Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Screwy's Recipe 63 - Snowy Daze Barley Stout (all grain)

Another brewday was here and I still had a couple of hours to decide what style of beer I would be brewing and to finalize an ingredient list. With the cooler weather here now in the Northeast, and the fact that my pipeline was pretty well stocked with wheat beers and assorted pale ales, I decided to go with one of my perennial favorites a nice Chocolate Barley Stout. I've spent a lot of time brewing this style of beer using DME and steeping grains and have gotten the recipe down to where I can consistently brew a great tasting stout that's ready to drink in 4-6 weeks. Now I was ready to try my hand at designing and brewing an all grain version of the same Chocolate Barley Stout extract recipe, a very flavorful and easy drinking brew coming in at 5.3% ABV.

Screwy's Snowy Daze Stout

A very long time ago, maybe as early as 1720s according to some accounts, the term stout was given to represent a strong beer. Although the meaning of stout has changed over the years that followed because it was often used to describe many different styles of beer. At one point in history you could even order a Stout Pale Ale, as back then the word stout meant strong so if any style beer of the day had what it takes (6.6% ABV or higher) it could also be called a stout. By most accounts the most popular beer of that period was a known as a Stout Porter which really described a dark Porter beer that had a high alcohol content.

Victorian Era Ad For Ale

It wasn't until the 1840s when Guinness decided to rename their 'Extra Superior Porter' to 'Extra Stout' that the name became synonymous with a strong dark beer style. When researching history of Stout beer you'll see that it originated from another dark beer style called a Porter. There were different strength porters too, with the stronger brews being called Stout Porter, and they were served to English dock workers who were also known as porters. The ales houses of the day, or Porter Houses, provided some much needed food and drink to all those hard working dock workers so it comes as no surprise that they served Porter House Steaks too. So there you have it, hungry and thirsty Englishmen known as porters going off at the end of their work day to porter houses to eat porter house steaks and washing them down with stout porter ale.

I drink Guinness now and have for a good number of years and while I like it's dark color and creamy barley taste I wouldn't call it a very strong beer. But a lot of people to this day are under the impression that a stout beer means a very strong beer and in fact there are many stouts brewed today that really do have a high ABV but they don't have to. I think it's because of the history of the word stout itself that people today still think of stout beer as a very strong beer.

East Kent Goldings, 2 Row, Roasted Barley, Chocolate and Crystal Malt Mix
I was pretty excited about brewing this recipe because it was my first try at building an all grain stout ale recipe. I had stumbled across a really informative post on the HomeBrewTalk forum a couple of years ago about building the perfect stout recipes. The poster seemed to know what he was talking about and after reading what he had to say I was able to find other information online that seemed to support his recipe.

In this stout recipe I decided that the only hop influence needed would be for bittering because I wanted to make sure that the full aromas and flavors of the roasted barley would shine through. I chose East Kent Goldings because of their earthy and spicy character and mild aroma and I added half as first wort hops and then added the other half to the boil with 30 minutes remaining. 

Mashing Stout Recipe Grains For 60 Minutes
I preheated my 5 gallon mash tun with 2 gallons of 170F water for about 20 minutes before dumping the water out and replacing it with grains and strike water. The grains were at 68F so I added 14 quarts of 165F strike water to the tun and then stirred in the 11 pounds of grains needed for the recipe. I then topped off the tun with enough 165F water to fill it up to the 4.5 gallon mark. I then adjusted the temperature by adding a little hot or cold water as needed and gave the grains a really good stir to break up any clumps and eliminate any chance of channeling.

First Wort Hopping 3 Ounces Of East Kent Goldings

Big clumps of grain mean less grains are going to come into contact with the mash water, you can actually still have dry grains inside the clumps when mashing. Channeling means the sparge water doesn't come in contact evenly with all the grains to rinse all the converted sugars off of them and into the boil pot. Instead during the lauter water flows from the top of the mash tun straight down to the spigot via the channels and out into your boil pot leaving precious sugars behind and giving you lower conversion rates and weaker wort. These two things in themselves are the easiest things to correct and a brewer's failure to correct them are probably the single biggest reason for all grain batches lower conversion rates, but they are easy to avoid just by stirring the mash really well.

Fly Sparging Stout Wort After A 60 Minute Mash
So far this recipe was just a theory and it really came to life for me when I first unscrewed the cover of the mash tun and got a whiff of the earthy, chocolate and coffee aromas that were quite powerful. The recipe's grain bill uses only 12% dark malts, 9% Crystal malt and the remaining 79% uses 2 Row as the base malt. I was almost a little skeptical on just how much of the roasted grain aromas would come through but after brewing my extract Stouts I was sure this ratio of dark grains to 2 Row wouldn't be a problem.

By this time the entire brew area took on the aroma and smells familiar to anyone who has ever been to a Starbucks or worked in a coffee plant were they roasted imported green coffee beans to a deep dark color. When lautering the hot wort I got a nice warm comforting feeling from the aromas coming off of the mash and wort as the boil pot filled that was perfect on the first cold day of Fall.

Recirculating A Half Gallon Of Freshly Made Wort
Once the wort was running free of bits of grains I drew off my SG sample and put it in the refrigerator to cool down and then spent the next 30 minutes fly sparging and lautering the hot aromatic wort into my 20 quart boil pot. The wort's OG reading came out to 1.056 which was about 3 points lower than qBrew had calculated which to me wasn't too far off the recipe's calculated 1.059.

Original Gravity Reading Of 1.056
I remember being really excited about brewing my first all grain stout recipe, it was something new and challenging and I knew it would come out awesome. The mash had gone well and I took my time with the lauter and fly sparge making sure the strike water temperatures were good and the grain bed kept covered with no less than an inch of strike water the entire time. Now it was on to the next phase which would ultimately take me closer to brewing the perfect stout, the boil. It took my stove about 20 minutes to bring the 160F wort up to a boil. I left the hop sack in the boil pot the entire time and boiled the wort for 30 minutes.
Stout Wort With First Wort Hops And 30 Minute Boil
With my 20 quart boil pot filled to the brim with both wort and hop additions added a nice rolling boil for 30 minutes things started to get interesting. I had been warming and shaking up my two yeast viles and had already sanitized the 2 LBKs I'd be using to ferment this batch. I also had my wort cooler soaking in sanitizer so I was all set for the coldside brewing that was soon to follow. I think of my beer brewing processes in terms hotside and coldside brewing. The hotside includes everything from openning the grainbags to cooling down the wort before pitching yeast. The coldside includes everything after that including the fermentation, conditioning and bottling or kegging of the beer.

Adjusting Yeast Temperature And Consistency Before Pitching

At the start of my brewing session just as I was preparing the mash tun I took the tubes of WLP004 yeast out of the refrigerator and set them in a bowl of OneStep to so they could gradually warm up to pitching temperature. Both tubes had been refrigerated and kept cold at the LHBS and I did the same when I got them home. Over the next several hours as the grains mashed and the wort was lautered and boiled I would give both tubes a shake or two to mix up the yeast cells with the beer inside the tubes. I wanted the yeast to have a nice creamy consistency when I eventually pitched them into my wort. This is a good way to make sure there are no clumps of cells lumped together and that as many yeast cells as possible get emptied from the tubes when pitched.

White Labs WLP004 - Irish Ale Yeast™ Pitched At 70F
I use a wort cooler connected to my sink to cool my wort down to the yeast's pitching temperature. On average the 8 coils of 3/8 inch copper tubing with cold tap water flowing through it can cool the 5 gallons of 210F wort down to 65-70F in as little 20 minutes. The summer months are more challenging than the winter months are for cooling wort because the tap water in summer may only be as cool as 75F. That's when I fill one side of the utility sink with cold water and frozen water bottles and run a vinyl tubing from the cooler's return line directly down the drain of the other sink. That's just one of the many advantages there are when installing a double sink, the extra capacity is easily reconfigurable to meet the needs of many brewing processes.

Size 5.00 gallons: Estimated IBU=37, SRM=37, OG=1.059, FG=1.015, ABV= 5.7%

Click to download this recipe file for qBrew
8.5 pounds US 2 Row
1.0 pound Crystal 20L
0.5 pound Chocolate Malt (British)
1.0 pound Roasted Barley

3 ounces Kent Goldings (U.K.) (pellets)

11g Danstar Windsor Dry Ale Yeast Rehydrate and pitch at 70° F
White Labs WLP004 - Irish Ale Yeast™

Mash at 155° F for 60 minutes.
Boil for 30 minutes.
Aerate, pitch at 70° F and ferment at 68-72° F until final gravity is reached
Raise to 72° F over 2 days then hold for 5 days
Keg at 30 psi for 2-3 days and serve at 36° F
I use Mr. Beer fermentors and they hold around 2.4 gallons of wort but I used all 11g of yeast that's typically packaged for 5 gallon brews.
Infusion Mash: (Soak mash tun in 8 quarts of 170° F water for 20 minutes, preheat and dump it)
Heat 21 quarts of filtered water to 165° F
Pour 14 quarts of 165° F water into mash tun
Mix in 11.0 pounds of crushed grain mix at 68° F
Pour the remaining 165° F water to fill mash tun to 4.50 gallon mark
Stir water and grain mixture and adjust to 155° F and mash for 60 minutes
Fly sparge with 168° F strike water to set mash bed to 168° F
Lauter for 30 minutes adding 19 quarts of sweet wort to 20 quart pot

Full Wort Boil:
Add 1.5 ounces Kent Goldings (U.K.) hops to boil pot when lautering as first wort hops
Add 1.5 ounces Kent Goldings (U.K.) hops with 30 minutes remaining to boil
Add 1/4 tablet WhirlFloc with 9 minutes remaining to boil
Use wort chiller to cool wort to 70° F

Primary Fermentation:
Use autosiphon to prevent excess hop and grain debris from getting into fermenter
Fill the Mr. Beer fermenter with wort to just above the 8.5 quart mark
Aerate wort and pitch rehydrated yeast at 70° F
Ferment to final gravity, raise to 72° F over 2 days and hold for 5 days

Secondary Fermentation:

Keg and force carbonate at 30 psi for 2-3 days at 34°F
Keg with priming sugar, purge with Co2 and naturally carbonate for 7-14 days at 68°F
Bottle or batch prime and carbonate at 68° for 7 to 14 days

After the first 12 hours the fermentation had taken off vigorously. When I looked in on the progress the next morning I was happy to see that a thick healthy layer of krausen had already formed at the top of both fermentors. With minimal lag time this was a good sign that the fermentation was off to a great start. By the next day the fermentation had completely filled the headspace of both fermentors and one of them was beginning to overflow into the the drip tray. Over the course of the fermentation I had to remove and clean the fermentors a couple of times but overall less than a cup or so of beer was actually lost.

12 Hours Later A Thick Healthy Krausen Had Already Formed
With the final gravity reading holding at 1.016 I figured it was time to bottle this stout up, even though the qBrew calculation said the final gravity should finish at 1.015 this reading was close enough for me.The results were in and I liked them. According to my measurements this stout came in at 5.3% ABV with 190 calories per and 22 carbs per 12 ounce bottle. The other good news was the apparent attenuation was also around 70% which for me is just perfect for this style of beer.

Final Gravity Reading Of 1.016
I had cleaned, rinsed and sanitized fifty 12 ounce bottles and my bottling bucket, bottling wand and racking tubing so now I prepared my priming solution. I used StarSan as my sanitizer for the first time, up until now I had only been using OneStep and I have had good results using it all this time. I decided to try StarSan mainly because it was cheaper to buy and faster acting than OneStep which requires a 10 minute soak to be effective. I poured the StarSan solution into my bottle rinser and then gave each bottle 2 or 3 good squirts just to make sure the entire inside surface was coated with sanitizer. Before placing the bottles on the bottle tree to drain I dipped the neck of each bottle into the StarSan solution about an inch to make sure the cap area was covered too.

StarSan, Bottle Rinse And Bottle Tree

I boiled about 5 tablespoons of pure can sugar in a cup of water and stirred it until the sugar was dissolved to prevent scorching or burning the sugar. After cooling the priming solution down to pitching temperature I added it to the bottling bucket along with 2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract and then racked the fermented beer on top so it all mixed together as the bucket filled. Once the bucket was filled I used a large sanitized plastic spoon to gently swirl the beer and sugar solution together to make the mixture more consistent, which in turn would make the carbonation levels between bottles more consistent too. Interestingly enough I found that adding pure vanilla extract to the beer at bottling actually enhances the chocolaty flavors of the Chocolate Malt in the recipe, who would have guessed.

Adding Vanilla Extract At Bottling Enhances Chocolate Flavors
When bottling I first put 50 bottle caps in a small bowl filled with StarSan and then using a bottling wand attached to my bottling bucket I filled each bottle to the very top. After removing the bottling wand the level of beer in each bottle fell about an inch leaving just enough headroom for the carbonating beer inside. When each bottle was filled I placed a bottle cap on them and using my finger to prevent spilling any beer I inverted the bottles 2 times before setting them on the table to be capped after they were all filled. Using a bench capper made capping the bottles quick and easy and in no time at all I had 2 cases of bottles capped and ready for carbonation.

The bottles have been carbonating at 68F for almost two weeks now and this weekend end I plan to put a couple of bottles in the refrigerator for a day or two and them sample them. By this coming weekend the beer will have been brewed 4 weeks ago and should be ready to drink. I like to start sampling my home brewed beer after waiting at least 2 weeks for them to finish naturally carbonating and if they taste great then they'll be gone all the sooner.

Snowy Daze Stout Naturally Carbonated And Delicious
 This stout is definitely one of my favorites of all times, the flavors of the Roasted Barley and Chocolate Malts just come through amazingly clear. Ready to drink in only 4 weeks the mouthfeel is medium bodied with 2.5 volumes of Co2 for carbonation and actually makes drinking a few in a row easy to do. The most striking thing when you lift the glass is the roasted barley malt followed immediately by a definite but not too overpowering hint of chocolate. I can only explain the clarity of these flavors as being so clear because of the amount and type of yeast I pitched and the all grain ingredients used in the recipe. All in all this is now my most prized house beer recipe, a well balanced and not overly sweet or bitter Stout style that continues to get great reviews from everyone who's tried it.

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