Sunday, 22 June 2014

dark ale take 2.

Spoiler: it was great.

The key to good and science (and good beer) is repetition. The act of doing an experiment again and again allows you to not only find weaknesses in your thinking and doing that you might not have realised but it allows you to act on those weaknesses and improve and rectify them. This is why I tried to make another porter/stout. This was mainly because the last one had some issues (too sugary sweet/ not mellow and not enjoyable to drink). This is a stout after all; it should be relaxing to drink. Guiness anyone?

I had tried a similar recipe before (details here). The major differences between the two recipes that I planned are: lower original gravity and the addition of flavor elements that would mellow the beer out (oatmeal, coffee, dark chocolate). My thinking was that the worst aspects of the first beer were high OG and lack of complex elements (chocolate etc.). [never though of this but perhaps I shouldn't have used so much crystal].

Coffee was made in caffetiere, 4 squares of chocolate (Dark, tesco, cheap) were melted in the coffee + boiling water. Oatmeal was steeped. 

This beer brewed well. No complaints. The strangeness happened when I took it to secondary (wanted to experiment with using secondary to get beer clear). After 13 days in primary, the FG was 0.99, which gives an attenuation of 115%. There was also floating white specks across the beer.  When I tasted this 'contaminated' batch, it tasted great. Really great. No more strong sweetness. So I took it to secondary and let it go for about 10 days. In the secondary, the white specks gained in number/size during time in secondary. It was more of light smattering of white. This gave me a hint that it was contaminated and not just yeast sediment. This did not happen with my first batch. On both occasions, after primary and secondary, the beer tasted great. So I went ahead and bottled. Was in bottle for around 1 week before I tasted. One bottle was obviously 'overgrown' in that it had large white clumps at the top and lots of gunk at the bottom. Not bottles exploded. So I went ahead and drank it anyway; and it tasted great. Really great again. The beer was also very clear. 

The contamination (lacto?) may have contributed to the low FG and the lack of sweet taste (lactic acid). Either way, it tasted reminiscent of Guinness. It was sweet but dry and ultimately, very drinkable. The contamination could have come from the chocolate or coffee additions or from general beer moving (shaking to oxygenate). I guess I was lucky that this happened in a beer that can handle sour contamination well. Next time I should try and harness the lacto to intentionally modify my dark ale brew. 

Basic Information
Batch Name:choc. oatmeal. coffee. stout
Brewed By:Connor
Style:Oatmeal Stout
Batch Size:4.50 L
Boil Time:60 min
Initial Boil Volume:4.5 L
Mash Method:Extract
Brew Date:5/17/14
My Rating:0/10

Typical Style Characteristics
Style:Oatmeal Stout
O.G.1.048 - 1.065
F.G.1.010 - 1.018
ABV4.2 - 5.9
IBU25 - 40
SRM22 - 40°L

Calculated & Measured Statistics
Calculated O.G.1.049 (75% Efficiency)
Calculated F.G.1.020 (70% Yeast Attenuation)
Measured O.G.1.065 (inf% Actual Efficiency)
Measured F.G.0.990 (115% Actual Attenuation)

Malt Bill
Malt NameWeightPPGSRMType
Light Dry Extract0.50 kg1.0448.00Extract/Adjunct
Oats, Flaked0.10 kg1.0371.00Steeped Grain
Chocolate Malt - 350°L0.08 kg1.028350.00Steeped Grain
Barley, Flaked0.06 kg1.0322.00Steeped Grain
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L0.03 kg1.03460.00Steeped Grain

Mash Rest Profile

Hop Bill
Hop NameTime AddedWeightAA%Type
Northern Brewer (U.K.)30 min12.00 g9.0%Leaf Hop

Yeast Details
Yeast StrandQuantityAttenuationFlocculation
WY1098 Wyeast British Ale374Medium

5/17/14Brew Date

Brix 16.5 means 1.065 OG.
13 days in secondary
6 brix at secondary.9%?Something is off with numbers.

Tastes dry but pleasant. Not very alcoholic. nice to drink.

White scum on top. No smell and tasted nice! Lactobaccilus contamination?

for bottling I added 20g sugar. This was calculated for 1 gallon but I had lost some in transfer to secondary.

1.5 weeks in bottles before tasting.

Lost one bottle (had off-colour sediment and lots of white floating clumps). discarded.

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