I’m a big fan of stouts. I like big (imperial stouts), and I also like the lower ABV versions. There are so many different flavors in those brews. And, I find them visually pleasing to brew – the hot break is like a kaleidoscope of browns and dark browns. When I do a larger batch of an imperial stout, the first runnings look almost like motor oil – I love it!.
My favorite stouts of all time are:
- Old Rasputin
- Founders KBS
I’ve made coffee stouts. I’ve made dry irish stouts. I’ve also designed my own recipe that included adding 750ml of Jim Beam Vanilla Bourbon to the 5 gallon keg (that was an awesome beer). Stouts are relatively straightforward to brew as they rarely have multiple hop steps (unless you are trying something funky).
This particular beer will be racked onto about 2 lbs of frozen blueberry puree after its done its primary. Schlafly (St Louis, MO) makes a pretty good blueberry stout, so this is kind of a nod towards that. Going with a chocolate-based stout and then adding the blueberry should make for a pretty delicious brew. Assuming this goes as planned, I’ll probably use this base beer to make a Cherry Chocolate Stout (and use frozen cherry puree). After a bad experience with flavor extracts (they taste too alcoholy), I aim to use the actual source of the flavor when I’m adding flavor.
Brew notes (I’m not going to regurgitate all of the steps – just the ones that are important):
- Single step mash @ 158 F
- Boil for 90 minutes
- Hop additions at 90
- Cacao addition at 15
- Rehydrate yeast towards end of boil (30 minutes stir plate, balance of time at rest)
- Pre boil SG: 1.033
- 2 gallons
- OG – 1.063, FG – 1.019
This will be bottled once it reaches its final gravity.
Bought ingredients at my local homebrew store (Bacchus & Barleycorn).
Brew day notes:
- Date: 8/24
- Stove top BIAB set up (used nylon paint straining bag)
- Total time (including cleaning): 5 hours
- Made a bit of a mess on the stove, and had to spend about 30 minutes cleaning before the boil. Oops!
- Brew day beer of choice:
- Pineapple Session IPA (mine) and Saison de Lis (Perennial Artisan Ales, St. Louis, MO)
- Brew day music of choice: N/A – Since family was home, we had the National Lampoon’s “vacation” series going in the background.
- Actual OG: 1.057 – pretty close to target
- Final OG: 1.019
- Final ABV: 5%
- What went well: nailed the pre-boil gravity by milling my grains again. Looks like that fixed my problem.
- What went bad: When I was straining the grain bag, I pushed too hard and put my arm into the kettle. Oops. It was only 120 degrees, so it didn’t burn me, but it made a freaking mess. Also, need to adjust final liquid volume if I’m going to use a 2 gallon fermenter (no sense brewing 2.08 gallons of liquid if less than that will be in the fermenter.
- Hardware notes: recalibrated my bimetallic thermometer (it was off by about 10 degrees. Made a measuring stick for my fermenter and boil kettle. Finally got my pH test strips – confirmed that my water has a pH over 9 (which corroborates my local water report). I’ve ordered some water additives to help me manipulate my water chemistry moving forward.
- Fermentation notes:
- 8/31 update – added 2 lbs frozen blueberries to the fermenter in a nylon bag
- 9/10 – bottled
- 9/22 – put into fridge, ready to drink tomorrow
Have you ever brewed this style beer before? Please let us know about your brewing experiences. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share. Thanks!