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Stout Critique

Having tried the Tatonka Stout at BJ’s I was determined to brew a coffee like stout. I was advised to cold brew coffee, but I drink way too much coffee as it is, and so I didn’t want to use coffee. I’ve finally been able to drink them now (I ferment and condition for 4 weeks in general, plus I give a week in the fridge), and am a bit disappointed that I missed the mark. It’s not bad at all, but not what I was after. My friend and I feel these are kinda porterish. And I also feel it tastes quite similar to the Cascadian Dark I just made, which is more roasty than I intended.

So I am looking at what I need to change in order to make this more coffee like.

Here’s my 5.8 gal recipe:

5 lbs ultralight LME (FO)
1 lb light DME
1 lb wheat DME
1 lb crystal 60
1/2 lb roasted barley
6 oz chocolate 350*
1/4 lb black patent
1/2 lb carapils
1/4 lb light DME (starter)
1 oz Amarillo (9.2%) @ 60/20 mins
1 oz Cascade (5.9%) @ 5 mins
WLP 001

According to Hopville it should have been ~1.053/1.013, 32* SRM, 62.3 IBU’s, 5.3% ABV. What I observed, though my hydrometer reading technique isn’t proper in that I don’t use my testing tube and turkey baster, but just drop it into the bucket after it’s been sanitized, was ~1.060/1.012.

Why worry about adding light DME at flameout? You’re not trying to keep the color light.

I’d ditch the black patent and use 1/2lb of chocolate, that’ll give you some nice coffee notes. I like the 1/2lb of roast barley, a modest amount that will let the chocolate come through. The crystal might be a little high, unless you are wanting something with some residual sweetness. theres also such a thing as kiln coffee malt, a light brown malt that gives a nice coffee aroma.

Just some thoughts. The recipe looks pretty sound if a bit busy. Like something I’d come up with actually. And I like citrusy hops in dark beers although this is maybe going to clash with the coffee. Maybe a British hop instead in the background.

I got into the habit of adding the LME at the end to keep the color lighter for my other beers, but I must say that I prefer it this way anyway as it doesn’t disrupt my boil, and there is no worry of it caramelizing on the bottom.

Do you think another 2 oz would have made a big enough impact? Or should I up it even more?

I also got into the habit of using a pound of crystal in my beers. I initially figured that the more flavor the better, but I will be backing off to something like 1/2 lb in hoppy beers, and 3/4 lbs in the others. I had settled on crystal 60 as I did want a little sweetness in it, but I can’t say that I notice it.

I can’t say that I’ve heard of kiln coffee malt. I usually buy my grains locally as I can get them in the amounts I need instead of a pound at a time. Does it go by any other names?

I kinda regret having used Amarillo in this beer. It would have been much better in an IPA…

When I brew a coffee stout I add some kilncoffee malt.
It might be worth an online order to get some things your local doesn’t carry. I like my LHBS, but it’s not the biggest and just doesn’t carry some stuff I want.

It could just be that I didn’t notice it. their site has been down for a while as they are working on it so I cannot see what’s available.

Is there another name for it?

I had never heard of kilncoffe malt but NB does sell it … offee.html I will have to try it! Sounds like a nice addition to a stout. 120+°L so it will give some color.

I am wondering why the use of “ultralight” extract in a beer that should be pretty much black? I like mine with more roasted barley than most so debittered black malt can offset some of the astringency. To me it is just a try it and see. It is not very often any goes to waste.

The addition of cold coffee has worked for me better than steeping coffee beans for the same astringency problem. Added to secondary works best. The kiln coffee malt does seem like a good alternative to using real coffee. Love to hear how it turns out if you do.

I use ultralight/pale LME as I’ve always read that it’s best to put your own touches to it than to have an unknown that can’t necessarily be duplicated. If I used dark DME/LME and absolutely loved the way it turned out I’d have to use that extract in order to make it exactly (or close enough to) the same again. I couldn’t use grains to achieve it.

I like the ultralight DME, it ferments dryer than the darker ones.

I just suggested upping the chocolate to compensate for eliminating the black malt. No big deal.


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