Homebrew: Olbers' Stout

Submitted by DM on Sun, 08/11/2015 - 17:02

Having had to pour my last beer away, I had no beer in the house & so had to brew one.   Having only a few uninteresting hops, but several new bags of darker malts I thought a stout was due.

Olbers' paradox is roughly "why is the night sky dark when the universe is infinite with an infinite amount of stars - the night sky should be as bright as the day's".

Mash: 1 hour 20 mins starting at 74ºC & falling throughout to 68ºC at the end: so a sweeter, more full bodied beer is expected.

3 Kg pale maltOlbers' Stout bottles

300g dark crystal malt

250g roast barley

150g rauch malt

150g chocolate malt

100g black malt

Boil: 45 mins

30g Target hops added 30 mins before the end

25g Target hops added 20 mins before the end

300g of date molasses

1 litre super strong filter coffee

This made 15 litres of wort with an OG of 1.058 which should give me a beer of around 5.5% alcohol & 70 IBU of bitterness.

US-04 yeast taken from a bottle of Cockermouth Cascade was made into a starter & pitched once the wort had cooled naturally.

The wort held at 16°C for 2 days, then dropped to 14°C, so I insulated the fermentation vessel well.   It held at 14°C for another 2 days then dropped to the temperature of my garage - around 10°C.   When I measured the OG after 7 days it was 1.032.   This implies that there were still plenty of sugars left, but maybe the yeast had been rendered sluggish by the cold temperature.   I bottled most of the beer & left a large air gap above the beer (but squeezed the PET bottles to remove this air before sealing) then left at room temperature to see if the yeast returns to life (zombie yeast!).   As I write this I can hear the odd clunk of a PET bottle inflating with CO2.

5 litres of the beer was left in the FV & 200ml of maple syrup added along with some warm deairated (boiled & cooled) water. It started visibly fermenting within an hour.

Verdict on bottling - a good astringent, burnt & smokey flavour.   Plenty of body, but not overly sweet.

Tasted cold: Burnt taste maybe a touch much. Bold smoke flavour. Jet black in colour with a viscous mouth feel. Less black malt & roast barley if I did this again.

Tasted cool, rather than cold: much better. The burnt malt flavour is less pronounced & the higher temp gave the beer more apparent carbonation, which suits it.

Roast & smoke flavour bold, but not dominant. Big bodied, viscous jet black stout. Dryish. Best beer I've brewed in quite a while. Glad I brewed loads of it.