I decided that I’m going to call my first beer recipe “First Out Stout”. I know it is corny, but it’s appropriate, being that it is my first attempt at creating my own beer. The ingredients ended up as follows:
4lb 2-row barley
1/2lb chocolate malt
1/2lb black roasted barley
1/2oz Nugget hops
1/2oz Cascade hops
I ended up leaving out the Crystal malt that I bought. I weighed out the ingredients the night before brew day so that I could work more quickly. The mash temperature started out way too high, around 170 deg F. I dumped some heat by leaving the mash tun open for a few seconds and letting the steam out. This seemed to work well, as the temp dropped to about 155 degrees afterward. However, the water that I added later on was too hot again, and so the second half of the mash process was too hot I’m afraid. The gravity after mash was 1.040 though, so it seems like everything went ok. It took approximately 20 minutes to get the wort up to a boil after the mash for a 4 gallon boil. I wanted to make a note of this because It is a pain to keep checking on the pot trying to keep things from boiling over when the heat break happens. I boil with the lid on at first because my stove isn’t strong enough otherwise. I’m using two burners at once in order to get things rolling initially, and then going back down to one burner once the wort is boiling.
The sparge took 25 minutes, which was way too fast, but I seem to have gotten a decent conversion efficiency though. I calculated it to be 32 according to the formula in John Palmer’s book “How to Brew”. I have no idea what the units are, but anything above 30 is supposed to be pretty good.
I added the Nugget hops at the beginning of the 60 minute boil, and the Cascade hops with five minutes left. The post-boil gravity was 1.045. I pitched with Safbrew S33 yeast. One thing that I learned was that it is much easier to cool the wort down in the bathtub than in the kitchen sink. I used to fill the sink up 3 or 4 times with cold water which got to be quite a chore. Now I fill up the bathtub and let the kettle sit there for a bit while I go do something else. Much better.
Tasting a little bit of the wort before I pitched, it really tastes like an over-the-top stout. Lots of dark coffee notes – a real bite in the finish. I can taste the Cascade hops quite a bit, so hopefully I haven’t gone overboard here. Also, It really looks like the darker roasted malts go a long way with very small amounts.