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Whats makes-or-breaks your stouts?

I am definately a Guiness person. Though what we used to get in Canada 15-20 years ago was the real Irish recipe version. About 10-15 years ago what we get in the draft cans changed to the Guiness Extra Cold recipe they have in Britain.

So my goal is to make Guiness the way it would taste in Dublin. Still smooth. But a much richer flavor profile.

What defines that? Good Pale Ale Malt / 8-10% Roast Barley / 15-20% Flaked Barley.

I’ll usually add a little something else like chocolate malt etc to fill it out.

When I go by that principal I can usually get something I like more than canned Draft Guiness. And usually as good as what I would get on tap.

Still like to keep the ABV down to 4-4.5 so I can drink buckets of the stuff.

While on subject of Guinness, they mash pale grains only and extract roasted grains…

I can’t deny the success that Guinness Dry Stout has. The tartness and roastiness along with the barley graininess, produce a nice flavor. But I reminded myself how good a less acidic stout tastes with a bottle of Sammy Smith Oatmeal Stout the other night. So smooth and rich! And there is little chance that the Yorkshire area has low alkalinity water. The proper alkalinity level makes a better stout flavor in my opinion.

Sure, its not Guinness. But there are other aspects to stout than acidity. Now if you are trying to win a medal in the dry stout category, you had better plan on using low alkalinity water and separately steeping the roast malts. That will add the necessary acidity. For all other stouts…some alkalinity is desirable.

[quote=“Wahoo”]- strive for as much body as possible-- high mash temps and lots of crystal malts

  • Use a high character yeast like London or British Ale
  • Mix dark grains- Roasted Barley, Chocolate, and Black Patent
  • Balance the dark grains carefully… this is really the hardest part and takes some trial and error.[/quote]

I love this advice, airlocksniffer’s and zwiller’s. I can make a good stout. I can’t make a great stout. I need a pH meter. And I need to mash north of 154.

Question for you three, particularly regarding dry stouts, FX stouts, and RI stouts - when mashing that high, do your beers finish dry enough? I understand you want body, but at the expense of fermentability?

I think a pH meter is in my future.

“Honeyyyy, the guys on Northern Brewer said I need a pH meter to make a good stooouuuuut. Going to buy one…k. no. er fine. yes, I’ll sell my 3-iron.”

mhahah. Just kidding. With brewing gear, I’ll make like Tim Meadows on SNL’s “Russell Simmons Def Magic Show” and tell her to “get in the box $#@!ch”

I just use colorphast strips for pH. I’ve never made a straight dry stout but I believe the “dry” part not only comes from lower OG/FG but finely crushed roasted malts that give an astringent (ie-dry) flavor/mouthfeel. I’ve heard that actually blending your roasted malts into powder is a good thing with a true dry stout.

Absent from this thread is the use of flaked barley. Ashton Lewis’ “Stout” style book recommends 20% for the draught irish stout malt bill…

Pietro, a meter is a great tool but I don’t bother with mine these days. We are very fortunate to have other tools like bru’n water which I’ve found to do an excellent job with pH estimation. I would just take your last good stout recipe and dial it in bru’n water to a mash pH of 5.6 with picking lime or baking soda.

It might be passe, but I actually prefer a black and tan over straight pint o’ stout.

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