Stout Success!

Howdy folks,

I have had a very successful brewing start to 2018. I decided to try my hand at an all-grain stout recipe, and now, having finally tasted it, I can truly say that I have brewed a cracking beer! This recipe was a milk and chocolate stout, with a long and complicated grain bill including oats, brown malt, and cara wheat grains. I found it interesting how stouts and porters are truly an expression of the grain profile involved, and the hops take more of a back seat- something which is unusual in today’s day and age of hoppy craft brews.

For the first time I also decided to use my local tap water for the entirety of the brewing liquor. Having ordered a lab test of it late last year, I was confident that it was good enough to brew, and for this batch the only alteration to the liquor was the use of a single Campden tablet to eliminate the chlorine. For the next batches I am planning to use dry mineral salts to alter the composition of the water to better suit the style of beer which I will be brewing, but more on that later…

I am pleased to announce that the stout turned out delicious! I have even received a comment saying that it is better than some of the stouts available commercially- which to a home brewer is one of the highest compliments. The lactose sweetness really comes out, as well as aromas of chocolate and coffee. The level of carbonation is quite low, which I feel compliments the beer perfectly. To finish it all off it has a lovely off-white head which looks really appealing in my opinion.

For the label I have decided to remove the side panel and go with a more graphic approach. The space man was really due to the dark nature of space, much like a stout, and the fact that I loved the illustration as soon as I came across it. Without further ado, here is the final version of the label:

I called the brew “Milky Nibs” as I used cacao nibs as an adjunct during the fermentation, and of course as the brew contains lactose sugar milk had to be involved in the title somehow. Overall I feel the design is quite striking, hopefully the drinkers of my beer will agree! At 4.5% it is also dangerously sessionable, and I for one will be drinking a few of these bad boys in the coming weeks.

I have just finished another brew day, so keep an eye on the blog for the write up of that coming sometime next week.


Anyone for a stout?


Just thought I would post a quick update on my recent beer-exploration, and its all about dark beers! The porter, named after the profession who would enjoy a glass of the refreshing beverage in between work, is a truly smooth and refreshing beverage. I have been getting my hands on several varieties of these beauties, having gotten hooked on the dark stuff from my recent visit to The Porterhouse on Maiden Lane in Covent Garden. If you have never been to this place, I would seriously recommend a visit. It’s a lovely Irish Bar, but not what you would expect from one. Completely classy and beautifully finished, with a huge selection of Irish brews on tap, including some world class porters, which lend their name to the establishment. If you are looking for a quiet place to have a nice drink and some food, this is definitely not for you. The Porterhouse is a very lively bar and gets absolutely packed almost every day after work, so it is definitely a place to grab a couple of quick drinks and sample some porters, rather than somewhere to settle in for the night. They have live music and usually some sort of sport on the TV, so needless to say it is my kind of place…

Unpaid endorsement aside, I have been really enjoying my porters and stouts, and am considering brewing up a batch of the dark beer myself. It would be great to enjoy a tasty home made stout, perfectly chilled, in the summer heat (fingers crossed the UK will see some sunshine this summer). However for ease of refrigeration and storage I may make my first batch of stout the first batch I bottle rather than keg. I am getting slightly concerned over drinking the sheer quantity of beer I am planning to brew, although I suppose that’s nothing a small gathering of friends cannot remedy on a couple of sunny afternoons in the garden.

How do you feel about dark beers? Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts, or a tasty recipe for one if you are willing to share!

Until next time.