Stout Recipe - Need Feedback

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Hey all,

Just joined after spending the last few years stalking around silently.

So I switched to brewing all grain around 2 years ago and have been loving it. My brews have all turned out really well so far, but all have been directly from recipes I've found online.
So while planning out my next few brews I thought I'd take a crack at designing a few myself. I don't have any of the recommended books at this point and one thing I'm struggling with is the percentage of speciality grains v base...

My next brew will be a stout and I've put the following recipe together. My aim is to make a rich complex stout with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Just after some feedback from those with more experience than I have on the grain bill - particularly in relation to proportions.

5,900.0 g (60.8%) Golden Promise Malt
710.0 g (7.3%) Victory® Malt
680.0 g (7.0%) Chocolate Malt
650 g (6.7%) Dark Crystal Malt
800 g (8.2%) Midnight Wheat Malt
970.0 g (10.0%) Oat Flakes

My thinking was:
GP as base simply because i've used Maris Otter for all my other brews so why not
Victory to add some complexity
Chocolate and Dark Crystal as the primary drivers of my stout flavour profile
Midnight Wheat for colour (and some flavour) - I'm aiming for jet black.
And the Oats for head retention and mouthfeel.

From my research online 5-10% is about right for Oats but not sure about the others.



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Hi Mike,

What size batch are you brewing?

Have you looked at a lot of stout recipes? I have been looking at a few while deciding whether I want to do a brown, porter or stout. Based on what you are trying to achieve you may like to consider the following ingredients:
  • Roast barley;
  • Carafa spec 1 or 2; and
  • Flaked barley.
I've not used the Chocolate malt but have read it it similar to Carafa. The Carafa spec comes without a husk and is said to be smooth. I wouldn't use much roast barley but it is a typical ingredient so that is why I listed it. It seems a bit harsh to me. And the flaked barley in place of the oats might be better for head retention. Oats are said to reduce head retention because of their oils. Some people say that too much flaked barley will reduce head retention so maybe just use 500 grams.

In terms of your dark crystal I think that is way too much. I have used Victory malt. It is not very dark. I am switching to brown malt which is said to give a similar flavour. Just thought I would mention it as a possible substitute if you want some colour along with the flavour it imparts. That means getting more colour out of less harsh grains that add a particular dimension taste wise. Which is to say, if you use more brown malt for its flavour, you can use less Chocolate and Midnight wheat.

What you have up there isn't too bad but if it was me I would definitely reduce the crystal. You could even reduce the Chocolate and midnight wheat down a bit.

I'm probably looking at it from the perspective of someone who would rather have a shot at a porter than a stout though.

Dark Maiden

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Get Lost Australia
Have you tried looking through recipes on beersmith and other sites? How I started was just looking at everyone elses recipes. And from there essentially picked different aspects from different ones. Always a bit of a trial and error, but so far my recipes have come out pretty good. I am by no means an expert and maybe just have been lucky, but is a good place to start I think.

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Hi hoppy2B,

I'm doing a 50L batch (~45 into fermentor) - I have some time though as the fermentor (and ferm chamber) is currently nurturing my Abbey Double to life and will be doing so for the next 4 weeks. Although given the season and temperature where I live I don't really need the ferm chamber but I just love the 0.1 c accuracy it gives me.

I probably should have clarified, It's an Oatmeal Stout. I'm looking for a stout that is not dry, and also not sweet like a milk stout. I want burnt caramel, coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, raisin, and roasted flavours but not the astringency that, as you mentioned, you can get from the Roast Barley. This was the reason for choosing the chocolate and dark crystal malts. While I will get some more of those flavours from the midnight wheat as well, I'm primarily using that for the black colour (1400 EBC)
From my research, the Oats provide a silky smooth almost viscous mouthfeel, which is exactly what I'm after.
In regards to head retention, it's interesting that you say that about Oats. I have read completely the opposite, but also note that there seems to be distinctly contrasting information around on the subject.

See this example: "Despite the presence of oils in the grain, which you would expect to negatively impact head retention, oatmeal helps build a nice creamy long lasting head."

I'll take a look at the brown malt as a substitute for the victory.

Out of interest, why do you say 6.7% for the dark crystal is too much? Not disputing what you're saying, just interested in your reasoning.
What I read while researching this (and I think this came from Designing Great Beers via an article) was 4-9% was about right for each of the speciality grains.

Hey Dark Maiden,
I've tried to avoid explicitly looking at other recipes as I didn't want to be influenced by them, but rather I've tried to find articles that talked more generally about types of grains to use and then looked independently into the manufacturers' notes about certain grains, their flavour profile and usage %.
I've just found previously I when looking at recipes I just end up finding one that sounds awesome and has a lot of good feedback on it, and use that. I wanted to branch out and try to learn a bit more about crafting one from scratch.


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In my recent robust porter recipe I used chocolate (~6%), brown (~4.5%) and special B (~3%) - those three gave really nice but subtle coffee/chocolate notes with some dark fruit depth. I added some dark crystal as well at about 5%.

Do you want your stout to have some bite or do you want it really well rounded? You can add more bitterness by having those darker malts in the mash from the start, otherwise add towards the end of the mash to just extract enough colour/flavour without adding any harshness, cold steeping is another way about it..

Carafa II is a good option as this will contribute colour without (much) harshness. I typically also split the diff on the oats with flaked barley but that's just a thing I've been trying lately..

What hops/yeast combo you looking at as this will also have an impact on overall flavour?

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