Zek’s Porter

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Recipe located in Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. (Pages 160-161)

This Baltic-style Porter is a big, complex, and flavorful malty, dark beer with a balanced roasty character. Sounds perfect for any occasion if you ask us, but during the cold fall months before winter it could save your life. The name for this recipe was inspired by Soviet gulags, where the inmates were commonly referred to as “zeks,” so pay your respect by enjoying this beer in the most comfortable, American way possible (couch, TV, and greasy food recommended).

Zek’s Porter | Baltic Porter


  • For 5 gallons (19 L)
  • 5.3 lb (2.4 kg) Pilsener Liquid Malt Extract (2.3 °L)
    8.9 lb (4.03 kg) Munich Liquid Malt Extract (9 °L)
    0.5 lb (227 g) Medium Crystal Malt (60 °L)
    0.5 lb (227 g) Special "B" Malt
    6 oz (170 g) Carafa Special II (430 °L)
     0.25 lb (113 g) Chocolate Malt (350 °L)
    2.9 oz (82 g) Lublin Hops, 3.5% Alpha Acid (60 min)
    1.0 oz (28 g) Lublin Hops, 3.5% Alpha Acid (15 min)
    * 6 yeast packets or appropriate starter WLP885 Zurich Lager, WLP830 German Lager, Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager, or Saflager S-23


    • Original Gravity: 1.089
    • Final Gravity: 1.018
    • ABV: 9.4%
    • IBU: 38
    • SRM: 28
    • Boil Time: 60 minutes
    • Efficiency: n/a
    • Pre-boil Volume: n/a
    • Pre-boil Gravity: n/a


    Place the grains in a muslin sack and then steep the grains in 1.5 gallons of water at 160°F (71.1°C) for 30 minutes. Take out the grains and hold them over the kettle allowing the remaining water to drip back into the kettle. Do not squeeze the grains. Squeezing the grains could result in bitter tannin extraction. Top up your brew kettle to 3 gallons and bring to a rolling boil (If possible, top up to 6 gallons and conduct a full boil). Stir in the malt extracts and bring kettle to a rolling boil. Add 2.9 oz of Lublin hops and allow to boil for the full 60 minutes. Be careful when adding hops as you may encounter a boil over during the first hop addition. With 15 minutes left in the boil add 1.0 oz of Lublin hops. Allow the wort to cool and then pitch the yeast around 53°F (12°C). Ferment around 53°F (12°C). When fermentation is finished, carbonate the beer to approximately 2 to 2.5 volumes of CO2.

    All-Grain Option

    Replace the Pilsener extract with 7 lb (3.17 kg) continental Pilsener malt. Replace the Munich extract with 12 lb (5.44 kg) Munich Malt. Mash at 150°F (66°C). Increase the pre-boil volume as needed to allow a 90 minute boil, which helps reduce DMS in the beer.