Thursday, January 7, 2010

Premium Oatmeal Stout

  • 1 lb. flaked oats
  • 8 oz. roasted barley
  • 12.5 oz. 80° crystal malt
  • 8 oz. chocolate malt
  • 1.5 lbs. amber dry malt extract
  • 6 lbs. traditional dark liquid malt extract
  • 2 oz. American Fuggles hops pellets (bittering)
  • 1 oz. Hallertauer whole hops (aroma)
  • 1 packet Nottingham dry yeast
Unfortunately, I only realized at the last minute that I didn't have any roasted barley! Luckily, I found this page on how to roast your own. It was pretty easy - I took 12 oz. of pearl barley (straight from the grocery store), and spread them out as a single layer on a cookie sheet. I roasted the barley at 450° for 35 minutes, and it ended up with a nice, black color on the outside with a dark brown inside. The end weight was about 9 or 10 ounces, just the right amount for my recipe.

I steeped the grains in 2.5 gallons of water at 150 degrees for 45 minutes, and then sparged them with a half gallon of water. Once I heated it to a boil, I added the malt extract and bittering hops. After 55 minutes of boiling, I added the aroma hops for a final five minutes.

I chilled the wort, and topped it up with distilled water to around 4.5 gallons. The starting gravity was 1.052, or 7 percent potential. This is a very thick, rich wort - probably on account of the oats. It is almost slippery in feel!

After one week, I transferred the beer from the primary to the secondary. The beer had separated out into layers, with a very sludgy layer in the middle in addition to the usual one at the bottom. I wonder if this was some of the unfermentables from the oats. . .next time, I'll probably use a kit. I only transferred about 2.5 gallons, and dumped the rest - it was just too sludgy to deal with! The stuff I transferred tasted just fine (in fact, rather good, like a stout should). . .so, I'm not sure what the deal was.

At this point, the gravity was 1.032, or 4 percent potential. After the transfer into the carboy, fermentation picked right back up at a very vigorous rate. I waited another two weeks, and then bottled. The final gravity was 1.020 (2.5 percent potential), meaning I've got a brew with 4.5 percent alcohol (right about where I want it). I used a little over 1/3 cup corn sugar for carbonation. Because I had to discard so much during the transfer to the secondary, I ended up with but 18 12-oz. bottles in the end. Hence the name, "Premium Oatmeal Stout."

At the time of bottling (February 5, 2010), it's tasting pretty good. A nice toasty flavor and a really beautiful, dark hue. Thus, I'm really looking forward to trying out the carbonated product in a few weeks!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

AAA Bottled

Tonight I bottled the Astro Amber Ale (AAA, or A-Cubed, for short), getting 39 of the 12-oz. bottles and 4 of the pint bottles. Not too bad of a yield! The uncarbonated brew is a nicely mild amber, but I will eagerly await to see how it matures over the next week or two.

The final specific gravity was 1.021, no change from when it was transferred to the secondary. Thus, we have a final alcohol content estimated at 3.8 percent, making it a moderately lightweight amber ale. I must confess that I'm a little surprised by this - perhaps it is a result of using a different brand of yeast?

AAA, all bottled up and ready to carbonate.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Claremont IPA, The Final Verdict

The Claremont India Pale Ale, after bottle conditioning for a few weeks

Tonight I tried a bottle or two of the Claremont IPA that I bottled a few weeks ago. It has conditioned nicely, with a good malty flavor and definite hops flavor. I'm quite pleased with the level of bitterness in the initial taste and aftertaste. Head retention is nice, the brew is well-carbonated, and the color is gorgeous. My only disappointment is that the dry-hopped aroma seems to have gotten lost since bottling; perhaps next time I'll try Cascade or a similar stronger hop. Every batch is an experiment! There will definitely be at least one more IPA before the brewing season is out.