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Small batch experiment

I would like to try to do a 2.5 gallon sweet stout. I am looking to produce something that tastes like a York Peppermint Patty. So far this is what I have:
3 pounds Marris Otter
.5 pounds Flaked Barley
.30 Chocolate
.30 Roasted Barley
.08 Black Malt OR Dark Crystal??

.50 Fuggles for 60 Minutes

.50 Lactose? TIME?
.50 Dark Cocoa Powder?Time?
Mint Leaves How much, Time?

I know a lot of people don’t like sweet beers, nor does my husband, that is why I’m trying to do a small batch for my mother in law and I. Any help would be appreciated.

you may want to make a tea with the leaves and then you can add at bottling until you get the right level of mintiness. the lactose and cocoa can go in with 15 minutes left in the boil.

Looks like a pretty good solid recipe.

I’d add the cocoa in the last 10-15 minutes of the boil. You could also add the lactose there, but I prefer to wait until fermentation is complete before adding lactose, and then I add it at the same time and in the same manner as priming sugar. A half pound for 2.5 gallons will give you a very sweet beer, and is about the limit of how much you would want to use. If you find out that once fermentation is complete, the beer is already sort of sweet, you might want to cut this back to a quarter pound or something instead. Since lactose is not fermentable, it’s safe to put it off to the end and add it with your priming sugar.

I have no experience with mint, but if I were to try it, I would probably cheat and just use mint extract that you get from the grocery store, the same sort where you would buy vanilla or coconut extract or whatever. Then you could drip drip drip it into the final beer at bottling time until it hits the flavor level that you want. With mint leaves, it will be hard to know how much to add and when. I would think if using mint leaves, I’d put a little bit in the end of the boil, and a little bit in again during the last half of fermentation. But I have no idea how much.

Best of luck to you.

I had someone’s mint chocolate porter last year at a brewing contest, it was the winner of the specialty category. I think they used fresh mint and dry-hopped with it. I don’t really see the need for the cocoa, chocolate and/or pale chocolate malt will give you a good flavor. Mash at a high temp and you wouldn’t really need the lactose either.

I now just realized I am out of Flaked Barley…what would be the consequences of using Flaked Oats instead?

Oats add a creaminess and body (unfermentables).

Do you think it would be ok to use the oats instead of the flaked barley?

1+ if you use a little more oats then you could probably decrease or drop the lactose all together.

Instead of the cocoa powder, I’d suggest cocoa nibs (2 ounces) thrown in the secondary two weeks before bottling. I’m basing that off the Chocolate Milk Stout from Northern Brewer which is quite delicious.

Can you find the nibs in the grocery store, do they need to be ground up?

[quote=“murphdog”]Can you find the nibs in the grocery store, do they need to be ground up?[/quote]They need to be roasted if purchased raw and no, they don’t need to be ground.

I ended up brewing this before I had read some of the responses so I will make the recommended changes next time. I ended up having to use .50 lbs of flaked oats instead of the flaked barley, used half a container of Hershey Extra Special Dark cocoa powder with 15 minutes left in the boil as well as 6 mint leaves and some malto dextrine.

That will be two weeks ago tomorrow. I had an OG of 1.058 and I can’t seem to get it below 1.019…Any thoughts? Should I call it done or add some dry yeast?

[quote=“murphdog”] I had an OG of 1.058 and I can’t seem to get it below 1.019…Any thoughts? Should I call it done or add some dry yeast?[/quote]That’s ~68% attenuation, not too bad. I would raise the temperature of the fermenter and swirl it around to get the yeast back in suspension and give it another week. If it doesn’t drop anymore after that I’d call it done, a high FG for this kind of beer isn’t all bad, it will help with the mouthfeel and sweetness.

Thanks. I will give it a try.

That seems reasonable to me for a stout. A look back at my past stouts (extract and AG) and I see they were in the 1.016 to 1.021 range.

Worry not.


Just an update on this batch. It came out quite delicious for someone who enjoys peppermint patties and that was my goal. I will try to use the nibs next time. The only real negative I have found so far is a lack of head retention.

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