Batch 11: Dark Forest Stout

Dark given that it’s black as night, forest given that I’ve used a rather healthy serving of Northern Brewer hops (for a stout) which are purported to have a piney resinous flavor and/or aroma, and stout because it doesn’t seem (after consulting BJCP) that it’s any form of porter, even though that’s what I originally had in mind when I started choosing grain. After looking around some, I’m starting to wonder if this is more in the direction of a roasty and not over-hopped black IPA?

I used Brew Pal (iOS 5) to calculate my stats (IBU, SRM, etc), here they are:

Recipe Type: All Grain/BIAB
Yeast: WLP001
Yeast Starter: None
Batch Size (Gallons): 3
Original Gravity: 1.069 measured (1.057-1.069 predicted)
Final Gravity: 1.023 measured (1.013-1.016 predicted)
IBU: 68 est
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: est > 50
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): at least 14 @ 68-70*
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): not sure

5# 2row
0.5# black patent
0.5# special b
0.5# Belgian biscuit
0.25# carafa II

1oz Northern Brewer (8.6% – 60min)
1oz Northern Brewre (8.6% – 10min)

1 Whirlfloc (10 min)

WLP001 washed from batch 7

1 step thick mash of 1.25 qt/lb giving ~2.25 gal mash at 155* target, ended up closer to 160* for the first 30 minutes, dunk sparged with ~2gal at 170*

The first and a half runnings went to the first pot, the second half of the second runnings went to the second pot. I boiled in two pots at once, with 3 gal to start in one, 1 gal to start in the other, and this all boiled down to just about 3 gallons total. Hop additions were made in a 3:1 ratio for the first and second pots (matching the initial boil sizes).

First 3G: 142*, 1.038 OG (1.054)
Next 1g: 160*? 1.020 OG (1.036)
FG: 1.068 at 70* (1.069)
looks like ~70% efficiency 🙂 not bad, considering my inefficient history.

(brewed on Sunday, Oct 7th)

UPDATE (Nov 4th): The brew has been fermenting for ~1 month at ~68*F, with a slightly-longer-than-usual lag in fermentation (1-1.5 days) that wasn’t particularly vigorous for much of the time. Bottled with 1.2oz sugar, yielded 3 flip-top growlers, and 1.9 22oz bombers. I kept the 0.9-filled bomber to taste and measure FG. FG was 1.023 (~6% ABV), which was puzzling. This yields 6% alcohol, which you can’t taste AT ALL in the beer. It tastes a bit sweet, is as dark as death is final, but has a bit of complexity lurking beneath. Given that it’s been fermenting for about 1 month, I think I’m seeing the fruits of a few errors in process: 1) I likely got a bunch more unfermentables than expected given the high temps during the mash, and 2) I bet I underpitched the yeast, which can lead to high FG.

UPDATE (Nov 25th): I cracked open the 22, and I must say I am intrigued. The funky flavor is still on the nose, and I can still detect the funky flavor in taste, but it is absolutely muted compared to what it used to be. The mouthfeel is quite unique: almost like a milkshake, but not quite. I’d say it’s in the vicinity of thick chocolate milk. There is a rich dark head, and lots of roasty complexity. I have to try this again. No hint whatsoever of alcohol. Minus the funk, this will promise to be quite delicious. I have a strong feeling that some milk sugar would do well here, but I believe I’ve stumbled upon a sweet stout without using milk sugar. NEAT!

UPDATE (12/10): dumped it. After input from a few home-brewing friends, it was irredeemable, with the funky flavor prominent and not promising to abate. I think I just used way too much dark malt. Seeing as the porter in batch 14 used only a fraction of this dark malt percentage and turned out quite toasty and complex, I think this current recipe was doomed to failure. Here’s to learning 🙂