Alewright

Forging mighty beers one batch at a time.

Wedding Stout Brew

I finished the brew for the wedding stout last week but I haven’t had the time to write it up until now. At this point I’ve actually already bottled it, but I’ll post pictures from that later.

The entire brew process took me about 3.5 hours this time around, which is pretty good. I’m definitely getting more efficient at this, although my mash efficiency isn’t very good.

I decided to use the peated malt and the alder smoked Munich specialty grains in addition to the black roasted barley to make it a stout.

The final grain bill looks like this:

  • 7lb 2 row malt
  • 0.75lb black roasted barley
  • 0.5lb alder smoked munich
  • 0.5lb peated malt

Mash out

I weighed out the grains and dumped them into my mash tun.

Then I added 3 gallons of strike water at 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

The starting temperature was 146 degrees. The cooler held the temperature pretty well as the temp only dropped 6 degrees over 30 minutes until the second infusion.

I used another 3 gallons of 170 degree water for the second infusion. Final mash temperature after 60 minutes was 148 degrees.

Sparge

I did a simple batch sparge over the course of maybe 30 minutes (short, I know, this is one of the reasons my efficiency is only in the 50% range). The gravity after mash out was 1.044.

I tasted a little bit of the wort after the mash and the black roasted barley wasn’t standing out as much as I hoped. However I held off on adding any more since I really didn’t want to go too overboard for this beer.

Boil

I started out with about 4 gallons of wort in the boil. I added 1/2 ounce of Cascade hops at the start of the boil and 1/2 ounce with 10 minutes to go. I did a 60 minute boil, which left me with about 2.5 gallons at the end with a starting gravity of somewhere around 1.055. I didn’t get a very good reading since the wort was still hot and I dumped it accidentally before I got a chance to take a room temperature reading.

The beer looks pretty dark, which is what I was going for. Not totally black, but then I didn’t put any black patent or anything in there for color. I’m just going for pure taste and I wanted that black barley to stand out (mission accomplished I think).

The wort tasted a little bit too hoppy after the boil. At first I thought I really messed up by using an additional 1/2 ounce at the end of the boil, but then I remembered how the hop character of my last stout really mellowed out during fermentation so I figured I was probably just about righ.

Fermentation

After cooling the wort down in a water bath, I pitched a single packet of Fermentis Safbrew S-33 yeast at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thoughts

I’m definitely getting better at the brew process. I should probably get a little more scientific about planning the recipes and getting better mash efficiencies, but for now grain is relatively cheap compared to the time it takes to do this stuff, so I’m just as happy to use more grain and deal with the efficiency. In terms of the recipes, things have been coming out pretty well just on my creative dead reckoning, so I’ll proabably continue this way until I kind of hit a plateau and I need to break out the spreadsheets in order to take it to the next level.