A Pint for Mom: Homebrew Porter Designed for Nursing Mothers

BYOB by | Jun 2017 | Issue #125
Illustration by Ellen Crenshaw

When you hear brewers talk about their beer and newly arrived progeny, it’s usually to ask, “How do I make a beer that I can age to share with my kid when they grow up?” Won’t somebody think of a mother’s needs? Sometimes, I guess mom’s gotta do it for herself.

After trying a girlfriend’s “lactation” cookies made with ingredients to boost milk production, my friend Tiffany Ashrafi had an idea. Cookies are all well and good, but what a beer lover needs after nine months of sobriety is a cold glass of suds. Being an industrious and creative brewer, Tiffany took the example of her friend’s cookies and added a practical twist to her long awaited post-delivery pint.

Starting with a list of the most helpful ingredients for nursing mothers, she worked on how to incorporate them into a beer. Barley was a natural. Figs lend a profound depth to dark beers. Flaxseed provides nuttiness. And fenugreek brings herbal and maple notes to the table.

Taking inspiration from the classic “nursing mother” Milk Stout, she created a table-strength Porter infused with the goodness of her chosen remedies and lactose for additional body and sweetness. Since the beer is on the weak side, it needs all the body help the lactose (and oats) can give. In the end, she created a delicious and functional cookie and chocolate beer.

The other key part of Tiffany’s formulation was talking with her doctor, who approved the plan with a caveat: no alcohol 3 hours prior to breastfeeding. So how about pouring mom a beer? After all, she’s done the hard work!

Mama’s Pint
For 3.5 gallons at 1.031 OG | 22 IBU | 22 SRM | 2.4% ABV

2 lbs Maris Otter
0.5 lbs flaked oats
0.4 lbs chocolate malt
0.25 lbs crystal 60L
0.2 lbs roasted barley (300L)

Single infusion at 150°F for 60 minutes.

Hops (Pellets)
0.3 oz Northern Brewer | 9.8% AA | 60 minutes
0.2 oz Northern Brewer | 9.8% AA | 30 minutes
0.5 oz Fuggles | 4.3% AA  | 0 minutes

WLP037 Yorkshire Square Ale Yeast

3 oz flaxseed added to mash
0.66 lbs lactose (boil for 15 minutes)
10 each dried figs, chopped (boil for 0 minutes)
16 capsules fenugreek powder, dissolved in water, added to primary