in a different geographical area. The style is named after the region that created it, but it wasn’t without the help of British breweries that the specific style was made.

Porters were brewed in England as a dark beer for “porter” workers to warm up to after a long day. These first porters were brewed with British ingredients, including hops, ale yeast and malts. Exported porters had a higher ABV and increased hoppiness to withstand long voyages overseas.

A Baltic Porter is a porter brewed with lager yeast and doesn’t have the same fruity esters as ales. It has a malt sweetness from lightly roasted caramel, crystal and Vienna malts with a roastiness slightly reminiscent of a schwarzbier. They’re high in ABV with a thin body and mouthfeel.

  • Color – Very dark red or brown to black, 40+ SRM
  • Common flavor – Caramelized sugars and licorice are common
  • Aroma – Slight berry aromas like grape and plum but not banana
  • Mouthfeel – Thin, low carbonation
  • IBUs (Bitterness) – 34-40
  • ABV – 7.6-9.3%
Baltic Porter Recipes and Brewing Guide

History of the Baltic Porter

Overall, the porter is one of the first beer styles to go global in terms of popularity. The style grew up in England and has since evolved into a variety of styles. The Baltic Porter is one of those styles, and perhaps the most original.

Baltic Porters make use of a variety of inventions and techniques to brew them. “Stout porters” were exported into parts of Europe and were given the name because of an increase in alcoholic strength and sometimes hoppiness. These export beers were the foundation for Baltic Porters.

Baltic Porter started as just another “stout porter” exported from Britain to other parts of Northern Europe in the 18th century. These beers were shipped through ports along the Baltic Sea and made their way into Russia, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Baltic Porter came to be in the early 1800s. Brewers from England opened breweries in countries like Finland, Sweden and Russia, altering the original porter recipes with native ingredients instead of British ones. Most notably, they used lager yeast instead of ale yeast. The result was a cleanly fermented porter.

Popular commercial Baltic Porters

Here are a few Baltic Porter options for you to try.

  • The Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter – Deep, rich, soft and smooth with notes of molasses dark rum, cherries, chocolate and vanilla.
  • Jack’s Abby Framminghammer  – Silky smooth and chocolatey mouthfeel. Brewed with oats and brown sugar. Sweet, balanced by roasted malts and hop bitterness.
  • Crooked Stave Coffee Baltic Porter – Roasted coffee flavors and aromas. Notes of dark sugar, plum and cocoa notes for a complete taste.
  • Zywiec Porter – Chocolate and black licorice flavors with cherry aroma. Sligh malt sweetness with alcohol warmth.

How to brew a Baltic Porter

Now that you know a bit about the history of the style, I’ll cover the different aspects of how to make a Baltic Porter. I will go step by step to dive into the ingredients and how they are used on brew day.

A Baltic Porter will take about 2-3 weeks to ferment with an additional lager aging period. These beers can age and bottle condition for months before they’re ready for drinking.

Recipe and ingredients

Before you start brewing a Baltic Porter, you need to collect the proper ingredients. Being a lager beer, Baltic Porters require strict adherence to the recipe, especially for the fermentation phase. Below are some tips and guidelines to get you started.

Water profile

A good water profile can take a beer’s quality to the next level. For a Baltic Porter, a water profile with high carbonate and a pH between 5.3-5.4 results in a balanced beer with just enough hop bitterness and malt sweetness.

In general, good-tasting water will lead to good-tasting beer.

Base grains

The Baltic Porter style uses select base grains to achieve most of its character.

Munich or Vienna malt will serve as a good base for your grains when selecting base grains. These extract just enough malty sweetness but maintain a neutral foundation for your specialty grains to shine.

The majority of your grain bill can be one of the two above malts for great results. Pilsner malt can be used to impart some cracker flavors and offset some of the sweetness from specialty malt additions.

Baltic Porter Recipes Base Grains

Specialty grains or other additions

This style relies heavily on specialty grain additions for added flavor complexity.

Baltic Portes should use sweeter, medium-roasted caramel malts. British Crystal malts impart some sweetness. Special B malt is perfect, as it’s the darkest Belgian malt, offering a darker color to the beer with some burnt sugar flavors and aromas.

The specialty grains should add a degree of sweetness and some roasted flavors, but not be cloying, overly roasted, or bitter. 

Other specialty grain options include:

  • Fawcett Crystal 65 – sweet caramel flavor, creates a deep red hue
  • Briess Extra Special Malt – imparts deep red hues, some prune and toasted flavors
  • Carafa II – great for adding slight bitterness
  • Roasted barley – great for darkening the beer, use sparingly 
  • Black Patent malt – also great for adding color or bitterness, use very sparingly 


Baltic Porters make use of hops for both aroma and bitterness. This style uses hops for both bitterness and aroma.

Baltic Porters can feature a variety of hops. Bittering hops are best selected for their alpha acid composition, or their ability to impart bitterness efficiently. This style commonly uses Styrian Goldings, Saaz and Hallertau hops for aroma and flavor. 

The most important aspect of hop selection is choosing varieties that complement each other. As you’ll see below, bittering hops have more to do with the bitterness of a beer, whereas flavor and aroma hops are more responsible for the taste and smell.


Bittering hops are used to add bitterness to beer. They’re added at the beginning of the boil, allowing ample time for isomerization to occur. At the same time, the aromas of these hops are boiled away and the wort is left with a strong bitterness.

Because bittering hops don’t add much flavor or aroma to beer, it’s best to choose ones that have a high alpha acid content to maximize bittering efficiency during brewing. Although bittering hops aren’t responsible for flavoring, too much can cause the beer to taste vegetal.

The Baltic Porter shouldn’t be overly bitter. Be careful not to be too heavy-handed with bittering hops, as the official IBU range for the style is 35-40.

Here are some good bittering hops to use for a Baltic Porter.

NamePurposeAlpha Acid %
GlacierBittering + Aroma3.3-9.7%
ChinookBittering + Aroma12-14%
ColumbusBittering + Aroma14-18%
Best bitterness hops for Baltic Porters
Aroma and Flavor

Aroma and flavor hops are used for exactly that – aroma and flavor attributes.

Aroma and flavor hops are added late in the boil, usually past or at halfway mark. The more time they’re in the boil, the less flavor and aroma they give off. The aroma hop selection for Baltic Porters consists of earthy and herbal varieties like Saaz or Hallertau.

Not all flavor and aroma hops go together and the wrong combinations can create undesired flavors. If you’re going to use more than one aroma hop, try to pair varieties that complement each other.

NameFlavor/AromaAlpha Acid %
Styrian GoldingsResinous, earthy2.8-6%
HallertauLightly floral, spicy3.5%
TettnangEarthy, herbal, spicy3-5.8%
SaazSpicy, herbal, earthy2.5-4.5%
SpaltEarthy, spicy2.5-5.7%
Best aroma and flavor hops for Baltic Porters


Baltic Porters are lagers and most commonly use lager yeast strains. You can experiment with ale yeasts and cooler temperatures, but traditional takes on the style implement lager strains.

Baltic Porters use lager yeast strains. These strains ferment cleanly with medium-high flocculation and high attenuation. The yeast should not invoke too many fruity esters.

Baltic Porters can use a dry or liquid yeast strain. There are more liquid strains available, but each does the job.


Below are some good dry yeast options for a Baltic Porter.

NameAttenuationFlocculationTemp Range
SafLager W-34/7080-84%Medium-high53-64°F
LalBrew Diamond77-83%High50-59°F
M76 Bavarian Lager77.5%Medium45-57°F
Best dry yeast for Baltic Porter

Below are some good liquid yeast options for a Baltic Porter.

NameAttenuationFlocculationTemp Range
WLP830 German Lager74-79%Medium50-55°F
Wyeast 220673-77%Medium-high46-58°F
OYL-111 German Bock70-76%Medium48-55°F
Best liquid yeast for Baltic Porters

Brewing process for Baltic Porters

After you choose the ingredients for your Baltic Porter, it’s time to start your brew day!

First, decide on the type of mash you are going to do: single-step or infusion. For Baltic Porters, a single-step mash is sufficient. You should also consider the mashing temperature, water quantities and hopping schedule.

The recipe you use will be your guide throughout the brewing process. The brew day will be fairly standard with minimal deviation from traditional methods along the way.

Start with the mash-in. Then, sparge. Once you collect enough wort, it’s on to the boil where you’ll add hops and any other adjuncts you or your recipe calls for. After that, it’s time to cool the wort, pitch the yeast and wait.

How to brew a Baltic Porter


Mashing for a Baltic Porter is nothing out of the ordinary.

The malts used in a Baltic Porter might need to be milled. If that’s the case, start there. Once prepared, a single-infusion mash is sufficient. Mash between 148-152 for a balanced beer.

For a Baltic Porter, I recommend a mash temperature of 152°F to produce highly fermentable sugars to let the high attenuating lager yeast strains produce a drier, higher ABV beer.

Your recipe should have roughly 1 quart of water per pound of grain.


The boiling period for a Baltic Porter should be between 6-90 minutes. In most cases, 60 minutes is sufficient. This lets you extract enough bitterness from the hops added early in the boil. Because Baltic Porters don’t get a lot of flavor from hops, both bittering and aroma hop additions will be small.

Common times to add flavor and aroma hops with 20, 10, and 5 minutes remaining in the boil. The longer hops are in the boil, the more flavor they impart. Baltic Porters don’t make use of many aroma hops.

Whirlpool or flameout

Another time to add hops is during whirlpool or flameout. These occur at the same time, but they’re a bit different from each other.

Adding hops just after flameout or during whirlpool are similar methods, but slightly different. Both take place just after removing the boiling wort from the heat. As the wort cools you can add hops to get more aroma and flavor with little to no bittering.

Whirlpooling is an additional step that occurs during flameout. At flameout, you create a whirlpool in the wort instead of just adding the hops. This collects the trub while the hops add their flavor and aroma.

Fermenting Baltic Porters

Fermentation for a Baltic Porter will take longer than some styles because it uses lager yeast strains.

As with all fermentation, Baltic Porters benefit from a consistent fermentation temperature. Fermentation of a lager yeast strain can take 2-3 weeks.

Baltic Porters and other lagers can benefit from a cold crash just before fermentation is complete for a clearer and cleaner beer.


The fermentation temperature is dependent on the strain you use.

For a Baltic Porter, ferment between 40-60°F. Warmer temperatures can create undesired fruity esters in the beer. Some esters in a Baltic Porter are acceptable but keep temperatures down to reduce ester fermentation.

Keeping the fermenter at a uniform temperature for the entire process will help your quality in the end.

Bottling or Kegging Baltic Porters

The age-old question of bottling versus kegging continues.

You do not need to stick to a certain packaging method for a Baltic Porter. The beer does not benefit from bottling or kegging over the other. Either way, a lagering period is needed after fermentation is complete.

Drinking a Baltic Porter beer

Baltic Porter recipes

Baltic Porters can be a tricky style to brew, as most lagers require increased attention to detail. Here’s a list of three all-grain recipes, each brewing five-gallon batches:

Storm Surge, AHA


  • Light Munich malt – 13 lbs
  • Belgian Pilsner malt – 5 lbs
  • Caramunich malt – 0.5 lbs
  • Special B malt – 0.5 lbs
  • Crystal malt 60°L – 0.5 lbs
  • Debittered chocolate malt – 4 oz
  • Carafa Special II – 4 oz 
  • Styrian Golding hops – 1.8 oz 
  • Tettnanger hops – 1 oz
  • 1 tablet of Whirlfloc
  • Your yeast strain. Suggested: WLP830 German Lager


  1. Set up all-grain brewing equipment.
  2. Heat 7.75 gallons of water to 148°F.
  3. Slowly add the malts to the heated water in the mash/lauter tun. Stir while adding.
  4. Mash at 148°F for 90 minutes.
  5. After the mash, recirculate the wort until the runoff is mostly clear.
  6. Sparge with 170°F water for 45-60 minutes. Collect 6-7 gallons for the boil.
  7. Begin the 90-minute boil. Add the 1.8oz. of Styrian Golding hops.
  8. At 10 minutes left on the boil, add 1 oz. of Tettnanger hops and the Whirlfloc tablet.
  9. Cool the wort to pitching temperatures for chosen strain.
  10. Pitch yeast.
  11. Ferment between 64°F for at least two weeks.
  12. Bottle or keg as desired.
  13. Carbonate your beer.
    1. If bottling, prime your beer for bottle conditioning.
    2. If kegging, force carbonate.
  14. Cold condition at 45°F for at least 2 months.

Ostseeküste Baltic Porter, Craft Beer & Brewing


  • 10 lbs – Munich
  • 5 lbs – Pilsner
  • 0.5 lbs – Carafa Special II
  • 0.5 lbs – British Crystal (65L)
  • 0.5 lbs – Briess Extra Special Roast
  • 4 oz – Pale chocolate malt
  • 0.5 oz – Columbus hops
  • 1 oz – Styrian Goldings hops 
  • Your yeast strain. Suggested: White Labs WLP830 German Lager


  1. Set up all-grain brewing equipment.
  2. Heat 5.2 gallons of water to 163°F.
  3. Slowly add the malts to the heated water in the mash/lauter tun. Stir while adding.
  4. Mash at 152°F for 60 minutes.
  5. After the mash, recirculate the wort until the runoff is mostly clear.
  6. Sparge with 170°F water for 45-60 minutes. Collect 6-7 gallons for the boil.
  7. Begin the 60-minute boil. Add the 0.5 oz of Columbus hops.
  8. Add the other 1 oz of Styrian Golding hops during whirlpool.
  9. Cool the wort to pitching temperatures for chosen strain.
  10. Pitch yeast.
  11. Ferment at 48°F until the airlock shows activity
  12. Allow the temperature to rise to 60°F over the next ten days.
  13. Ferment at 60°F for an additional 2 weeks.
  14. Cold crash at 35°F.
  15. Bottle or keg as desired.
  16. Carbonate your beer.
    1. If bottling, prime your beer for bottle conditioning.
    2. If kegging, force carbonate.
  17. Age for 8 weeks.
  18. Once carbonation is done, enjoy your beer!

Baltic to the Wall, Great Fermentations


  • 7 lbs – 2-Row Brewer’s Malt
  • 7 lbs – Light Munich Malt
  • 0.5 lbs – Carafa II Malt
  • 0.5 lbs – Brown Malt
  • 0.5 lbs – Special B Malt
  • 1 oz – Magnum hops
  • Your yeast strain. Suggested: Wyeast 2022 Bavarian Lager or Imperial L02 Fest


  1. Set up all-grain brewing equipment.
  2. Heat 4.5 gallons of water to 152°F.
  3. Slowly add the malts to the heated water in the mash/lauter tun. Stir while adding.
  4. Mash at 152°F for 60 minutes.
  5. After the mash, recirculate the wort until the runoff is mostly clear.
  6. Sparge with 170°F water for 45-60 minutes. Collect 6-7 gallons for the boil.
  7. Begin the 60-minute boil. Add the 1 oz of Magnum hops.
  8. Cool the wort to pitching temperatures for chosen strain.
  9. Pitch yeast.
  10. Ferment at 48-52°F for 2-3 weeks.
  11. Lager for 2 to 6 weeks at 38-44°F.
  12. Bottle or keg as desired.
  13. Carbonate your beer.
    1. If bottling, prime your beer for bottle conditioning.
    2. If kegging, force carbonate.
  14. Once carbonation is done, enjoy your beer!

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