Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Winter Black Beerd: Cocoa Bear Stout

Brew day 10/13/12

Kel and I made our way up to Sonora to bottle Cuirve and Hella!, and I brew the next two batches. I thought it would be fun to make one black and one white, both with a wintery flair to carry us through the next couple of months. My plan is to do a riff on the same two recipes in the spring for the summer editions of each.
The black beer is an almost-dry stout with a hearty dose of chocolate and vanilla.
First of all: Besides the obvious distance between a brown porter and an imperial stout, I think that the two styles are essentially overlapping- especially as you wander into the lands of Robust Porters and Milk Stouts (which are both quite sweet and roasty)- to me the distinguishing characteristic between the two is simply (and subtly) the character or the roasted grains. I think of Porters as being nuttier, toastier, and more chocolaty… essentially “browner” than their closely related but more burnt tasting brethren. A porter should focus on balance, richness, and depth, while a good stout should counter any residual sweetness with some aggressive black-and-burnt dryness. Although I don’t find myself seeking them out very often I like both styles, but generally stay away from sweet variations of either. My favorites are usually dry, not too big, nice and roasty Stouts.
Cocoa Bear- (Oatmeal Chocolate Stout): This recipe is an evolution of the recipe for this summer’s Smokey The Poo Bear, with some adjustments made to nudge it over the imaginary tracks from Porter to Stout territory. Malted Golden Naked Oats and base English Optic Malt should provide much of the body and soul for this one, with the same ratios of brown and roasted malts as in SPB, but this time I used Black Patent in place of Chocolate malt to achieve a darker, drier, more ashen type roasted character. I left the smoke out, boosted the percentage of the oats to counter the meaner black grains with a hearty creaminess, and I’m shooting for a much bigger FG this time to keep it from having the assertive booziness that SPB had. Cocoa powder in the boil and vanilla extract at bottling will hopefully add some comforting layers and make for a nice desert beer.
To be honest, I’m a little worried that using Black Patent as the only roasted grain might leave me wanting some more depth in the roasty dept, but I like using certain recipe changes as “case study” opportunities and figured this would be a great way to contrast the contributions of Chocolate Malt (SPB) and Black Patent.
The Recipe (for 4.5 gal):
10lbs Optic Malt-76%
1.5lbs Golden Naked Oats-12%
.75lbs Brown Malt-6%
.75lbs Black Patent-6%
.5oz Zythos Blend @ 60min
.5oz Zythos Bland @ 10min
4oz Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder @ 10min
4oz Vanilla Extract at Bottling

Pitched 1 Packet Danstar Nottingham Dry yeast @ 65F with .5 tab Servomicies. Set to ferment at 66F for 15 days and then up to 75 to clean up.
Used Sonora Tap H2O with .75 g/gal each gypsum and baking soda for dark/ balanced water profile.
Mashed at 156F for 60min. Mash Out at 168F for 10 min.
Batch Sparge
60min boil
Collected 4.5 gal after boil and hop trub removal.

OG: 1.065= 63% efficiency
FG: 1.025= 5.2% ABV 
Calculated SRM: 36
Calculated IBU: Garetz 28, Tinseth 31

10/14- Pitched @ 65F.
10/27- Let temp free-rise to ambient.

11/16- Bottled 4.2gal with 4oz Vanilla Extract and 1 carbonation drop per 22oz bottle **FG is so high I fear that there will be furthur attenuation in the bottles, so I amied for SUPER LOW carbonation. If the high FG is correct and just a product of the cocoa powder, we'll just have a very low carbonation. If not, there should be plenty of room so as not to blow the bottles.** FG: 1.025!?!.

1/25/13- Its been a huge hit over the holidays! Ridiculously chocolaty, and spot on in terms of everything save the need for that it needs more BLACK and maybe a more to-style yeast. Super enjoyable though.

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys, really cool blog! Educational and fun reading. My name's Harper and my partner's is Lauren and we met at the BeerAdvocate tasting last Thursday at BeerRev. I think we decided we lived right down the road from one another.

    If you guys would like to meet up for dinner and/or a beer some time, or just to hang out do get in touch! My e-mail is jharper@eecs.berkeley.edu.