It’s time for something malty, roasty, and dark. The nights are getting chiller, and I’m in the mood for a big stout. Lately, I’ve been drinking quite a bit of Sierra Nevada’s and Deschutes’ stouts, both of which are fantastic examples of an American stout with a big hop character. One thing I noticed about both recipes is that they use black barley rather than roasted barley. So I took that idea and ran with it.
For my recipe I’m keeping things fairly simple. A healthy dose of C60 for some body and flavor, a pound of black patent, and 8oz carafa III special to give more of those roasty, chocolate like flavors without the acrid bitterness. I had initially planned to use Willamette for the 20 minute addition, but I’m out of Willamette. I do have a few pounds of Belma sitting in the freezer, so I figured why not. This beer is up there in terms of gravity, so the extra alpha acids definitely won’t hurt.
I took the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off of work, so it seemed like a good time to squeeze in a batch. Since we’re having the family over at our place this year, brewing was a welcome break from cooking and cleaning. Although, I’ve been brewing a TON lately (35gal in the past 6 weeks), so after this batch I’m taking a few weeks off. It was another lovely day to brew outside, and I had this batched knocked out in around 4.5hrs. 60min mash followed by a 60min boil. I started chilling immediately, and pitched my yeast at 61*. I pitched 150ml of slurry from a recent Blonde Ale, and set the fermenter fridge at 16.7C.
1lb Black Patent
8oz Carafa III Special
Mash @ 154*
1oz Warrior @ 60
1oz Belma @ 20
1oz Centennial @ 0
WLP001 – California Ale Yeast (re-pitched from Blonde Ale)
Typical Cali Ale yeast ferment here. I’m definitely going to switch to WLP001 full time though, as it flocculates much better than US05 has lately. Anyway, it’s been on tap for about a week now, and it’s finally carbed up and smoothed out.
I’m really happy with how this turned out. Big chocolately aroma with some roastiness too. There’s a little bit of citrus there, but this is obviously a malt-forward beer. Flavor is mostly a smooth chocolate character, as well as some dark fruit. It’s a raisin-like thing, probably from the mix of C60 and Carafa. I’m definitely digging the Black Malt/Carafa combo, as there wasn’t anything acrid coming through. It has a big full mouthfeel, and a nice balancing bitterness in the finish. The wild card with this beer was the Belma hops. Although, it doesn’t surprise me, the Belma doesn’t come through. There’s a little non descript citrus hop flavor, but I probably could have swapped out Belma for almost anything without noticing the difference. Obviously that’s not the Belma’s fault.
I think the only tweak if/when I re-brew this would be to double the Belma addition at 20min. A touch more bitterness wouldn’t hurt this beer, and the additional hop flavor would be welcome. Anyway, with the nights getting (relatively) colder, this beer is totally hitting the spot.