This is another in a series of articles about homebrewing in the DC area by Carl Weaver of RealHomebrew.com. Want to learn about making your own beer? Keep an eye out for Friday homebrew features.
If you are like me and are a big Guinness fan, you may have toyed with the idea of trying to craft your own black brew. If you have, then good news: stouts are easy! This homebrew recipe is exactly what you are looking for.
Stouts are mostly associated with England and Ireland and are offshoots of Porters. As Porter styles evolved, the thicker and more robust Porters began to be referred to as “Stout Porters.” Eventually, the Stout developed into its own style and gained a devoted following.
In general, Stouts are very dark to black in color and have a roasty flavor. The hop flavor and aroma are minimal, though there are a few style exceptions with a pronounced hop presence such as the Imperial or Russian Stout. Stout styles can range from dry to sweet, relatively low to high alcohol content, vary from light to heavy bodied, and may have a hint of fruity esters.
Stouts, being the spawn of Porters, share many of the same simple techniques and fermenting characteristics. Most Stout styles contain a minimal amount of ingredients, are top-fermented, and have short fermentation periods (10 to 21 days). The largest difference between the Porter and Stout styles is in the characteristics of the dark specialty grains which give the Stout its color and roasty flavor.
The most commercially popular style of Stout is the Dry Stout, or Irish Stout made famous by brewers such as Guinness and Murphy’s. Dry Stouts are light-bodied with low hop presence and low alcohol content (~4% ABV). The black color of the Dry Stout is derived more from the use of specialty grains such as roasted barley, chocolate malt, or black malt rather than the darkness of the base malt.
Try this homebrew recipe for a basic Dry Stout:
- Base Malt: 6.6 lbs of light or amber malt extract
- Specialty Grains:
- 0.5 lbs black malt (cracked)
- 0.5 lbs 60-L Crystal Malt (cracked)
- 0.5 lbs roasted barley (cracked)
- Bittering hops: 2.0 ounces Cascade pellets (60 minutes)
- Finishing hops: 1.0 ounce Fuggles pellets (10 minutes)
- Yeast: 1 pkg freeze dried Ale Yeast
Primary Fermentation: 14 days
Steep the specialty grains in two gallons of 155-degree water for about 20 minutes. Strain and pour the tea into the brew kettle, ensuring none of the husks get into the brew pot. Add one gallon of water to the brew kettle and begin to heat. As the brew kettle is heating, add the 6.6 pounds of base malt extract and stir until dissolved. Once the wort is at a boil, add the 2 ounces of Cascade pellets. Stir regularly. After brewing for 50 minutes, add the 1 ounce of Fuggles pellets for the last 10 minutes of the brew. After 60 minutes total brewing time, remove from heat and pour it into your sanitized fermenter and top up to five gallons with cool spring water. Allow the wort to cool. Once it reaches room temperature, prepare the yeast according to the instructions. Pitch the yeast, allow to ferment for 14 days, then bottle or keg, prime, and enjoy!
For a darker color and a little more malty flavor, try adding 4 to 5 ounces of chocolate malt to the specialty grains.
This post first appeared at RealHomebrew.com.