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mint-chocolate-stout boil kettle

Mint Chocolate Stout

mint-chocolate-stout-07Having found an IPA I was happy with, I went the opposite direction and tried my hand at a stout.  I love a good stout in the Winter, but haven’t brewed all that many.  Due to that, I don’t have a base recipe to work from for the style.

As I usually do when I’m trying something new, I went back to Radical Brewing (my favorite brewing book).   The Mint Chocolate Stout sounded like a nice twist, and something most people wouldn’t have had before.  And heck, if it tastes like a thin mint, who’s gonna complain?  Worth a shot!

All-Grain Recipe: Mint Chocolate Stout

Ingredients:

mint-chocolate-stout-ingredients

  • 8 lb. – Pale Malt
  • 2 lb. – Biscuit Malt
  • .5 lb. – Roast Barley
  • .5 lb. – Black Patent
  • .66 oz. – Fresh Spearmint
  • 1 Altoid

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .5 oz. – Northern Brewer (7.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1 oz. – Northern Brewer (7.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • Mint & Altoid – added at flame out

Yeast:

brewing spearmint

  • Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 13E – American Stout
  • OG 1.052 / TG 1.009
  • 5.53% ABV | Color: 29 SRM | ~29 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 12/14/2013, Secondary: 12/29/14, Bottled/Kegged: 01/18/14
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

Brewing the Mint Chocolate Stout

boil kettle steaming

The Mash. Start mash 152.8ish.  End 151.8 ish.  Nice and even.  Stirred mash before 3 gallon recirculation.  Drained off 6.7 gallons or so, a bit more than I’d wanted.

The Boil. Standard boil.  Added mint at flame out.

Fermenting. Started a yeast starter the night before.  Nice and foamy.  Fermented at 68°.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Racked to secondary two weeks later.  Bottled 3 weeks after that.

Drinking the Mint Chocolate Stout

I haven’t made many stouts, so this recipe was a good chance to experiment with mint and try out a new base.  As far as the mint goes, it was disappointed.  A package of mint wasn’t enough to give the beer any noticeable flavor.  You’d have to really want the mint flavor to spend the extra money to use enough to make a significant change.

Beyond the lack of mint, this ended up being a nice Stout.  Decently well balanced.  A little on the sweet side.  The batch also aged really well.  Even after a year, it was a decent beer.

Overall, nothing special, but not bad either.  Probably a nice base to play with for future batches.

mint-chocolate-stout-01

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espresso-stout-03

Espresso Stout Ale

Winter is when I try to brew some darker beers.  For whatever reason, most people don’t think they like “heavy” dark beers, so it takes me forever to get through a darker batch.  I decided to try my hand at an Espresso Stout, to see if the coffee flavor would entice some of my less enthusiastic drinkers to give it a whirl.  Long ago, I had added coffee to a kit that I’d made, and it turned a lame beer in to one that was pretty damn good.  Something I wanted to try on a beer that didn’t suck to begin with!

I used espresso beans instead of coffee beans, not that I really know the difference.  The beans were crushed a bit, then cold steeped for about a week in my fridge.  I added the espresso juice in to my secondary when I racked the batch over.

All-Grain Recipe: Espresso Stout

Ingredients:

espresso-stout-01

  • 10 lbs. – American 2-row
  • 1.25 lbs – Munich Malt
  • 5 oz. – Crystal Malt 45°L
  • 4 oz. – Roast Barley
  • 4 oz. – Pale Chocolate Malt
  • 4 oz. – Black Malt
  • 4 oz. – Brown Malt
  • 2 oz. Coffee Grounds

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .25 oz. – Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Crystal (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1 oz. – Crystal (3.2%)added end of boil, at flame-out

espresso-stout-02

Yeast:

  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • OG 1.056 / TG 1.010
  • 6.01% ABV | Color: 25 °SRM | ~18 IBU’s
  • Brewed 12/02/12, Secondary 12/30/12, Kegged 01/13/13
  • Mash Temp: ~153°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 66%, Attenuation 82%

Brewing the Espresso Stout

 

The Mash. espresso-stout-04Totally missed my goal of 151°, and mashed this about 153°.   Mashed in 4 gallons of water at 163° for a thickness of 1.3 qt/gal

The Boil.  Nothing special.  Started with about 6 gallons.  Added Whirlfloc and the Wort Chiller near the end of the boil.

Cooling. Used the wort chiller hooked up to indoor shop sink. Added 30-40 seconds of oxygen.

Fermenting.  Slow to start, but was rolling by the second day.  About 63° ambient temp.

espresso-stout-05Racking to Secondary & Bottling.  Added the liquid from about 2/3 cup of cold steeped espresso to the secondary.  Kegged the entire batch.

Drinking the Espresso Stout

espresso-stout-07

I know that the espresso is a cop out on an already easier style… but this one turned out really great.  Easily one of my bigger crowd pleasers, as well as one of my personal favorites.  The recipe was nearly perfect, if not the tiniest bit thin.  I would like to get a little more body and mouthfeel out of it next time, but there’s a chance that wouldn’t even be the right way to go.  I just felt like I wanted it a little bit “chewier”.  For sure a recipe I’ll come back to in the future.

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Batch 38 : Chocolate Milk Stout

The Red I’d made previously was an all-grain kit from Northern Brewer, which was mostly purchased so that I could buy this Chocolate Milk Stout kit, too.  So much easier to buy this pre-measured kit than to buy the Cocao Nibs, Lactose, and other ingredients piece by piece.  I’d been fascinated by this brew, not only because of the Lactose addition, but even more because of the Cocao Nibs used to give additional Chocolate flavor.

Ingredients: Chocolate Milk Stout

All-Grain Recipe

  • 8 lbs. – Pale Ale Malt
  • .75 lb. – Pale Chocolate Malt
  • .25 lb. – Extra Dark Crystal
  • .75 lb. – Carafa Type III
  • 1 lb. – Lactose (added to Boil)
  • 4 oz – Cocao Nibs (added to Secondary)

Hop Additions

  • .75 oz. – Cluster (7%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Cluster (7%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min

Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.063 / FG 1.020
  • 5.62% ABV | Color: 30.25 °SRM | 29.1 IBU’s
  • Brewed 12/11/11, Secondary 12/28/2011, Bottled 02/04/2011
  • Temps: ~152° Mash, ~63° in Primary, ~70° Secondary

Brewing the Stout

This beer came at a crazy time for me.  I ended up being away from home for almost the entire month of January, which meant I was able to start this brew normally, but it was going to age for a longer time than I’d usually age a beer, it also meant that the cocao nibs were going to get their full use, sitting in the secondary for a long time.

This was my first time using both the nibs and the lactose, and I was excited to see how both would work out.

The brew day went really standard, I pulled 6.5 gallons from my mash tun and let it boil 30 minutes before my first hop addition.  I’d added another 1/2 gallon around the time of my first hop addition because i wasn’t happy with where my gravity was reading (not really sure why).

Adding the Lactose was the most interesting part of the boil.  Not sure if I added it correctly, but it was kind of curdled milk-ish when it went in.  It simmered, and bubbled, and kind of smelled odd.  That went away, though, and everything seems to have gone alright.

As I left town for a month, the Cocao Nibs had a LONG time to sit.  Probably too long… but more is always better, right?

Drinking the CMS

First things first, I managed to NOT contaminate this batch.  This was in the middle of a bad run for me, and it wasn’t over yet, but this time around I managed to get things sanitized.  I’ve since managed to find the source of my pain, but we’ll get to that in a later post.

So how was it?  Really interesting…  I think a month was too long on the nibs.  The brew had a taste of baker’s chocolate, super dark chocolate bitter tasting.  It wasn’t horrible, but not really awesome, either.  I’m not completely sure, but I felt like the texture of the beer was a bit chalky from the lactose.  I may not have succeeded with my new ingredients, but I’d like to give them both a whirl again in the future.

Overall, this beer was good, not great.  I don’t think I’ll make it again, but it had nice elements.  As a regular stout it would have been totally fine.  Nice color, body, and flavor.  I didn’t always love this beer, but when I was in the right mood, it wasn’t bad.  It was a great ‘homebrew’ kind of beer.  One to show people, and talk about the chocolate and just be adventurous.

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