Friday, January 29, 2016

Black Dreams

I don't make New Year's Resolutions.

I don't join a gym, I don't decide to quit smoking (mainly because I have never smoked anyway), and I don't decide to go on a health kick. I do stop drinking for the month, but that's because 'the holidays' are brutal and I like a rest.

I did though decide that I would make every other brewday this year the same recipe, so that I can get at least one beer that I can brew almost with my eyes closed. I had several options, I could brew a best bitter, but given that Three Notch'd 42 is my recipe and is being brewed again soon there was no immediate need on that front. As I toyed with ideas I realised that I have only ever once brewed a straight up (ish) dry stout. I have brewed plenty of milk, oatmeal, foreign extra, and imperial stouts, but only one dry stout. As a devoted drinker of the black stuff, what better style then to have regularly on tap in the kitchen?


Thus I decided to create a new recipe for the beer rather than just re-brewing the one I had done before, as I wanted to take elements of my favourite stouts to make a unified whole. Strangely for me, I started with the hops. My favourite regularly available stout, and potential cause for outright rebellion and angst should it ever be axed, is Starr Hill's Dark Starr, which is hopped with Perle. Thus my stout will have 33 IBUs worth of Perle added at the beginning of the boil, with no flavour or aroma additions.


I knew the base of my grist would be Golden Promise simply because it is my favourite base malt. Sure, Maris Otter is a nice malt, but I love the mellow sweetness of Golden Promise. Departing a tad from many a stout I'm sure, but I knew that Victory malt would be making an appearance. The first time I used Victory in any great amount was in the trial batch of 42 and the crusty warm toast characteristic beguiled me at first smell, and utterly ensnared at first taste. Stout wouldn't be stout without the dark malts, such as chocolate malt and roast barley, so in they went as well.


The yeast was possibly the easiest bit of the plan, I like using dry yeast, and I like Safale S-04. Done.

The final recipe ended up as follows:
  • 75% Golden Promise malt
  • 11% Victory malt
  • 8.5% Chocolate malt
  • 5.5% Roasted barley
  • 33 IBUs Perle hops for 60 minutes
  • Safale S-04 Yeast
All of that goodness will, if all goes to plan give me a beer like this:
  • OG - 1.047 (12°P)
  • FG - 1.014 (3°P)
  • ABV - 4.3%
  • IBU - 33
  • SRM - 40
With all being well, come the end of February the first keg of Dark Island Stout will replace the keg of ESB currently carbonating in the kegerator, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

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