Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Porter Ancient and Modern

Last week I met up with Evan Rail in order to compare Ron Pattinson’s 1914 porter with a couple of modern day versions, namely Fuller's London Porter and Lovibond’s Henley Dark.

As you can see from the picture below, there was a very noticeable colour difference between the modern versions and the re-creation, Ron’s was more brown than ruby like the Fullers and Henley Dark, and although the picture doesn’t show it, the Henley Dark is a lot darker than the London Porter.

In terms of flavours, both Fullers and Henley Dark were rich and laden with rich fruit and cocoa notes, which I could very easily imagine enjoying with Christmas pudding or a nice chunk of stilton. Ron’s porter was also fruity, though I felt it was less rich and cloying than either of the modern versions.

The London Porter was to my mind a bit drier than the Henley Dark, although the 1914 recipe was much drier than either, some people have commented that Ron’s porter is sour, however I didn’t feel it was particularly noticeable, especially when compared to the Dark Reserve I drank last week.

I feel that it would be unfair to say which of the three beers I enjoyed the most, especially as the task at hand was not to rate the beers but rather to compare a modern interpretation of the style to a historical precedent.

Clearly modern malt production methods have changed the colour profile of porter from a brown to a very dark red beer, and if the 1914 version is faithful to the flavour profile, porter has become richer. It will be interesting to see what beer geeks in the year 2104 make of our modern porters when compared to their own, and see the continued evolution of beer styles.


  1. Fascinating comparison. I'd love to try some of those old recipe beers - Ron's blog is a great history lesson!

    The London Porter and The Henley Dark are both very nice beers.

  2. i hope the beer geeks of 2104 have something better to drink than a bland lager, with the mass produced globalisation there may not be a modern porter to try in just less thasn 100 years :(

  3. Smuggle some of Patto's 1914 Porter on your sojourn to the States! It would be greatly appreciated, trust me.


Lukr At That Cask Ale

Take a moment to think about what a pub that specialises in cask/real ale looks like... Chances are that when you thought about the bar itse...