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In quest of a proper stout

Discussion in 'General Recipe Discussion' started by TheWiggman, 27/8/16.

 

  1. TheWiggman

    Haters' gonna hate

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    Posted 27/8/16
    I've been brewing for a few years now and have made my fair share of decent and rubbish beers. I brew almost exclusively from a published book and have found most recipes to be ok, but have never really 'nailed' a stout. The more I brew the more I'm finding my simplest recipes to be the best. However when it comes to stouts - my favourite beer - I'm finding I can't quite make them hit the nail on the head and instead feel like I'm making something close but "not quite there".
    For reference, here are my favourite stouts:
    • Coopers Best Extra Stout (roast and acrid no-nonsense goodness)
    • Abbotsford Invalid Stout (coffee/chocolate/roast balance is great for the low body)
    • Guinness (Dublin version only. Classic)
    • Cascade Stout
    A stout that I think is overrated is 4 Pines. It gets a lot of good feedback but I find it too smooth, easy, and just not charcoaly enough. Maybe that gives you an indication of where I stand and what I like.

    For me I think my stouts are missing more in the malts that the hops. Here are some of the grain bills in my recipes:

    Oatmeal (4.7%, 33 IBU)
    Pale 85.3%
    Flaked oats 5.2%
    Pale chocolate 4.0%
    Crystal, dark 4.0%
    Roast barley 1.5%

    Dry (4.7% 38 IBU)
    Pale 78.3%
    Torrefied wheat 10.3%
    Roasted Barley 9.3%

    RIS (8.2%, 66 IBU)
    Pale 87.5%
    Crystal, med 6.2%
    Roast barley 2.5%
    Carafa III 1.9%
    Chocolate 1.9%

    Confederate Stout (5.1%, 37 IBU) (my own concoction)
    Pale 35.3%
    Flaked oats 5.2%
    Pale chocolate 4.0%
    Crystal, dark 4.0%
    Roast barley 1.5%

    I've used mainly English hops with 1084, 1098, 1469 and 1028. A few different water profiles with standard step mashes on a 3V system not that I think it matters. Ferment temps in the 18-22°C range.

    You can see with the exception of the dry stout the portion of really dark malts is pretty low. 9.3% roast barley works out to be 450g in a 23l recipe and I'm feeling like my stouts aren't acrid and roasty enough.
    I feel like I'm answering my own question, but I think a higher portion of black malt or roasted barley will contribute towards a more roasty, toasty and flavoursome stout. I also think that crystals push that element of flavour too much and while supposedly to style, contribute too much of the wrong thing to a 'real' stout. I'm thinking of pushing the boundaries with the roast, and on the next brew going -

    Pale 84%
    Black patent 8%
    Torrefied wheat 6%
    Pale chocolate 2%

    Some PoR for bitterness, maybe a bit of late EKG and ferment with some classic English yeast or even a WLP008 yeast cake.
    Any ideas on how to make a really roasty and bitter stout? I'm not interested in making a beer all the drop ins like, I want something that will put hairs on your chest and remind me of campfires and gunsmoke.
     
  2. Ducatiboy stu

    Well-Known Member

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    Posted 27/8/16
    Look up my Pillar of Stout. Its really good, almost Guinnes like
     
  3. manticle

    Standing up for the Aussie Bottler

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    Posted 27/8/16
    No black patent in any of those previously brewed
    Roast barley, black and choc..

    Up the roast and ye shall find what ye seek.
    Then work on getting the balance between grist, pH and palate preference.
     
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  4. Blind Dog

    Beer

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    Posted 27/8/16
    The Terry Fosters book on Porter and Stout is a really good read. I like to brew dry stout with 5% roast and 5% black/chocolat. 5% dark crystal (but optional) and the rest pale ale malt.English hops or US versions/approximations of noble hops.
     
  5. manticle

    Standing up for the Aussie Bottler

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    Posted 27/8/16
    Terry Foster!
    Porter!
    Stout!
    Exclamations!
    Enid Blyton!

    His books would be good if someone else wrote them but the information within is worthy of pursuit.
     
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  6. Blind Dog

    Beer

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    Posted 27/8/16
    He does love the unecessary exclamation mark, albeit not quite so much as the entirely redundant quote marks. Still enjoyed reading the book and brewing a few of the recipes. I'd go so far as to say he might even have brewed a few of the recipes
     
  7. peteru

    Here, taste this!

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    Posted 27/8/16
     
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  8. manticle

    Standing up for the Aussie Bottler

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    Posted 27/8/16
    I agree! Terry has his drawbacks but is not worth discounting!
     
  9. droid

    somewhere on the slippery slope with a beer in han

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    Posted 27/8/16
    what temps are you mashing at wiggy?
     
  10. TheWiggman

    Haters' gonna hate

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    Posted 27/8/16
    Good to see my own assumptions hold. I just noticed I left some chocolate malt off the dry stout recipe which might explain why it was a little lacking. I still find the lack of roasted malts in this book to be unusual as it means some of the recipes aren't really 'to style' (which was feedback I got in the recent comp).
    Droid, 65-67°C depending.
     
  11. dammag

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    Posted 28/8/16
    This is a FES I recently brewed.

    Not too roasty. I like to use some black patent in my recipes. I'm not a fan of all roast barley.

    Pale 78.01%

    Black Patent 4.96%

    Roast Barley 4.96%

    Pale Choc 3.55%

    Xtal 90 1.4%

    EKG to 48 IBU's

    Fermented with Wyeast 1968

    I would perhaps try a different yeast next time to get a little more attenuation and some more fruity esters.

    Have you tried Shepherd Neame Double Stout? You can get it from Dan's. Not a bad drop.
     
  12. wide eyed and legless

    Pro Pro

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    Posted 28/8/16
    I noticed on Dan's website a Southwark Old Stout $53 a slab at 7.4 % anyone tried it ? Our local Dan's doesn't stock it.
     
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  13. VP Brewing

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    Posted 28/8/16
    I agree that you need to get more dark malts in there. At the Vic Xmas case swap last year Mayor Of Mildura had a stout that had 10% roast barley and 10% Choc and I freaking loved it. I think Tim Hearns stout from the recent one was about 7% of each and a bit of crystal in there. Also a pretty good stout in my opinion.
     
  14. Ducatiboy stu

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    Posted 28/8/16
    4.4 kg BB Ale Malt
    0.34 kg JWM Roast Barley
    0.15 kg JWM Chocolate Malt
    0.15 kg Weyermann Carafa Special II
    0.1 kg TF Black Malt
     
  15. TheWiggman

    Haters' gonna hate

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    Posted 28/8/16
    Looks good Stu. I think I'll do something like that on the next stout brew with some PoR and maybe 1028 or recultured Coopers.
    Good direction too VP - 20% roast is normally in the "oh no that must be charcoal" territory but I reckon those remarks are probably from those who haven't pushed the boundaries.
    Actually my favourite stout is probably Sheaf. Would love to be able to clone that.
     
  16. Ducatiboy stu

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    Posted 28/8/16
    Thats my Pillar of Stout, done with POR

    A number of brewers have made it and reckon its very good
     
  17. manticle

    Standing up for the Aussie Bottler

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    Posted 28/8/16
    I think the key to brewing a good stout is the balance of roast rather than the arbitary percentage limit of each.

    Really that goes for malts in any grist.
     
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  18. Ducatiboy stu

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    Posted 28/8/16
    And also to not use to many

    I always find the less the better
     
  19. manticle

    Standing up for the Aussie Bottler

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    Posted 28/8/16
    Generally I agree but stout is one where you can push that a tad. Still need to be judicious though.
     
  20. Bribie G

    Adjunct Professor

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    Posted 28/8/16
    I usually put in about 600 - 800g Roast Barley. I was at a brewday once with bradsbrew and he whacked in a whole kilo. My recent entry of a FES didn't attract any comments about too much roastiness, in fact they said it was a little understated.

    The trick is to underpin the RB with a variety of malts other than just pale. Guinness, in particular, uses a specially kilned brown malt as its base, that I guess might be like the mild malt you can get.
    I often put in Carapils for heading and smoothness, amber malt, some crystal but not too much and of course flaked barley.
     
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