While it is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers to drink alcoholic beverages there are studies that say drinking stouts (dark beers) and consuming brewers yeast can increase milk supply. In turn, I set out to brew a tongue in cheek lower gravity stout that my wife and I could enjoy while transitioning to becoming first time parents. One challenge that I faced was incorporating all of the grains that I hoped to use into the beer’s recipe while making sure to not let the target original gravity go over 1.050. As a result the beers color (described below) was affected the most and in the future I’ll have to figure out a different balance of the specialty and base grains. Lastly, my goal for this beer’s flavor was to blend the sharp (sometimes astringent) roasted malt character of an Irish dry stout with the smooth chocolate character of an English oatmeal stout.
Brewed: March 20, 2016
Size: 5.5 US gallons
Boil Time: 50 Minutes*
Brewhouse Efficiency: 81%* (Set to 74%)
Original Gravity: 1.053 (Target 1.050)
Final Gravity: 1.012
Bitterness: 28 IBUs
Mash Temperature: 152F for 70 minutes follow by a 15 minute mash out and fly sparge to collect 7 gallons.
7.5 lbs Maris Otter, Pale Malt (73.2%)
1 lb 4 oz Flaked Oats (12.2%)
8 oz Chocolate Malt 350 SRM (4.9%)
6 oz Black Patent (3.7%)
6 oz Victory Malt – 10L (3.7%)
4 oz Roasted Barley (2.4%)
0.50 oz US Goldings (5.5% AA,9.7 IBUs) @ 35 minutes remaining
1 oz Fuggles (4.1% AA, 8.9 IBUs) @ 20 minutes remaining
1 oz Fantasia (5.1% AA, 6.2 IBUs) @ 10 minutes remaining
1 oz Fantasia (5.1% AA, 3.4 IBUs) @ 5 minutes remaining
Water (added to mash):
6 grams Gypsum
4.5 grams Calcium Carbonate
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale: 1 smack pack in a 1 liter starter
Fermented at 65-67F for 10 days then slowly raised to 70F for a total of 2 weeks of primary fermentation.
* Due to overshooting my target pre-boil gravity I shortened my boil time to 50 minutes. Though despite doing so I still overshot my target original gravity by 3 points and therefore achieved a higher brew-house efficiency than I originally aimed for.
Note: Having been brewed in March these tasting notes are not 100% accurate in terms of how this low gravity (abv) beer turned out). Therefore, I’ll try my best to include anecdotes about how I perceived its characteristics when it was fresher.
Aroma (9/12): Very straight forward for the style with notes of roasted barley, coffee, semisweet chocolate, and a hint of astringency. No off aromas.
Appearance (2/3) : Poured a medium to dark brown with an almost opaque body and light brown (khaki head) that dissipated quickly and left minimal lacing. Light in color for style especially when looked it in day light.
Taste (14/20): At first the roasted malt character was the most dominant flavor. However, after a few sips a fair amount of semi-sweet chocolate (milk chocolate) and caramel (Fantasia hops?) mixed in and were followed by a pleasant hint of astringency (like in many Irish Dry Stouts). As the beer warmed up its age showed more some sips being sweeter (less roasty) and a bit more muted than others. No obvious off flavors.
Mouthfeel (3/5): Smooth and medium bodied, but not as creamy as the oatmeal stout style calls for. Slight astringency lingers, but not as much as other irish stouts. In its merit this beer was/is quite drinkable especially when it was fresher.
Overall (7/10): Other than age this turned out quite good for a (my) first attempt at low gravity (dare I say sessionable) stout. After adding a bit more Calcium Carbonate than I would have liked I was afraid that the roastiness of the darker grains wouldn’t come through, but it did. As eluded to above future iterations will need both a balance of specialty and base grains and boil volume and time which have the ability to create a darker / more stout like color. One that’s not the lower end of the SRM range for the Oatmeal Stout and Irish Dry Stout styles. In addition, more oats and a bit higher mash temperature should help add more heft and creaminess to the beer’s body.