This past weekend, I brewed another batch of beer so that I would have something to share during the winter holidays. By popular demand, I decided to brew a stout. I wanted to experiment with my own recipe, so I did some research on stouts. By far the most useful resource was the book Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. The book goes into great depth about many popular styles of beer and gives a wonderful historical perspective on the styles. It doesn’t contain explicit recipes, but rather serves as a guide to develop one’s own recipes. I highly recommend this book.
I wanted a stout that was a hybrid between a classic dry stout and the bolder American stouts being brewed on the West Coast these days (Bear Republic’s Big Bear Black Stout is my favorite of these right now). I’m hoping that the finished product will be a slightly dryer, lower gravity version of the American stouts I like so much.
Just about every stout uses a pale malt for its base and roasted barley that gives it its characteristic color and rich flavor. In addition to these grains, I decided to use Caramel 60 malt to add some caramel and nutty flavors, black malt for color and burned bitterness, and flaked barley for body and head retention. Typical dry stouts only use a single bittering hop addition, but I wanted to have some hop flavor and aroma in addition to the bittering hops. I decided to use the hops in Big Bear Black Stout: Centennial for bittering and Cascade for flavor. Hopefully these will give the beer a decidedly West Coast flavor profile.
Once I decided on ingredients and ratios, the only thing that remained was choosing a name. I thought naming it after my dog Finnegan was apropos: his pedigree is English, but he is pure Californian mutt. So Finnegan Stout it is. Here is the recipe for my 5.5 gallon batch:
- 8 lb pale malt
- 1 lb Caramel 60
- 0.5 lb flaked barley
- 0.5 lb roasted barley
- 0.5 lb black malt
- 1 oz Centennial (10% AA) 60 minutes
- 1 oz Cascade (6% AA) 15 minutes
- London Ale III (Wyeast 1318)
I performed a single temperature infusion at 152 F for 60 minutes, followed by a batch sparge at 165 F, for a total of 6.5 gallons in the brew pot at a gravity of 1.040. After the hour-long boil, I had around 5.5 gallons of wort at a gravity of 1.045. So my extraction hit my targets assuming 70% efficiency! I am expecting a final gravity of around 1.010 for a final ABV of about 4.5% and a bitterness of 40 IBU. I’m planning on letting the stout ferment in the primary for three weeks, then straight into the bottle. It should be ready to drink just in time for winter break.
Update On Friday, I bottled the batch of Finnegan Stout. It yielded 49 bottles. I measured a final gravity of 1.011, corresponding to an ABV of 4.4%. I snuck a bit of a taste, and though tepid and flat, I thought it tasted pretty promising. It actually smelled a lot like Rogue’s Chocolate Stout. If it ends up to be anything like that, I will be very pleased.