Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dry Irish Stout (Home Brew)

My second adventure in home brewing began life as a Dry Irish Stout recipe kit from northernbrewer.com. The recipe included English Roasted Barley, Gold Malt Syrup extract and 2 ounces of Cluster Hops. I went off recipe and added a pound of Briess Gold Light dried malt extract to boost fermenting power and kick up the alcohol content, without changing the color of the beer.

Brew day fell around Thanksgiving. I hoped to have something drinkable ready by Christmas but knew I was pushing it. The recipe called for 1 to 2 weeks of primary fermentation, 2 to 4 of secondary, and of course another 2 or 3 weeks minimum to bottle condition. Primary fermentation for this batch was intense. Fermentation became visibly apparent just hours after I pitched the yeast, and by that evening I was forced to replace the bung and airlock with a blow off hose. By morning the thick krausen had passed all the way up the blow off hose into the bucket of sanitizer at the far end.

Rushing the timeline, I moved the beer into secondary fermentation after just 7 days, and bottled it after 14. I poured my first drink just 4 weeks after brewing. The results, at that time, were less than impressive. My Irish Stout was still pretty rough around the edges, with some off putting flavors up front, and needed more time to mellow.

As of January 8th, however, my Stout is coming into its own. Its a pitch black beer that pours with an impressive almond hued head. Hop flavoring is subdued. This beer is all about the malts which give it a black coffee and roasted nut taste, but also some sweetness. As planned, the alcohol content is quite strong, giving it comforting warmth on these cold January nights.

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