Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Brew Day: Irish Stout

Just over a year ago, I brewed an Irish Stout and in the writeup outlined some of the difficulties that I've encountered while trying to brew the style. In short, while I feel as if I can make a pretty darn good example of the style - at least to BJCP standards - I have yet to brew an Irish Stout that (perfectly) represents everything I like about this type of beer. That is, a complex and balanced beer with a mix of roast, chocolate, and coffee-type flavor... all rolled up into a silky smooth, dark beer. A tough thing to achieve.

This time around, I'm going to build off the success of my last attempt and keep the recipe pretty much the same. The only main difference being that instead of using malted or flaked wheat, I'll be substituting it for a near equal amount of flaked barley. The hope is that the flaked barley will provide a thicker and silkier mouthfeel than the wheat. For the roasted malt, I will be using a mixture of  roasted barley and chocolate malt. Also, after messing about with different yeasts, I will be going back to my old standby and favorite all around yeast for stouts: Pacman! While I used to use this yeast almost exclusively for my Irish Stouts, availability issues and the lure of experimentation put an end to that. Regardless, I like how this yeast ferments out clean and fast (often with some mildly fruity esters), attenuates well, and lends a pleasant mouthfeel even when the level of attenuation is quite low. Lastly, for hopping, I am going simple and clean, using EKG for just bitterness. Looking forward to getting this beer on tap.

Irish Red Ale
Cramer's Lane : Irish Dry Stout
Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.75
Anticipated OG: 1.042
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 30
Anticipated IBU: 25
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

77.4% - 6.00 lbs. Pale Malt, UK
12.9% - 1.00 lbs. Flaked Barley
6.5%   - 0.50 lbs. Roasted Barley (Muntons)
3.2%   - 0.25 lbs. Chocolate Malt (Fawcett)

1.50 oz. EKG @ 60 min for 25 IBU

Yeast: Wyeast 1764 Pacman
Mash 156F for 60 min
Brewed on 29 July

Notes: Yeast was pitched at 60F (with plenty of pure oxygen) and took off within 12 hours. Fermentation rose to a max of 64F, where it later finished fermenting three days later. Good flocculation. Addittionally, I changed things up with the water profile, toning down the sulfate (35ppm) and keeping the chloride high (75ppm). We'll see if it makes much of a difference.


  1. Stout has been my white whale but I haven't been out to sea for the chase in quite some time. Speaking of time, if Pacman finished within 4 days, how long are you leaving the beer on the yeast? I suspect for me there's a small window of the "true beer" after when the beer is green to when the flavors mature and before they fade. I would suspect you'd be drinking this one pretty quickly.

    1. If the fermentation hasn't been sluggish or abnormal, I'll normally leave the beer on the yeast cake for two+ weeks. Almost never more than three weeks. This stout will most likely get kegged on Tues and if I can make space, it will go on tap for drinking within a week or two.

      Furthermore, regarding peak times, one of the problems of brewing so often and not bottling anything, is that I only have so many kegs (7) and beer doesn't get much of a chance to sit around. Usually a keg goes on tap a week or two after kegging and is kicked a month later. This can make things difficult as 'bad' or 'so-so' beer doesn't get the opportunity to age much. It's either good out of the gate, or it gets dumped.

  2. I dig your blog. I got into the idea of homebrewing sitting at a pub in Galway, for much the same reason as you. I've been pursuing the dry stout of my dreams (as I imagine it *could* be) since and, after six years of brewing, finally got something I was excited about. I started with the standard 70/20/10 mix of pale/flaked barley/roasted barley and have adjusted from there. Since we seem to be of the same mind, I thought I'd share...

    68% two-row, 10% flaked barley, 10% carapils, 4% chocolate 350, 4% carafa 430 (dehusked), 4% roasted barley 500

    Mash at 149-150 and bitter to around 45 IBUs with a clean bittering hop. I fermented with US-05 at 60-62*. If you're using pacman, then you might bump up the mash temp. Not too much though, because I found the low mash helps dry out the finish so that the roasted flavor profile can shine through! I usually avoid carapils, but it just really did the trick for mouthfeel. The carafa helped me get the color and roast I wanted without developing too much of a sour tang. Well, this is what worked for me at least. Good luck in your brewing adventures!


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