Stout Concoction - The result!

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Basssignal, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Basssignal

    Basssignal Initiate (16) May 5, 2020 England

    I've made a 5 gallon stout using 3.5kg Maris Otter, 1kg porridge oats, 0.5kg chocolate malt, 40g crystal hops. Used a beoir celtic ale yeast. After a few weeks in secondary, I opened a bottle this evening and a very interesting flavour. A nice roasty malty start taste but a very bitter finish / aftertaste. I want a little less bitterness next time so maybe a little less chocolate malt next time? Any suggestions on a perfect recipe and thoughts on using porridge oats instead of roasted barley?
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Or less hops.

    In can't imagine porridge oats tasting anything like roasted barley, unless maybe the oats were roasted. But it's your beer!
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  3. Basssignal

    Basssignal Initiate (16) May 5, 2020 England

    My bad! It should of read porridge oats as substitute for flaked barley not roasted :slight_smile:
  4. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,252) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Oats will give a different mouthfeel than flaked barley, but they'll both increase fullness of body. You're far more likely to find stouts made with oats in that role in the US.

    I second @VikeMan suggestion of using less hops.
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  5. Elvis_on_Bass

    Elvis_on_Bass Initiate (90) Jul 25, 2016 New York

    An option if you think the character that you don't want is coming from the chocolate malt is to cold steep them separate from the main mash, my experience has been positive when I use that process for taking the edge off of roasted malts.

    I'm surprised that you got to "very bitter" with that quantity of crystal hops, but that may be process related. I generally use more than that to achieve balance in this style. What was your starting and ending gravity?

    A perfect stout is whatever you like best, if you have thoughts on what you would want to change that will yield better answers, otherwise you will end up with a perfect stout for someone else. Examples can be a longer lasting finish, more chocolate character, better roasted aroma, etc.
  6. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,911) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Based on the alpha acid content I typically see with crystal hops, I do not thing 40 g of hops is the source of the bitterness problem you are noticing. If anything, this beer seems lightly hopped or under-hopped. The grain ratios look reasonable to me, 70% maris otter, 20 % oats, and 10% chocolate, but the chocolate could be the problem. Different brands may be kilned differently, so it is easy to imagine you prefer the roast character of some chocolate malts to others. If the issue is the roast character, a little crystal malt sweetness might help.
  7. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,252) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Another source of perceived bitterness could be the water you're using, if it is high in sulfate and low in chloride and/or carbonate

    I don't know too much about minerals in water, but I know that high sulfate will lead to a more pronounced bitterness, and that carbonate will negate some of the acridness of highly kilned malts. Chloride just sorta rounds things out. Someone with more knowledge can correct me, but I think that's the nutshell that I bothered to learn.
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,950) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Not bad! You may be a closet water nerd.
  9. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,252) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Just cause I know it, doesn't mean I do anything about it. I don't even filter my water anymore, just hit it with camden and boil it before using. Figure that takes care of any chlorine/chloramines in it. Haven't made enough batches at the new house to notice any trends, but the few I've done have been pretty good so far. Maybe one day, I'll get to that, but I have bigger fish to fry for the time being.
  10. Basssignal

    Basssignal Initiate (16) May 5, 2020 England

    Thanks for the replies fellas. Just given the bottles a couple more weeks of resting at room temperature and just tasted again.

    Well the bitterness remains but I think the comment that "Elvis on bass" made ref cold steeping is definitely what ill try next time. That bitterness I'm tasting I think are tannins / astringent off flavours caused by mashing the dark grain for too long. Next time, i will add the cold steeped dark water 10 mins towards the end of boil.

    So that leads to the next question... For cold steeping, how much chocolate malt should i use in grams vs water qty in a 5gallon batch? In the original recipe I added 500g choc malt into the mash.

    Was also thinking of using bran flakes instead of porridge oats next time... Or maybe a fruit & fibre cereal mix! So many possibilities :slight_smile:
  11. Elvis_on_Bass

    Elvis_on_Bass Initiate (90) Jul 25, 2016 New York

    Was the chocolate what you wanted, or do you think that needs adjusted? In this case roasted flavor intensity. If you liked that amount of the chocolate malt, water is going to be somewhere around 2 L (or quarts if you prefer). You will probably be okay to assume 250 g to liter/quart of water to start. Just make sure to dechlorinate.

    Also, I would recommend not changing too much from batch to batch if this is a recipe you’re trying to perfect. Without a lot of experience, it will be impossible to know what variable did what, or you’ll just have a completely different beer altogether.
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