Caramel Vanilla American Porter

ABV: 7.1%    IBU: 24 SRM: 26


A substantial, malty dark beer with a complex and flavorful dark malt character. 

This American porter blends the flavors of caramel and vanilla to round off the bitterness of the hops and provide the consumer with a smooth creamy flavorful desert beer 

with a sweet finish that lingers like a Werther’s caramel candy.


Red Lion AlesmithS             CaraVan       Caramel Vanilla Porter

Recipe Goals:  To create an American Porter that will be appealing towards drinkers new to craft beer but also provide a wonderful accompaniment to a late-night snack or an early morning brunch to craft beer drinkers of any experience. To make a smooth accessible dark beer without the hoppy bitterness of most dark craft beers.

Background:   Porters were the most popular types of beers until modern kilning techniques allowed brewers to make lighter color beers. An American porter should have low bitterness and no roasted barley flavors or strong burnt/black malt character. Instead, medium caramel and cocoa-like sweetness is present, with low hop presence. The style is very historic and wide and can vary greatly. In this recipe we are taking advantage of caramel crystal malt for the base flavor and complimenting it with the flavor ranked number one in almost any flavor taste test ever given – vanilla. The result is a smooth drinking, sweet and enjoyable American Porter.

Tasting Notes:   English porters tend to have a more bitter flavor profile than American ones. In this American version no roasted barley or strong burnt/black malt character should be perceived despite the mash including both roasted barley and chocolate malt. CaraVan has a medium malt, caramel and cocoa-like sweetness with no noticeable alcohol presence. It has medium carbonation and should be served in a tulip style glass to capture the aroma characteristics. Hop aroma and flavor are low and bitterness is medium-low.

History: Porter is a dark style of beer developed in London, the name comes from its popularity with street and river porters. Before 1700, London brewers sent out their beer to be aged by a dealer. Porter was the first beer to be aged at the brewery and dispatched in a condition fit to be drunk immediately. It was the first beer that could be made on any large scale, and the London porter brewers were the best.

Ingredients: Pale US 2-row malt with caramel crystal malt at 60L and 120L as well as Special roast malt and chocolate malt, some carapils/dextrine for foam/head retention and maltodextrin for mouthfeel. Magnum hops provides the bitterness and Fuggles the aroma, but both are very light. Standard SafAle American US-05 yeast does the fermentation and alcohol creation. 

Food Pair:  This beer, like most craft beers, pairs well with cheese: Creamy and nutty aged Gruyere balance the toasty, roasted and sweet flavors found in this style, or maybe a smoked Gouda, a chicken mole enchilada entrée would work well, as would roasted and grilled meats to go with the beer’s roasted caramel malt flavors, while spicier sauces and rubs contrast its sweeter aromas. Dessert choices might include brownies, smores or cheesecake.

Vital Statistics:      BJCP American Porter & Stout (20): American Porter (20A)

For Style         ABV: 5.0 – 7.0%     IBU: 25 – 50         SRM: 22 – 40

CaraVan        ABV: 7.1%            IBU: 24            SRM: 26

ABV is Alcohol By Volume. Listed as a percentage volume. Average commercial beer ABV = 4.2%

IBU is International Bitterness Units. Measures bittering chemicals ranges from 0-120, but most beers are from 15-80.

SRM is Standard Reference Method. Measure of color. Scale of 0-40. From yellow, to amber/gold, to brown, to black.

Commercial Examples:    

Anchor Porter, Boulevard Bully! Porter, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Founders Porter, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Smuttynose Robust Porter, Sierra Nevada Porter.

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