|Photo courtesy Stone Brewing Co.|
I've been wanting to brew a high alcohol stout—something that will age well. I like the creamy texture of oatmeal stouts. I found my next homebrew when I saw the recipe for Stone's 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout in the The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance.
Stone gave me permission to reprint the full recipes for Stone Old Guardian Barleywine and Stone Smoked Porter, but if you want the recipe for the 12th Anniversary Ale, you'll have to buy or borrow the book.
This beer has a high starting gravity of 1.099. Whenever brewing a beer of this size, a yeast starter is needed. I decided to use the yeast cake from my last homebrew, which happened to be Stone's Levitation Ale.
Jan 7: Brew day! I followed Stone's recipe and instructions, but made two modifications:
- I couldn't find Ahatanum hops, so I substituted Centennial. I also used Simcoe in place of Galena. Since both are bittering hops (used for the full 90 minute boil), I thought these substitutions would be OK. I matched the alpha acid content specified in the recipe.
- I targeted a mash temperature of 152° F instead of the specified 147° F. My first two all-grain attempts were drier than expected due to my coming in below target mash temp. So I decided to go a few degrees higher to compensate. This should also provide a heavier body.
The grain bill called for a whopping 19.5 pounds and a long 90 minute mash. I wasn't sure if the grain and water would fit in my 10 gallon mash tun. Fortunately, it did—with a little room to spare. In the end, the first 35 minutes of the mash was at 158° F. This time I overshot the target because I pre-heated my mash tun. All part of the learning process. By the end of the 90 minute mash, the temp was down to 147° F. This is the first time I used cacao nibs and the boil smelled amazing! My gravity readings were:
- 1st runnings: 1.102
- Sparge: 1.047
- Combined pre-boil wort: 1.072
- Final post-boil OG: 1.091 (target of 1.099)
I racked the pitch black wort onto the a yeast cake (White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale) at 3:45 pm. Just two hours later, I saw fermentation bubbles. I expected a fast start, but I didn't think it would be this fast!
Jan 8: I'm glad I hooked up a blowoff tube, because this thing is bubbling like crazy!
Jan 11: Fermentation activity has slowed down considerably
Feb 5: Checked the gravity and it's down to 1.026 (vs. 1.022 target), so I'll let it ferment longer. I had my first taste. Even warm and uncarbonated, it tastes great!
Feb 18: Checked gravity again and it's down slightly to 1.024. Still tasting great. I'm done waiting and am going to bottle it this weekend!
Feb 20: Bottled 6 gallons to 1.9 volumes of CO2 using 3.4 ounces of dextrose. According to my brew software, here are the expected stats:
- ABV: 8.8%
- IBU: 49
- SRM: 60 SRM
- Calories: 288 per 12 oz.
Mar 5: First carbonated taste! Aroma of roasted malt, coffee, and moderate alcohol. The same elements are in the flavor with the addition of vanilla, dark chocolate, and smoked malt. The smokiness surprised me, but when I looked at the beer reviews on Beer Advocate, many people commented about a similar smokiness. It's medium bodied and has a nice creamy mouth feel. It's currently under carbonated, but a few more weeks in the bottle should resolve that. The alcohol is present in the middle, but it drinks surprisingly well for an 8.8% brew. I'm really happy with how this has turned out and can't wait to see how it evolves! I expect it will be good...
More updates coming soon....
More updates coming soon....