Brew Day – Chicory Dry Irish Stout – 9/29/18


I’m making this a headline because it was a last minute change. I don’t want it integrated into the post, so you think it was the plan. This was supposed to be my stock dry irish stout recipe. But, as I explain in the fermentation notes, the fermentation stopped dead at 1.024. I tried heating up. I tried repitching.


I looked through my notes, and didn’t see any issues in my process that would cause this situation. BUT, I did decide to check my kettle thermometer to see if that could have caused a problem. If you follow my small-batch posts, you’ll see that I found a glitch with my stovetop process – I mashed a batch too high by hot-boxing it (setting the oven to “warm” and putting the kettle in it). If you mash over 160 degrees F, you start to draw out unfermentable sugars. You’ll hit your gravity numbers pre-fermentation, but once all of the fermentables are gone, your numbers are toast. Seeing this behavior in a larger batch (I use a cooler/mash tun, so no temp issues EVER), I decided to check my tools. Sure enough, that stupid boil kettle thermometer was off by 15 degrees F. So, if I thought my strike water was 164 degrees, it really was 179 degrees. What a piece of junk. I’ve since thrown it out and replaced it with a better digital thermometer. Used it in a small batch yesterday (my original Hop Dump Imperial IPA – will post in about a month), so we’ll see if my stuck fermentation problem goes away.

Anyway, since this beer finishes its journey at 3.8% ABV, I decided it’s a perfect candidate to experiment with. I cold brewed some chicory yesterday morning, and decided to test this stout batch with concentrated chicory cold brew. I figure if it sucks, no big loss – the beer was an accident anyway. No worries. I did 1 oz of chicory root for every 4 ounces of water. I wanted 8 oz total for the 5 gallon batch, so, you do the math. I let it steep overnight, and strained it this AM. That stuff was strong. This should be an interesting beer addition. I think the bitter and sweet of the chicory should play very nice with the dryness of the stout. Dogfish Head Brewing makes a chicory stout, so I know it’s been done before. Their beer is a higher ABV, so, if this turns out okay, maybe I’ll try an imperial version. Its force carbing at 30 PSI right now, so we’ll see if its ready to sample in a day or two.


Today was a fun session. Mrs. Breaking has a friend whose husband is a homebrewer. She set up a play date, so we could brew a batch together. End up being a lot of fun as we talked about homebrewing, exchanged ideas, and enjoyed some great stuff. He brought over a growler of his own SMASH Cascade beer, and it was amazing. Great taste, great clarity – I was very jealous that his SMASH was better than mine. Makes me want to abandon the centennial (very piney finish), and start playing with cascade. If I don’t really like SMASH volume 2, I’ll probably switch horses (or in this case, hops).

Going off of the success of El Hefe, I decided to keep the momentum going with this setup, and do a 5 gallon batch of a base dry irish stout. This will be the stout that I probably use for adding coffee, chicory, and/or other flavors. In an effort to be more “authentic,” I used the water profile tool in BeerSmith2 so that I could find out what I need to add to my water to better mirror the water in Dublin, Ireland. As it turns out, I needed to add about 9 grams of chalk, and half a gram of baking soda. Since I’ve never really done anything like that before, I get to blaze some new trails in my beer brewing journey.

Only real funky thing that happened today is that my end boil volume at 60 minutes was about half a gallon too much. That is odd because I hit my pre-boil volume very well. Only thing I can think of is that my boil wasn’t vigorous enough. Its funny saying that because not 24 hours earlier, I was reading a dueling set of editorials about boil intensity. Once side of the editorial argued that a boil is a boil is a boil, and intensity doesn’t matter. The opposing side of the argument said that boil vigor very much matters for a host of reasons. Based on my experience with this boil, I think I’m leaning towards that camp that boil vigor DOES MATTER, and that you should aim for the most rolling boil your pot can handle w/o a boil over. The article I read was in the print version of BYO (October 2018, Vol 24, No 6). The article talks about many factors that are impacted by boil vigor – not just volume. In this online experiment posted by Brulosophy, you can clearly see that boil intensity directly affects boil off rate. 


The Recipe (all grain):

Conors base dry irish stout


Brew notes (I’m not going to regurgitate all of the steps – just the ones that are important):

    • Add chalk and baking soda to try and mimic the water profile of Dublin, Ireland
    • 75 minute mash
    • 60 minute boil (end up being 80 minute boil)
    • Hops at 60 min


Target numbers:

  • 5.25 gallons
  • OG – 1.049, FG – 1.010
  • ABV – 5.1%

This will be kegged once it reaches its final gravity.

Bought ingredients at my local homebrew store (Bacchus & Barleycorn).


Brew day notes:

  • Date: 9/29
  • Weather: Overcast and a little cool (NICE!)
  • Total time (including cleaning): 5 hours
  • Brew day beer of choice:
    • Founder’s Breakfast Stout
    • Paul’s SMASH cascade (it was awesome)
  • Brew day music of choice:
    • n/a – hung out with a new friend the whole time and talked homebrew
  • Actual OG: 1.053
  • Final OG: 1.024 (see the notes below)
  • Final ABV: 3.8%
  • What went well:
    • Was able to detect and correct a volume and wort inefficiency by testing pre-boil gravity. Made adjustment fixed it.
  • What went bad:
    • Made a goof with mash water volume – need to remark my measuring stick I guess.
    • 60 minute boil wasn’t enough to get down to 5.25 gallons – had to boil for an extra 20 minutes to hit volume.
  • Hardware notes: PERFECT
  • Fermentation notes:
    • 10/1 – visible krausen, nice active fermentation in the conical.
    • 10/7 – sample at 1.024. Tastes nice.
    • 10/13 – emptied collection ball on my FastFerment conical
    • 10/14 – beer is stuck at 1.024. I want 10-13 more points. I had a feeling that I underpitched the batch. So, I rehydrated another pack of S-04, and repitched/aerated today. Hoping to see some airlock bubbling tomorrow.
    • 10/21 – FINAL UPDATE – kegged at 1.024. Bummer. But, when god gives you lemons, make lemonade.


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!


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