Sunday, December 4, 2011

Brew Day: Beamish Stout

Change of plans. The starter I made for the petite saison is taking forever to get going and it will have to wait a bit longer. I'll add some more fermentables today and hopefully it will be ready for pitching sometime tomorrow. I guess this is what happens when you use old yeast - it only cost me a buck so I'm not too surprised. Anyways, I at least had the foresight to make up a proper yeast starter yesterday morning (Pacman) with the intention of brewing on Monday. Anyways, that yeast is pretty much ready to go now, so it looks like I'll be brewing today. And what a wonderful little beer we have to brew - the one and only Beamish stout. Oh, Beamish stout you say... "isn't that the somewhat watery, rather bland, Guinness-like-stuff no longer found in the states?" Well, yes it is. Yet, leaving the "it's better in Ireland" argument aside, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Beamish and the fact that it makes a great session stout is just an added bonus.

Still looking for a historical Beamish recipe
I have been brewing all sorts of Beamish 'clones' for a few years now and this is the recipe that got me the closest to the real thing. In fact, the recipe before the Heineken takeover was pretty simple with pale malt, roasted barley, and a little bit of wheat malt. As I never could find out which maltster they used for their roast, even after many visits to the brewery, I found a mix of dark roast and lighter chocolate will get you a similar malt character. As for yeast and hops, the real stuff uses a mix of UK and Continental hops, although I've always been happy with challenger and EKG. Pacman yeast is a perfect choice as it gives a bit of esters but lets the malt character really shine. WY1056 or WY1335 are also good choices.

Beamish Irish Stout : Dry Stout

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 6.45
Anticipated OG: 1.040
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 35
Anticipated IBU: 30
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

77.5%  - 5.0 lbs. Golden Promise
10.1%  - 0.65 lbs. Roasted Barley (TF) 
7.0%    - 0.45 lbs. Wheat Malt
5.4%    - 0.35 lbs. Chocolate Malt (TF)                                                                                                          
0.5 oz. Challenger @ 60 min for 25 IBU
0.5 oz. EKG @ 15 min for 5 IBU

Yeast: WY1764 Pacman
Mash 152F for 75 min
Brewed on 4 December


  1. Is this still your benchmark recipe for a Beamish clone or have you made any changes recently? I did a very similar recipe although I brewed it to 1.055 and used 10% corn sugar to keep it dry. It was excellent served on nitrogen blend and stout faucet.

    1. I've more or less come to the conclusion that the fermentation character and yeast choice has more to do with how well the beer reminds me of Beamish, more so than one recipe using 7% roast and another 5%. That said, my last Beamish clone brew was pale malt, 10% wheat, 6% roast b, and 3% chocolate. 1.045, 25 ibus. It turned out great! I also served it on nitro.

      So something along this recipe should get you close enough.

    2. I agree with you about yeast choice. It is key with replicating any beer. It's been so long since I've had a real Beamish, thanks to those clowns at Heineken I have a vague idea what i'm after. Do you prefer wheat to flaked barley in a stout or are you just trying to stick with what Beamish acyually used? On that note... In the stout styles book by M. Lewis Beamish only admits to using Pale Malt and Roast Barley at the time the book was written. I am thinking about brewing an Irish style nitro stout using half Munich Type 2 and half Pale malt as the base to try and bring a more malty profile to the lower gravity beer.

    3. In the Scottish and Newcastle ownership days, the recipe was pale (probably some type of lager malt) with wheat and roasted barley. We can safely estimate that the wheat usage was probably over 10% and the roasted barley somewhere around there too. The beer was brewed at high gravity and then diluted down to ~4.2%.

      I've mostly stuck to using wheat as that's what the recipe was when I was living in Cork and I think the wheat malt does have an impact on flavor. I switch between wheat and flaked barley quite often and I sorta prefer the flaked barley, although the difference is subtle.

      As per the munich malt, I've tried Irish Stouts that have been brewed with munich malt for the base malt and they have been very good. Almost like a schwarz in some ways. I say go for it, although just make sure your not using Breiss Munich 20L. Horrible stuff that is.

  2. Nice! Envious for sure.... living in cork.... I need to get out there soon, before Heineken drops Beamish from the local market as well. Did you happen to read the issue of BYO that Jamil Zaina-whatever did a style column on Irish Stout and gave recipes for Guiness, Beamish, and Murphy's? He had them all about the same grain bill if I recall correct. Just different hopping. Same yeast too (Irish Ale)! Shrug I suppose.
    I hear ya on the Breiss Munich 20l... It's a 6 row malt, so totally inappropriate for (Anything Really)! I get Weyermann Munich Type 2 from the local brewery that my mate owns. By the way, what do you think of the Irish Ale strain in stouts generally?

    1. Guinness isn't even brewed as a single beer these days. A base blonde/lager is brewed and their proprietary "concentrate" is added down stream to add color and flavor. That flavor is supposedly made with roasted barley. Similar to Newcastle brown, which is base beer + caramel colorant. Very common process these days for the bigger brewers.

      As for the Irish ale yeast, I've never been much of a fan. Too estery and poor of an attenuator for the dry style. The flavor is pretty bland and non-descript. I prefer pacman, 1056, 1335 is also acceptable.

  3. What do you thing using Wy1469 Yorkshire yeast would impart or detract from this recipe. I have a nice culture going and a good stout is Next on my list.

    Thanks for the feedback in advance.


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