We all knew this day was coming, a day when I brew a beer that isn’t a hoppy saison. I do make several styles of beer, maybe it was a rut, maybe it was the fact that I can’t get a hoppy light beer I like as much in this market, maybe it was because I bought 10 pounds of hops and wanted to use them…but I will start posting a greater variety of recipes on here from now on. I am not going to stop making those saisons, those have become my house beers…a permanent fixture, my daily drinker.
This is an old recipe but this is a new blog, so it is new to you. This is actually one of the first beers I brewed when I started out back in 2005. This is a stout recipe brewed for my wife’s enjoyment since these dark beers are her favorites, bonus if they have coffee in them, double bonus if they are a little sweet, if you can get it into a bourbon barrel…you win beer. This was intended as a mash up of all her favorite beer things in one super beer (except the barrel aging…more on that later). This is an oatmeal stout with coffee…so a Breakfast stout. We affectionately call this stick rooster because roosters are active in the morning…it is a little bit of an inside joke I suppose. This beer originally had lactose in it, but not this particular batch due to forgetfulness. In future batches of this beer, it will definitely have lactose though, this turned out a little on the thin side. Not bad, but not as full bodied as it could be.
Batch # 2014.04
5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: March 8th, 2014
Kegging date: April 9th, 2014
SRM: 36 L (estimated) — yes it is dark
IBU: 26 (estimated)
8 lb 2 row malt
1 lb flaked oats
1 lb Pale Chocolate malt
1 lb flaked barley
0.5 lb Kiln Coffee malt
0.5 lb Black barley
0.25 lb Roasted barley
Rice hulls (maybe 0.5 lbs total)
One new thing in this batch was the Kiln Coffee malt. It was pointed out to me at my local grain shop and I picked up some because, why not, and this was a coffee stout. We tasted the beer before we added more coffee in the keg…it was subtle but I could taste the malt. I think more than half a pound is needed to bring those flavors out.
Beer was mashed at 154 F for one hour, 5 gallons of water was used for the mash with a pH stabilizer (5.2). Beer was batch sparged with 5 gallons at 165 F and about 8.5 gallons was recovered from the mash and the sparge. The mash did not get stuck…thank you rice hulls.
Beer was brought to a boil rather quickly. The total time of the boil was 80 minutes, other than the 1 ounce hop addition, there were no boil additions. Beer was chilled in about 40 minutes using an immersion chiller. Cooled wort was transferred to the fermenter by pouring through a funnel (for aeration).
Unlike most beers I brew, this beer is not meant to be hoppy. There is only one hop addition and the IBUs are kept low. The hop is added at the beginning of the boil so most of the flavor and aroma of the hop are gone by the bottling. It is there only to help balance the bitterness of the roasted malts (chocolate and black barley).
1 ounce Mt. Hood (3.8% AA) 30 minutes before flame out.
Fermented with California Ale Yeast, a great neutral yeast for all ales.Fermentation took a little bit to get going…probably because I slightly under-pitched (no starter) and managed to seriously chill the beer down…I need better fermentation temperature control. Nevertheless, it did start and behave itself for the duration of the primary fermentation. The beer hit high krausen after three days and stayed up for several more. Spent a total of a month in the primary fermenter. Yeast cake was saved for a future beer.
Beer was added to a keg. This acted as a secondary fermenter of sorts since there was coffee grounds added in a hop bag, 2 ounces of coffee from Gainesville, FL. We just broke up the beans, we didn’t grind it as fine as you would to make coffee. The coffee stayed in the keg for a week. At first the coffee was mostly in the aroma, but after a week the beer got pretty coffee forward.
Aroma is coffee and a little chocolate, the coffee is winning in the aroma department here. By a lot.
Beer is medium to light in body, thankfully not ashy or overly bitter from the roasted grains on the finish. Overall the beer is easy drinking and nice. The coffee flavors picked up in this beer from 3 – 7 days on the coffee beans (I wouldn’t recommend going much longer than 7, in future batches the coffee will be exposed to the beer for 4-6 days…depending on intensity).
I wish the beer were higher in alcohol and bigger in body, the solution to both of those problems is to tweak the grain bill. I thoroughly enjoy this stout though, and I’m not the biggest stout fan. It was great to get away from a hoppy saison and brew something different. I definitely want to do more styles this year.
Possible Improvements for future batches:
I think overall this is a fine beer but could definitely stand to take some more alcohol….future batches will receive more base malt. The inclusion of the coffee malt was interesting. A sample was saved at the time of transferring to the keg to see if the coffee flavor was detected and it definitely was but far more subtle than expected. The addition of the coffee beans in the keg were important for sure. I would love to ultimately make an imperial version of this and pop it into a barrel for 6 months, that would be amazing and it is on my long term plans. I just have to build up my confidence that I can handle that sort of thing. The biggest flaw of this beer is how thin it turned out. I think for an oatmeal stout, the FG should be around 1.020 or higher. That sounds like a lot but I would like to fill out the body of this beer a little..without making it too sweet. This might make the dynamics of the head (retention and lacing are a little lacking in this beer). Some things to consider for the next batch of this.
One thing that is coming up that I’m stupidly excited about is a kvas I’ll be making with loaves of bread made from the spent grain of several batches, this one included. I’ll write a post about the bread and the process it goes through, making the bread and then the kvas and then cooking with the kvas…something to really look forward to. Also, there are more hoppy saisons in fermenters (as always) but the yeast cake from this beer is going to be used to make a “clean” lemon basil IPA as it was requested by a fan of the blog. I’m always willing to brew something new and having never used lemon or basil in a beer I’m happy to take on the challenge. Hibiscus Brett saison is in the fermenter, the first of several flower beers for the year. So much more coming.
“Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.” ―Kaiser Wilhelm