Dark Horse Stout (Batch 7)

Dark Horse 7I have been working on ‘the perfect stout’ for a long time.  In fact one of the first batches I ever brewed was a stout.

A while back I create “The Stout Experiment” in an effort to try multiple additions in a single batch.  Oddly enough the control (without any additions) ended up being the best.

I have since done three other bathes (including this one) that has tweaked the recipe slightly each time, based on my tasting notes.

Appearance: Dark, no light gets through. Tan (khaki) head with tight bubbles. Alcohol clings to the side of the glass with lacing from the head.
Mouthfeel: silky smooth, but not thick or heavy. The rolled oats contributed to this.
Flavor: Sweet Carmel at first gives way to burnt coffee, dark chocolate and a hint of grapefruit from the cascade hops.
Aroma: Carmel and noble hops.

All in all it’s the best stout I have ever had but I can identify at least two or three places that show room for improvement.

Next batch I think I will add more roasted barley to turn up that burnt coffee flavor a little and possibly change the aroma hop.


Dark Horse 4 – Sweet Stout

I have made a number of stout recipes since I started home brewing.  I beleive I have finaly refined my recipe down to perfectly suite my tastes.  This one falls under the BJCP category of 13b. Sweet Stout.  This is sometimes called a milk stout, cream stout or breakfast stout.

My base recipe I beleive is sound, but I’m not 100% sure what I want to do with it after I transfer it to the secondary firmentation vessel.  Because of this I will be transfering into 5 x 1gal secondaries instead of 1 5gal.  At that point I can do whatever additives I like and compare.  So far I beleive this is the plan.

1. Control.  Leave it as is with no additives
2. Cherry Extract (Organic)
3. Hazelnut Extract (Organic)
4. Chocolate Bar or Extract (Organic)
5. Either dry hopped with American Cascade hops or float oak chips for the “oak barrel aged” flavor.

I will let everyone know how it turns out. 🙂

Homebrewing with Honey

Missy and I brewed up our first Mead the other day.  I have been using The Complete MeadMaker by Ken Schramm and Making Wild Wines & Meads by Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling as my resources.

We decided to make a braggot instead of a straight up mead.  That is a very honey heavy beer.  Mead with malt, carbonation and sometimes hops.

Normally a beer with honey contains about 1lb of honey… this braggot contains 15 lbs.  We are calling it the “+1 Braggot of Drunkening”.

Leafing through these two books brought question to how I have always brewed with honey.

On page 41 of The Complete Meadmaker I read:

“Dr. Johnathan White of United States Department of Agriculture (retired) did a tremendous amount of research on honey and concluded that the amount of heat exposure needed to kill off the wild yeast in honey is as little as fine minutes at 150 F (66 C), or about 22 minutes at 140 F (60 C).”

In making previous batches of beer we added the honey at the beginning of the boil so the honey is exposed to 60-90 minutes of boiling temperatures.  According to this research that will kill a great deal of the aroma and flavor that honey contributes.

Brewing with honey, according to this research can be difficult.  We heated the honey in a seperate brew kettle (140 F for 22 minutes) and timed it so that its cook time ended about 10 minutes after the wort boil.

I have a brewmometer on my kettle so I waited till my wort chiller brought the wort to 140 F and then added the honey.

Our braggot is about 1-2 days from being transfered to the secondary.  I will let everyone know how it turns out.  If you know me, maybe you will be lucky enough to score a bottle or two. 🙂