Monday, September 12, 2011

American/Double Chocolate Oak Vanilla Bourbon Stout

This is recipe for a Double/American Stout. I would say that this style along with Russian Imperial Stouts are by far my favorite. I'm going to call this beer and all subsequent Double/American/Imperial Stouts 'Unconquered' until I've beaten the style.

I wanted a roasted & toasted chocolate stout, with chocolate flavors coming from adjuncts and grains, oak as a subtle layer, vanilla as an accent, and a touch of bourbon. My beer was massively inspired by a fine stout from The Bruery. Their extremely limited brewing of Chocolate Rain expanded my perception of the flavors beer could bring. My perception of the flavor was: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roast, vanilla, and bourbon. I am sure the oaking added to the flavor I perceived as vanilla but I couldn't taste the wood tannins.

(Read more after the break)

I took to the Internet to find out what the best way of achieving the maximum chocolate flavor was. To gain a deep chocolate flavor from grain a even mix of brown and chocolate malt was the popular answer on the forums, with some people commenting that pale chocolate malt had a great chocolate flavor. This made sense to me reading the flavor descriptors

Chocolate Malt: "mild roasted flavor, larger amounts for strong bittersweet chocolate flavor and near black color" - Northern Brewer

Pale Chocolate Malt: "Adds color and a mild chocolate/coffee flavor " Northern Brewer, "Pale chocolate malt has a unique toasted flavor" -

Brown Malt: "Brown malt imparts a smoky flavor. Biscuit and nutty were also mentioned." the brew dudes, and "Imparts a dark roasted flavor and bitterness to beer." Northern Brewer

The adjuncts that provide the characteristic chocolate flavors can include chocolate flavoring, to cocoa nibs, chocolate liqueur, cocoa powder, and even just adding chocolate. I plan to add cocoa powder at flame out. I also plan to add cocoa nibs, bourbon, bourbon vanilla beans, and medium toast french oak cubes to secondary.

Cocoa Powder: I would say it has a dark dry chocolate flavor that is interesting and intensly bitter. This can be added at flame out, with five or so minutes left in the boil, or into the secondary with a bit of alcohol to sanitise.

Cocoa Nibs: "added to a secondary fermentation to provide a distinct and natural chocolate flavor. These pure cacao nibs are intensely flavorful and chocolaty" - Northern Brewer. This particular ingredient has a terrior like vanilla beans, or hops. The nibs sourced from Ghana allegedly have an smooth earthy tone, while nibs sourced from Papua New Guinea are sharp and acidic.

Vanilla is something I could write about all day, like hops it has a particular growing climate and carries the terrior of the region it's grown in. There are also two main types of vanilla beans, Tahitian beans which have a cherry floral sweet vanilla flavor, and traditional bourbon vanilla beans which carry the flavor you are probably familiar with. There are many countries known for their vanilla production including Mexico, Tahiti, Madagascar, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Each one of those places has a unique and interesting flavor, finding the right vanilla for you, and for your beer.

As an example of that Papua New Guinea where Tahitian vanilla (Vanilla Tahitensis) is produced. This bread of bean carries a distinct aroma that can be described as flowery, fruity and anisic with a smooth scent. They are often described as smelling like licorice, cherries, or wine. India is one of the places that produces bourbon vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia). The terrior of this region is a superior sweet and woodsy traditional vanilla flavor. These may or may not work better in some beers than others. For my beer I have selected bourbon vanilla beans sourced from Papua New Guinea. These feature a very traditional vanilla flavor. When the time comes I'll sanitize them in Maker's Mark; alcohol also helps to break down the flavorful compounds in the beans.

Bourbon is something that I know less about, I know that I like makers mark and that it features a smooth consistent flavor because it is a blend of high quality barrels. Most high quality bourbons are sourced from single barrels allowing for some variation from bottle to bottle. I soaked my medium toast french oak cubes in Maker's Mark for 2 weeks before I tossed them into my beer.

The Recipe (2 gallon):
5 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) 52.6 %
1 lbs Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) 10.5 %
1 lbs Brown Malt (65 SRM) 10.5 %
1 lbs Roasted Barley (300 SRM) 10.5 %
12 oz Chocolate Malt (350 SRM) 7.9 %
8 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60 SRM) 5.3 %
4 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120 SRM) 2.6 %
0.5 oz Warrior [15.0 %] - Boil 60.0 min 41.0 IBU
0.5 oz Williamette [5.5 %] - Boil 30.0 min 11.6 IBU
2.0 oz Cocoa Powder (Boil 0.0 mins)
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007)
0.25 oz French Oak Cubes (Secondary 180.0 days)
2.0 oz Cocoa Nibs(secondary) (Secondary 15.0 days)
2.0 Items Vanilla Bean (Secondary 15.0 days)

2 Gallon batch
Est Original Gravity: 1.114 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.019 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 12.8 %
Bitterness: 52.5 IBUs
Est Color: 71.1 SRM

Mash In Add 12.88 qt of water at 158.2 @ 148.0 for  75 min
Drain mash tun, Batch sparge with 1 steps (1.48gal) of 168.0 water

When I went shopping they were out of pale chocolate malt; boo. I evened out the grain with brown and chocolate blended to try to replace the sugars I would have lost by eliminating the addition altogether. I brewed this with Derek shooting for a 2 gallon post boil volume, we undershot a bit and ended up with about a gallon and a half. I mixed the starter into the beer and waited, 12 hours, nothing, 24 hours, not much was happening so I opened the carboy and added more nutrient and shook it violently again. When I returned to it after many days of traveling the krausen had risen and subsided and there was a large brown tinted yeast cake under my beer. I learned that big beers take a bit longer to get going, and that I may have under pitched.

Brewed on June 25th, 2011

8/16/11 Transferred to secondary after three weeks, oak added for 120 to 180 days.

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