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Balancing My Stout

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Halowords

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I'm making an FES-Gravity Oatmeal Stout and I'm wondering a few things.

I. Is there a good range as far as % of grist for balancing the roasted barley (coffee) flavor with the chocolate flavor of a chocolate or carafa (I, II, or III?) malt?

II. What's a good % range for crystal malt for an Oatmeal Stout? I like Samuel Smiths, but find it overwhelmingly sweet. However, I'm not looking for Guinness-bitterness in this particular batch. Would Amber Malt be a good substitution for Crystal in an Oatmeal Stout, and if so, how will that replace the sweetness of Crystal 120L (or not?)?

III. If I cold-steep the dark grains (roasted barley and carafa) how much do I need to size-up the amount of grain? 3X?

IV. Carafa. How are the I, II, and III different from each other, and from Chocolate malt?

Lastly, here's my intended recipe. Feel free to let me know any recommendations. Please note it hasn't been adjusted for my intended batch sparge, nor the cold-steeping of the dark grains.

Maris Otter (or other 2-Row Pale Malt) ________ 12.50 lbs. (68.8% of grist)
Roasted Barley ___________________________ 1.30 lbs. (7.1% of grist)
Carafa __________________________________ 1.00 lbs. (5.5% of grist)
Crystal Malt 120L _________________________ 1.50 lbs. (8.26% of grist)
Flaked Oats ______________________________ 1.86 lbs. (10.24% of grist)

Bittering Hops: Undecided
Yeast: Wyeast Irish, unless convinced differently . . .

Comments?

-Cheers
 

Halowords

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As an aside, the above recipe will have roughly a 1.083 OG and will mash at about 154 degrees F, so it shouldn't be excessively alcoholic considering the grist weight.

-Cheers
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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I would ditch the crystal malt and use 2-3lb amber malt. Lovely chocolate aroma and flavor.

Carafa I is like chocolate malt, Carafa III is like black patent.

If you have carafa special you can mash those, otherwise yes a cold steep overnight with three times as much water as grain by weight.

If that were my stout, I would use 1728 Scottish, it can handle that gravity easily plus it works at lower temps so you can avoid the strong ferment reaching too high a temperature.

A cereal mash of the oats with a betaglucan rest at 90F

For hops, good old English dirt hops, allowing for the low utilisation for that high grav wort

Jovial Monk
 

Halowords

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Jovial_Monk said:
I would ditch the crystal malt and use 2-3lb amber malt. Lovely chocolate aroma and flavor.

Carafa I is like chocolate malt, Carafa III is like black patent.
Would you ditch the Carafa I as well, or use the Amber & Carafa together? Will the Amber do anything to sweeten the beer (guessing no) and if not, should I just adjust the IBU's to compensate?

Also curious what Carafa II is comparable to.

If that were my stout, I would use 1728 Scottish, it can handle that gravity easily plus it works at lower temps so you can avoid the strong ferment reaching too high a temperature.


Jovial Monk
[post="63146"][/post]​
How is the attenuation on the 1728? Not a huge concern, as I'm sure there will be enough unfermentables and all, but just curious. Thank you for the info thusfar.

-Cheers
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Carafa II would be in between chocolate and black patent.

No malt sweetness as such, just a great chocolate flavor/aroma as I said before. The amber would also add complexity, a stout should not be just pale and black grain.

JM
 

Halowords

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So . . .

Maris Otter (or other 2-Row Pale Malt) ________ 12.50 lbs. (68.8% of grist)
Roasted Barley (Cold-Steeped)______________ 3.90 lbs. (7.1% of grist)
Carafa (Cold-Steeped) ____________________ 3.00 lbs. (5.5% of grist)
Amber Malt ______________________________ 1.50 lbs. (8.26% of grist)
Flaked Oats ______________________________ 1.86 lbs. (10.24% of grist)

E.K. Goldings for bittering hops (I'll figure out the IBU's/AA% later on)
1728 Scotch Ale Yeast

Tripled the amount of dark grains to compensate for cold-steeping and any loss of extract efficiency that might add. Brew and age until it's ready to drink? Or would the Carafa & Amber be overdoing it on the chocolate end?

-Cheers
 

Kai

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I'm not quite sure how these things work out, but I think your black and carafa quantities might also be a tiny bit high, though I don't know for cold steeping.

I wouldn't ditch the crystal, but I would lessen it a little. The monk will tell you to ditch the crystal regardless of what you're brewing.
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Hahahaha Kai

No, I really do try not to let presonal taste not get in the way, dunno if I always succeed, but crystal in a stout is wrong, IMO.

I don't think you get any less flavor from cold steeping, the cold steeping is done over quite a few hours and if the last of the sparge water is thrown over the black grains I daresay all the flavor possible is extracted. If you doubt that, just add 25% more black grain, I guess. Which carafa are you adding?

JM
 

Kai

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Jovial_Monk said:
Hahahaha Kai

No, I really do try not to let presonal taste not get in the way, dunno if I always succeed, but crystal in a stout is wrong, IMO.

I don't think you get any less flavor from cold steeping, the cold steeping is done over quite a few hours and if the last of the sparge water is thrown over the black grains I daresay all the flavor possible is extracted. If you doubt that, just add 25% more black grain, I guess. Which carafa are you adding?

JM
[post="63224"][/post]​
I think it might be wrong if you're trying to do a dry stout, but for others I think a little crystal can bring an extra level of complexity to the flavour. Why do you think it's wrong?
 

Halowords

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Jovial_Monk said:
If you doubt that, just add 25% more black grain, I guess. Which carafa are you adding?

JM
[post="63224"][/post]​
In my research (i.e. a quick google search) I had heard people throw around the "two-to-three times the normal grains" for cold-steeping roasted barley, black malt, chocolate, etc. If you've had good luck with the normal percentages then I have no problem just leaving the proportions at normal levels.

Which Carafa am I adding? Probably Carafa I; I'm trying to get a reasonable balance between a nice rich chocolate taste and a nice coffee tone. The Carafa just sounded like a nice way to add chocolate sans the bitterness of the Chocolate malt. I've never used black malt before so my initial thought is to just stick with roasted barley. Additionally, I'm tempted to submit a couple of bottles if it comes out alright; not to win awards, but just to see what the judges say about it so I can know where my brewing stands at this point. I've read there is a bias toward roasted malt in homebrew competitions based on how the standards are written as well

Of course, I would just do a full 10 gallon mash and split up the batches into a black malt and a roasted barley batch. But that's just a rant more than anything to really add to this thread I suppose. Could be worth a shot though.

-Cheers
 

Halowords

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Jovial_Monk said:
Hahahaha Kai

crystal in a stout is wrong, IMO.

JM
[post="63224"][/post]​
Out of curiousity, why? Not disagreeing with you, but virtually every commercial brand I've come across (Dry, Sweet, or otherwise) uses it, and historically it's accurate (in its use, if not its appropriateness). Is it just a taste preference? I always thought it was added (largely) as a balance to the bitterness of the roasted barley and black malt. Again, I'm just asking not agreeing or disagreeing with anybody, just trying to get your opinion(s).

-Cheers
 

chiller

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Halowords said:
Jovial_Monk said:
Hahahaha Kai

crystal in a stout is wrong, IMO.

JM
[post="63224"][/post]​
Out of curiousity, why? Not disagreeing with you, but virtually every commercial brand I've come across (Dry, Sweet, or otherwise) uses it, and historically it's accurate (in its use, if not its appropriateness). Is it just a taste preference? I always thought it was added (largely) as a balance to the bitterness of the roasted barley and black malt. Again, I'm just asking not agreeing or disagreeing with anybody, just trying to get your opinion(s).

-Cheers
[post="63292"][/post]​
I've followed this thread with interest. If you wish to minimise harshness from the dark grain there is a far easier and much more controllable method than cold steeping.

Mash all of you base malts as per normal then at the last 5 minutes of the mash gently stir in the well crushed dark and crystal malts. They will freely give you all the colour and flavour you want but without any harsh astringency you may experience from a full 1 hour mash.

They don't require mashing and they will give up all their flavour etc in the final five minutes of the mash/recirculation/and second batch sparge.

Most of the time I simply add them at the recirculation stage and have never needed to add more than a normal recipe.

The advantage of this is normal approach to recipe formulation.

Crystal is fine - it adds complexity and is perfectly acceptable in the recipe you intent to make. Crystal malts and there are many, are valuable both in the commercial and homebrewing worlds. It is very poor advise to give against using them entirely. Used correctly they are unsurpassed in their ability to bolster flavours within your beer.

Rolled oats don't need a cereal mash as they are gelatinised by the heated roller process.
You can also get "minute oats" that will be converted even faster by the base malts you have.

If you want to develop a complex malty stout substitute a third of the pale malt with Vienna or Munich. And leave everything the same.

Be careful with Carafa -- it isn't like chocolate. Even Carafa 1 has a strong dark burnt grain character

I personally have used 600gms of Carafa 2 in a stout with no other dark grain and it didn't convey any chocolate notes. Esspreso Coffee like but not chocolate. Although it is a dark grain it doesn't seem a good direct substitute for Roast or chocolate. It is more at home as a colouring and flavour shaping grain for a dark Belgian Ale. It does work well in a stout but don't expect the tastes to be direct substites for traditionally accepted dark grains.

The essence of homebrewing is to develop the tastes you like.

-- brew and enjoy.

Steve
 

Ross

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i cold steep my specialty grains for 24 hrs & add the spent grains into the mash tun just before sparging - smooth flavour & no need to use any more than if you were mashing them...
 
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Halowords said:
Tripled the amount of dark grains to compensate for cold-steeping and any loss of extract efficiency that might add. Brew and age until it's ready to drink? Or would the Carafa & Amber be overdoing it on the chocolate end?

[post="63209"][/post]​
I've never heard of COLD STEEPING dark grains for a stout.

Would some one explain what it involves and why use the technique ?

Thanks.
 

colinw

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I'll throw in my $0.02 worth on this one. I've previously played with cold steeping of roast barley and black patent for stout and porter, and have now given up on the technique in favour of adding most of the dark grains to the mash about 10 minutes before starting the sparge.

The one advantage of cold steeping was the incredibly smooth flavour, with none of that roast astringency. The downside was that in a couple of beers I simply did not extract enough flavour to give it that "stout" flavour - the beer looked like a stout but had a flavour more like a normal ale or a schwarzbier with only subdued roast character. This was using 50% more roast grains than normal.

I also tend to feel that crystal malt has no place in a stout, as it lends an underlying toffee sweetness which clashes with the flavours which I desire in my stouts. Of course this is a personal taste matter so others may well disagree with me. For my stouts, I tend to restrict my roast grains to roast barley, black patent and chocolate malt, plus maybe some amber malt if I'm looking for a little bit of complexity although I would be more likely to use amber and black patent in a porter.

In our most recent stout, my brew buddy and I went for a basic 80/10/10 ratio of Maris Otter pale malt, Flaked Barley and Roast barley. We added 90% of the roast barley before the sparge. This stout came out better than any I have previously brewed, it is quite delicious and the roast barley has come through with a coffee-like complexity which is far better than the results of cold steeping.

The recipe (for 45 litres) was:

8kg Bairds Maris Otter
1kg Flaked Barley
1kg Roast Barley
Infusion mash, 90 minutes at 68 degrees C.

100g of the roast barley in the mash, stirring the other 900g in about 10 minutes before starting sparge.

Sparge 50 litres.
90 minute boil
50g East Kent Goldings pellets (5.8%AA) @ 60 minutes
40g Northern Brewer pellets (10%AA) @ 60 minutes
1 tsp white labs yeast nutrient @ 15 minutes

White labs WLP004 Irish Ale
Estimated colour 34 SRM.
Estimated bitterness 40 IBUs
OG was 1.053, FG was 1.013.

We treated our water to roughly a London profile with gypsum and epsom salts. This is area specific, we use Ken Schwartz's BreWater 3.0 software to calculate water adjustments for our known Brisbane water profile.

cheers,
Colin
 

Halowords

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colinw said:
I'll throw in my $0.02 worth on this one. I've previously played with cold steeping of roast barley and black patent for stout and porter, and have now given up on the technique in favour of adding most of the dark grains to the mash about 10 minutes before starting the sparge.

The one advantage of cold steeping was the incredibly smooth flavour, with none of that roast astringency. The downside was that in a couple of beers I simply did not extract enough flavour to give it that "stout" flavour - the beer looked like a stout but had a flavour more like a normal ale or a schwarzbier with only subdued roast character. This was using 50% more roast grains than normal.
Thanks for the input. Did you sparge the spent grains with warm/hot water or just throw in the barley tea? It seems like a 150 degree sparge of the spent grains would wash out some of the remaining sugars to give the stout a richer flavor.

I'll probably still cold-steep this session because I'm planning on splitting the batch between a Black Patent Malt-based stout for the first five gallons and a Roasted Barley-based stout for the second batch, and adding the dark grains to the mash would defeat the point for this brewing session.

Also, thanks for the input on the Crystal Malt. I think I'll skip it this time just to see how it compares to commercially available ones that I know DO use crystal malt, and make up my mind from there. Thanks for both sides on that debate thus far.

-Cheers
 

colinw

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When cold steeping I've tried it both ways. Sparging with 65C water produced better results, I guess because it was closer to a normal steep. Adding the "tea" from cold steeping straight to the boil gave bland and colour deficient results.

Neither gave results as good as just stirring the roast barley into the mash 10 minutes before sparging, which extracted really good aromatics which come through nicely in the flavour and aroma of the stout.

Regarding crystal malt, that is purely a personal taste thing - if you like commercial stouts which are known to use crystal then go for it. I like my stouts drier and more coffee-like.
 

warrenlw63

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colinw said:
I like my stouts drier and more coffee-like.
[post="65084"][/post]​
Colin,

In lieu of crystal malt. Small amounts of brown and some amber in combination with the roast barley give pretty nice results and seem to enhance the dry/coffee type character somewhat as opposed to making the stout too sweet.

Warren -
 

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