A Beer for trick-or-treaters?

By popular demand/request – here’s the recipe for my successful (third) attempt at a Peanut Butter Cup Porter. First one went funky, second one just didn’t have it… This one, on the other hand, mmmmm.


  • 8 lb. 2-row pale malt
  • 1 lb. dark Munich malt
  • 1 lb. Belgian kiln-coffee malt
  • 1 lb. pale chocolate malt
  • 1 lb. biscuit malt
  • 8 oz. cara-pils malt
  • 4 oz. malted wheat
  • 4 oz. 30°L crystal malt
  • 1/2 lb. flaked oats
  • 2 oz. Carafa III malt
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (12.7% aa)
  •  4 oz. de-oiled, dehydrated peanut butter powder
  • 2 oz. cocoa nibs
  • White Labs London Ale yeast (WLP 013)
  • 2 oz. peanut butter powder and 2 oz. cocoa nibs, soaked for three weeks in 3 oz. vodka


Mash: crush all grains. Mash at 155°F in 17 quarts water for 90 minutes. Runoff liquid and sparge grains with 15 quarts water at 169° F.

Boil: 60 minutes. 1/2 oz. Mosaic for 60 minutes, 1/2 oz. for 15 minutes. Add first dose of PBP and cocoa nibs at the same time as the second hop addition.

Chill, pour into sanitized primary fermenter, splashing well to add oxygen. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 10 days at 65°F

Rack to secondary, add vodka-soaked PBP and cocoa nibs. Age three weeks.

Prime with 2/3 cup extra-light DME, bottle and condition three to four weeks.

OG: 1073

IBU’s: 35

I think the next time I brew this I would add more peanut butter powder – it’s there, mostly aroma, but it could be more pronounced, in my opinion.

Happy Halloween, 2014!



Splish Splash

Got an email from a reader with a question about aeration and yeast. Any further reader input would be welcome…

Hey Scott,
Just found your blog,  while searching for the origins of the dark IPA.  I’m going to attribute it  to Greg Noonan just like every Vermonter should.  I’ve been trying to get  better with homebrewing and have been a little concerned with aeration of the  wort going into primary.  I’m a PhD student in biobehavioral neuroscience  so I get a bit anal about things, bear with me.  As a scientist I want a  specific value for dissolved oxygen necessary for a good fermentation, I find  that nowhere.  Some suggest a vigorous shaking of the wort, I’ve read of  aeration systems (access to medical 95%02, 5%CO2 so I’m tempted), and I’ve also  read many that like you suggested transferring the wort so that it is a bit  splashy and aerates “enough” (the scariest option for me as a scientist, I need  control!).  Is a good pour typically enough to provide enough oxygen for a  healthy ferment?

Enjoying the reading material you provide.  Thanks!

Hey Brendan, thanks for checking out the blog! Glad you’re enjoying it.

As you probably can figure out from my posts, I am NOT much of a scientist – I have no idea what kind of dissolved oxygen ratio would be ideal for optimum start-up. I have, for my entire brewing career (20 years) observed that pouring the wort into the fermenter and allowing it to splash well has been more than adequate. For a short while I used a counterflow wort chiller, siphoning the wort through copper into the bucket, and I am absolutely certain that there was not enough aeration occurring then – I had several batches that took days to start, and ultimately had off-flavors that one would associate with lag spoilage bacteria… Using the “pour and splash method” I usually get active fermentation within 4 – 6 hours, even quicker if I have built up a starter slurry…I don’t have my copy handy right now but I’d bet if anyone has quantified the oxygen content question it would be found in Greg’s “New Brewing Lager Beers“…
best of luck,

Anyone know this beer?

Recently got an email from a reader, with a recipe request.

I noted that you had an article on Belgian beers and thought I would write to you on the off chance you could direct me to a beer recipe. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire from 1981-83 in the Bandundu region. The preferred beer by my crowd was Primus. I always assumed it was brewed based on a Belgian or German beer adapted to the conditions of Africa but but never knew for sure. I do know that it provided me and my fellow PCVs with many hours of enjoyment when we would come in from the bush every 3 months or so. Now that I brew my own beer I would love to locate someone with a recipe for Primus so that I could work on perfecting it in time for a reunion that we are hoping to hold in the next year or so. Any ideas on where I might find someone with a recipe?

HI David – what little info I could find out indicates that Primus is brewed by Heineken-owned breweries in the Congo, the DRC, Rwanda and Burundi – looks to be pretty much a standard Dutch/Belgian lager (in the tradition of Heineken, Stella Artois, etc.) light gold in color, 5% abv… I can find no one that has a recipe on line, and I highly doubt it is imported into the US (if it were and if I could get a taste, I could come up with an approximate recipe….) – I think your best bet will be to track down a recipe for Stella Artois or Heineken and start there – if you have time to brew it a couple of times you might play with the hops from batch to batch, use a little maize or rice as an adjunct to lighten it some… White Labs has just introduced a yeast strain called “Belgian Lager” which would probably give you a really good approximation of what they are using in western and central African breweries… Let me know if you can’t find a starting place among the Dutch an Belgian lager recipes, I may be able to help there. Good luck!

Thanks for the great advice. I’ll begin with something along the lines of Stella with some maize or rice and see where it takes me, I’m sure the brewshop I use up in Columbia, MD will be able to get me the Belgian lager yeast. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Primus wasn’t the best beer in Zaire, that accolade probably went to Simba or Tembo brewed out in Kasai/Shaba area, but the memories it helped create certainly rivaled anything else brewed on the continent 😉
Feel free to use the question for your on-line article and include my email. In the strange world of brewers I suspect there has to be at least one other person out there who has had a longing for Primus.
Again, thanks for helping head me in the right direction, or at least a direction. David

SO, readers, any insights out there? Anyone else want to take a shot at a recipe for this obscure African brew?