I am wanting to brew the Dry Irish Stout kit, any suggestions on things to add to boil to get a unique flavor, ie making it a coffee stout, oatmeal stout or milk stout. This will only be the 3rd brew for me so any help would be appreciated.
Why not try the base kit as it is first? (It makes a damned fine beer) Then play around with it next time you brew it, making changes based on the first stout. Keep meticulous notes and don’t change more than 1 thing you did last time, that way you can pinpoint if you did something wacky.
Welcome to the hobby/obsession.
I agree with The Fhunt. You’ll do well to try it as-is first. But if you do want to add something to it, half a pound of lactose added at the end of the boil will turn it into a milk stout. Some coffee beans “dry hopped” in the secondary will add some coffee flavor, or some cold steeped ground coffee can be added just before bottling, but coffee is a difficult thing to get the quantity right, and it is very easy to end up overdoing it and spoiling the batch.
For oatmeal, you’ll really need to be doing all-grain or at least a partial mash. Adding it to an extract kit will result in starch clouding up your beer.
+1 to Fhunt’s advice. I know its difficult to reign in the creative juices, but learn to brew a solid base beer first, then riff on it. You are still being creative because you are creating beer!
I agree with all the above. Brew the first time as per the recipe, then you’ll have a baseline to compare subsequent changes to the recipe with. :cheers:
I think one thing that is often overlooked by new brewers is making the kit as is. Often you want to add this and change that. The problem is that you may not have your techniques down and by changing/adding things its hard to pinpoint when something goes wrong.
Often this too is done by experienced brewers. He/she will change multiple things in a recipe and then can’t pinpoint why its not how he/she wants it.
The best advice given to me when I first started was to perfect your techniques and system. THEN you can change things and KNOW WHY it didn’t work.
I have to double agree with what Josh posted above.
My 3rd batch ever was NBs Dark Cherry Stout which I did pretty much as listed. It was great- reminded me of my favorite ‘Lion Stout’. But, I thought I could do better and played around with the recipe- added fresh cherries, added coffee, added cocoa nibs, added lactose, added blackstrap molasses, upped the OG, played around with mash temps, toasted some of the malt-all the usual experimental things newbies like to do. Both subsequent batches were horrible. I had to dump 1/2 of one batch after 6 months, and the other is just barely tolerable.
So, moral of the story- don’t overdo it!!! :cheers:
If you want to brew a milk stout, the sweet stout kit is very good. I’ve brewed it and it’s wonderful.
if you want a coffee stout, the 2nd crack stout is out there.
I would brew the kit as it comes…I’ve brewed it and it’s a very good.
If you feel you HAVE to add something…a couple vanilla beans maybe
You could brew as-is then put one gallon in a separate container and experiment with that. You’ll have the original to compare it to and at worst you’ve only lost one gallon.