Tuesday 20 December 2011

(St)out of this world!

Riding high from finally producing a beer that an independent observer would actually recognize as such, we turned our sights on something more seasonal. It was getting colder outside, so having a stout on tap in the condo seemed appropriate. We decided to go with something fairly straightforward, using mainly two-row malt, rounded out with some cara-pils, roasted barley and flaked oats. For hops we went with Northern Brewer.

Originally we decided to go with Irish Ale yeast; seemed like a good first choice, and I'm a pretty big fan of Guinness. Unfortunately Noble Grape was fresh out, so we went with a London ESB yeast instead. We're still pretty new to this, so aren't familiar with how big a difference the various yeasts can actually make. Thoughts from anyone with more experience?

As this was the first time we'd made a stout, we were amazed at how dark the wort was with what seemed like a small amount of roasted barley. This would definitely be a good time to thank the guys at Noble Grape in Burnside, as they helped us with the recipe. Thank you; if we had gone with our own ideas, it probably would have turned out more like liquid coal.  

Anyway, everything went well on brew day. We did notice that we need to keep a closer eye on the temperature of the water during the lautering process, as it was dropping from the target of 170 degrees F quickly. Good to know for future batches. Also, we tried to limit the lautering process to approximately 45 minutes. We pushed well over an hour on the IPA, and that might have been the cause of the noticeable astringency.

Seeing this makes me want to pour another.

Two weeks in the primary fermenter, followed by a week in secondary and forced carbonation resulted in the first beer we've made that I'm actually proud of. It's roasty, has good body and a moderate hop finish while still being super smooth. For the first time it seemed like guests were actually drinking our beer because they liked it and not just to be polite!

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