A Home Brewer’s Personal Journey through His Craft – Part 9
Good Morning Brewers!
Let’s start our day with a nice big pint of coffee. I’ll run on down to Starbucks and pick up some house blend and bring it back and we’ll mix it with some malt and chocolate and…What? You have never heard of chocolate coffee stout? Well, now that you are awake, pay attention.
A few years back Redhook Brewing out of Seattle produced a beer called Double Black Stout. It was amazing. A collaboration with another Seattle based icon, Starbucks, this rich stout was brewed with Starbucks coffee from 1995 to 2000 and I hear it had a limited re-release in 2008. And, I just double checked and see it was brewed again in 2012-2013 but this time using Farm Direct Caffe Vita coffee.
The brewery keeps the ingredients somewhat of a secret with the exception of the Starbucks so I took a SWAG at coming up with my own version based on quaffing several pints of the stuff. I call mine Double Black Hook.
Double Black Hook
- 3 lbs M&F Extra Dark DME
- 3 lbs M&F Wheat DME (55/45)
- 1 1/2 lbs Clark’s raw unfiltered honey
- 1 lb British Chocolate malt
- 1/2 lb American 6-row roasted barley
- 1/2 lb American 90L Crystal malt
- 1/2 lb American 20L Munich malt
- 1/2 lb American Vienna malt
- 1 oz Willamette hop pellets (60 min)
- 1 oz Mt. Hood hop pellets (60 min)
- 6 oz Baker’s unsweetened chocolate (30 min)
- 1/2 tsp Irish Moss (15 min)
- 6 oz Starbuck’s House Blend coffee beans
- 2 pkg EDME yeast (23 g total)
- Priming: ¾ cup DME & ½ cup corn sugar
This is pretty much a good solid stout recipe with the wheat added for just a touch of tart and head retention, the Munich and Vienna to add a little more body and sweetness, and of course the coffee and chocolate are what it is all about. The honey was added to increase the gravity and therefore the ABV. Redhook claims this to be an Imperial Stout but, at 7% ABV, it is a strong stout but I would not call it an Imperial.
Brewing it up
Heat all milled grains in 1 ½ gallons cold water to 158F and hold for 30 minutes. Strain into kettle, sparging with 2 gallons hot water. Due to quantity of grain and size of strainer I had to sparge in several small batches.
Add DME and honey and bring to boil. Add all the hops in a hop bag. At the 30 minute mark, add the six 1 oz cubes of Bakers chocolate. The addition of the chocolate made the wort boil more vigorously and seemed to coat the bits of hops that had escaped the bag and bring them to the surface. Add the Irish Moss at the 45 minute mark. Total 60 minute boil.
During the last 30 minutes of the boil, prepare two 12 cup pots of coffee using 3 oz each of the freshly ground coffee beans. Pour the first pot into the carboy with 2 gallons cold water. After the 60 minute boil has finished, remove the kettle from heat and skim off the chocolate coated hop debris from the top of the wort. Pour the second pot of coffee into the wort and stir. I did not add both pots of coffee directly to wort because the kettle was too full.
Pour the wort into the carboy and top to 5 ½ gallons with more cold water. Pitch re-hydrated yeast when cooled. I did not check the gravity.
I got a very active fermentation, four days in the primary and ten days in the secondary. Settled out very nicely and left a very dark but very clear final product that was thick and creamy, reminding me of a mocha java milkshake. Note the little switcheroo I did with the priming sugars on this one to help increase the head retention. I may have used a little too much coffee and roasted barley because it was a little more bitter than I wanted but still was a very close copy of the Redhook. ABV had to be at least the 7% or more.
Inspiration for the Future
Although I never made this again, it did become the base for one of my best and most original brews, Three Bean Stout, more on that when we get there.
OK, let’s do another stout, another Imperial Stout, how about an Armenian Imperial Stout?
This comes from Charlie Papazian’s The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing; we have been there before. This is pretty much Charlie’s recipe with no changes or substitutions.
Armenian Imperial Stout
- 6.6 lbs M&F Old Ale Kit (hopped LME)
- 3.3 lbs M&F plain light LME
- 1/2 lb black patent malt
- 1/2 lb roasted barley
- 3 tsp. gypsum
- 2 oz Galena hop pellets (60 min)
- 1 oz Cascade hop pellets (2 min)
- 1 tsp. Irish Moss (15 min)
- 2 pkg Whitbread ale yeast (28g total)
- Priming: ¾ cup corn sugar & ¼ cup DME
Note that we are using a hopped LME this time as well as the hop additions in the boil.
Heat milled grains in one gallon cold water treated with gypsum. Remove from heat just as boil commences. Strain into kettle sparging with ½ gallon boiling water. Add LME and return to boil. Add hops and Irish Moss at times indicated for a 60 minute total boil. Pour into fermenter with cold water, topping to five gallons. Pitch re-hydrated yeast when cooled.
Very active vigorous fermentation threatened to blow the lid off the bucket. Had to replace fermentation lock with blow-off hose into a kettle of water. I left it in the primary for six days although it was ready to rack at four days. Then another ten days in the secondary.
It came out very clear and dark and appropriately carbonated. Full bodied, creamy, bittersweet and hoppy, this is one very good stout. Charlie put the ABV at about 8%. His gravity numbers support about 7.5%. The beer had a slight smoky flavor which I can only attribute to something in the Old Ale kits.
We talked at some length back in Part 6 of this epic about wheat or weizenbier. Well, we are going to revisit that now for our next two brews. And, I have to admit, the first of these was my first total failure which I had to dump out. Chronologically, it was my 28th brew and it came from Charlie’s New Complete Joy…The failure had nothing to do with Charlie’s recipe or the substitutions I made. It had to do with my procedure and probably an accidental contamination. Here is the sad tale.
- 6.6 lbs M&F plain 55/45 wheat LME
- 1.4 lbs Alexander’s 60/40 wheat LME
- 1 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (60 min)
- 1/2 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (30 min)
- 1/2 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (5 min)
- 1 pkg Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen liquid yeast
- Priming: ¾ cup corn sugar & ¼ cup DME
Bring two gallons cold water to boil and remove from heat. Add LME and return to boil. Add hops at times indicated for total 60 minute boil. Pour wort into carboy with cold water topping to 5 ½ gallons. Pitch yeast when cooled.
Six days in primary may have been one or two days too long. Activity seemed to increase again in the secondary. After 11 days in the secondary I decided to rack to a tertiary. After seven days in the tertiary I noticed some sort of scum forming on the surface of the beer. Concerned it was mold, I siphoned off a little sample. It smelled a little like wine but did not taste bad. I bottled it the next day, probably should have eight days prior instead of racking to tertiary. I realized the wine smell was actually more of a clove smell which is typical for weizen.
The Scum Returns
After three days in the bottle I noticed the same scum or mold from the tertiary forming in the top of three of the bottles. I opened and dumped all three. It was flat and did not smell right. I gave the rest of the bottles another 21 days to condition and by then they all had the same layer of gunk. They were properly carbonated and did not smell or taste bad. They body of the beer had cleared nicely and the suspicious stuff on top would mix back in with a light swirling of the bottle. But then you could still see bits of it suspended in the beer. Gross! It was just so visually unappealing that I had to dump it all out.
Failure is Not an Option
As I also stated back in part 6, “Failure is Not an Option” so I turned around and just tried another weizenbier. This one I called Honey Weizenbier and it is nearly an identical recipe to the Lovebite. I changed the extracts used, added Irish Moss, and primed with honey. I did not note whether it was LME or DME but did note it was made from 60/40 Wheat/Klages malts. It was probably LME.
- 8 lbs Alexander’s 60/40 Wheat Malt Extract (LME or DME?)
- 1 oz. Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (60 min)
- 1/2 oz. Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (30 min)
- 1/2 oz. Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (15 min)
- 1/4 tsp Irish Moss (15 min)
- 1 pkg. Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen liquid yeast
- Priming: 2/3 cup Orange Blossom honey
I started this one out with a mistake from the beginning; added the extract to 2 gallons of cold water and brought the whole thing to a boil. I should have brought just the water to a boil, removed from heat, stirred in the extract, and returned to boil. But, I did not, what was I thinking? Apparently I was not.
Where There is Smoke…
So, now that I have heavily scorched the extracts on the bottom of the kettle, I could even smell smoke in the first bubbles when it started to boil. Oh well, a little caramelized sugars will add sweetness and body and a smoked hefeweizen is not unheard of.
When the wort comes to boil add hops and Irish Moss at times indicated for a 60 minute total boil. Pour the wort into carboy with cold water and top to 5 ½ gallons with more cold water. Pitch yeast when wort has cooled.
Five days in primary with good strong activity. Nine days in secondary with no sign of suspicious scum or any unusual activity. No need for a tertiary on this one so just bottle using Orange Blossom Honey for priming.
This time it came out quite good. The banana clove esters typical with this style were very subtle and the beer had a crisp, dry, slightly tart finish, probably from the honey priming. The scorching in the kettle did not seem to add any smoke flavor so I dodged a bullet on this one. The carbonation was inconsistent bottle to bottle, some were over-carbed, some were under, but none were completely flat.
Let’s Do Another One
Those were the four brews I wanted to get in this edition but it appears we have time and space for one more.
I actually brewed this one the same day as the Honey Weizenbier. I probably should have already covered this one as it is a remake of the Orange Blossom Amber we discussed back in part 6. It has a few changes and the addition of apricot flavoring. Most home brew shops will carry an assortment of natural fruit extract which can be used to flavor any beer, wine, or liqueur. I was attempting to make a clone of Pyramid Apricot Ale which is now being marketed as Audacious Apricot Ale.
Update: This is now being marketed as Pyramid Apricot Unfiltered Wheat Ale. It is one of the best examples of any kind of fruit beer I have ever tried and has, so far, taken a Gold Medal in the GABF three times. I did not realize at the time that it was a wheat beer so I did not have the correct approach from the start. The Orange Blossom Amber seemed like a good clean palate from which to start and it did come out pretty good.
Apricot Orange Blossom Amber
- 6 lbs Northwestern Amber DME
- 2 cups Orange Blossom Honey
- 13 oz. 20L American 6-row crystal malt
- 3 oz. 40L American 6-row crystal malt
- 2 oz. Hallertau Hersbrucker hop pellets (60 min)
- 1 tsp Irish Moss (15 min)
- 1/2 oz. Fuggle hop pellets (5 min)
- 1 pkg 14g Whitbread Ale yeast
- 4 oz. Apricot natural fruit flavoring at bottling
- Priming: 2/3 cup Orange Blossom Honey
Heat milled grains in 2 gallons cold water removing from heat when boil commences. Strain into kettle sparging with ½ gallon hot water. Add DME and 2 cups honey and return to boil, adding hops and Irish Moss at times indicated for a total 60 minute boil. Add wort to fermenter with cold water as usual and pitch re-hydrated yeast when wort has cooled.
Four days in primary and ten days in secondary, bottle the beer adding the apricot flavoring along with the priming honey.
How Did it Compare?
This was good but the apricot was far too light when compared with the Pyramid. Also it had more hop bitterness which may have been masking the apricot or it could have been bitterness from the flavoring bitself. It had a dry, crisp, tart finish from the honey priming.
Two Years of Brews
OK, that’s five more down with 66 left to go and, coincidentally, that brings us to the end of 1996, two years worth of home brews since I started in December of 1994.
Keep on Brewin’
To be continued…