Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Simplicity Stout (5/15/13)

Stouts are a great way to use strange ingredients. Since they're so strongly flavored, there's little risk of overpowering the flavor of the beer. As a result, they've become a kitchen sink beer for American (and Scandinavian) brewers. First came the coffee stouts, then the chocolate stouts and vanilla stouts. Then came spiced stouts, fruit stouts, mint stouts, even bacon stouts. Right now the highest-rated Russian Imperial Stout on BeerAdvocate is Three Floyd's Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord.

This time, I wanted to take the opposite approach. No weird ingredients, no aging on wood, just an intense, full-bodied beer with a prominent roasted grain flavor. I did use five different types of barley in this recipe, but each plays a vital role. The two row is a fairly neutral base malt; the chocolate malt and roast barley together produce intense and complex roast flavors; the English crystal adds sweetness to balance the bitter roasted grains; finally, the flaked barley adds body. Since aroma is often where regular stouts are lacking, I also added a decent amount of Nugget as an aroma hop, which adds pleasant floral notes.

Had a stuck mash and didn't get very good efficiency. I did a long boil and added a bit of extract to make up for it.

First tasting 10/21/13: Good aroma, balanced flavor profile, excellent mouthfeel. Just enough alcohol in the aroma to add complexity. Subdued but noticeable esters. This beer is great now, but I expect it to continue to improve for at least a year. I will have trouble making it last that long.

ABV: 8.2%
IBUs (Tinseth): 40
OG: 1.082
FG: 1.019

Mash adjustments: 2.5 grams slaked lime, 5 grams calcium chloride
Sparge adjustments: 1 drop 88% lactic acid
Mash temp: 154
Mash length: 60 minutes
Efficiency: 60%

Yeast: Wyeast 1098 British ale yeast (close relation to WLP007)
Starter: 4 liters
Pitching temp: 65F
Max temp: 74F

Malts Mashed Amount % Max Pts.
2 Row 15 79% 36.00
English Medium Crystal 1 5% 34.00
Chocolate 1 5% 28.00
Roast Barley 1 5% 25.00
Barley (flaked) 1 5% 32.00
Other Fermentables Amount
Max Pts.
DME 2.25
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Magnum 1 60 14.0%
Nugget 2 5 10.0%

I performed a 90 minute boil to reduce volume.

5/21/13: Gravity is 1.019.
6/4/13: Bottled to 2.3 volumes of CO2.

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