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Stout recipe suggestions

I have been home brewing for a little under a year and I am about to start my first all grain batch and wanted to see if anyone had suggestions for the grain bill, water chemistry etc. I am doing a chocolate cherry stout. Firstly the water here in Tacoma WA is pretty soft and low in alkalinity. The water quality report is as follows:
Calcium 4.7 Magnesium 0.1 Sodium 4.7 Chloride 1.4 Sulfate 2.8 Alkalinity 20.5

Here is the recipe I have so far:

8.5 lbs Marris Otter
1 lbs Chocolate Malt
1 lbs Crystal 60L
1/2 lbs Roasted Barley
1/4 lbs Black Patent
1/4 lbs Cara-Pils
Mash@ 155

Magnum 1oz @ 60min
Willamette 1oz @5min

Yeast: Edinburgh WLP028 (I always make a yeast starter)

I was planning to use 5oz of cocoa nibs in secondary as well as 4-5 lbs of rainier cherries, but has anyone mashed with cherries as well?
It’s looking like I need to make salt additions as well as try and raise the mash ph a little bit considering the water I have. Although I know that was a yearly report on so ordering a test from Ward labs from my tap water might not be a bad idea. Any help, criticism, suggestions is greatly appreciated. I have been researching water chemistry since yesterday and now my head is spinning.

Looks tasty to me! A couple comments:

Unless you’re going for the sweet stout style, I’d mash lower at 150 F.

Yes, your water is quite soft and clean. All you’ll need for water adjustments is to add like 1 teaspoon of baking soda in the boil. Your mash pH will probably be around 5.1 or something like that which is alright. You could add a tiny bit of baking soda in the mash to bring this up, but if you just add to the boil you’ll be fine too. Without it, your beer is likely to end up on the tart side.

The Rainier cherries won’t do much for you except for tartness unless you use like 3 times as much, and even then… they’ll add very little flavor and a lot of tartness, and they’ll suck up a ton of the beer, reducing your final volume. Better to use Montmorency cherries if you can find them. Rainiers are pretty mild. Best to add them in the secondary. If you mash with them, your pH would be way too low.

That’s about it off the top of my head. Looks like a good recipe.

I’d sub flaked barley for the Crystal to give a little more body. I’d maybe drop the black patent by half as well or you might get a little more bitter/burnt flavor than you would like.

Okay cool thanks guys. I have a couple water chemistry questions though. When I enter everything into ez water it’s telling me I have an estimated mash ph of 5.54, but beersmith is telling me 5.20 and that’s with no additions on either program yet. Also my chloride/sulfate ratio is 0.50 with no additions. I am thinking I may need to add a little Calc.Chloride balance that out since I am making a stout. Should I do anything about the estimated mash ph like add backing soda?

If your chloride and sulfate are under 10ppm it won’t matter what the ratio is, you won’t see much effect from either. I think it takes 50ppm of either of those to start influencing flavor.

Drop the carapils and get at least a pound of flaked barley in there. I think you should keep some crystal and drop some of the chocolate malt. I usually shoot for 10% flaked and 10% dark grain in a stout.

Looks to me like the EZ water program is wrong. Based on experience, if you don’t make any cutbacks on specialty malts, then your pH will certainly be 5.1-5.2 and you should not add any more calcium or other salts. If you were to cut your specialty malts roughly in half, then your pH will be a little higher at 5.4-5.5 and you could add a little calcium chloride, maybe a teaspoon of it, but it’s optional.

Okay I’ll just leave it alone then. Thanks again everyone. I will let you know how it turns out.

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