100 Bottles of Beer – Five From the Dark Side – Home Brewing Stout

Home Brewing Stout

A Home Brewer’s Personal Journey through His Craft – Part 39

Reading through the list of beers on my Brew Log, I found five stouts we had not yet addressed in this journey. All five are somewhat unique in their style or build on the previous stout. And, it just makes good sense to discuss all the remaining stouts (for now) on the log in one sitting. So, here we go to The Dark Side… Home Brewing Stout!

Home brewing Stout black pepper
Black Peppercorns

Our first stout makes use of a couple of common spices; black pepper and bay leaf. This probably should have been included in Part 27 – Nuts and Seeds and Weeds. One brew in that posting did use black and green peppercorns. That was also a stout, Pumpernickel Stout.

home brewing stout bay leaf
Bay Leaf

The bay leaf was an idea proposed by a friend, Chef Greg Soukup, who asked if bay leaf was something that would work in a beer. Told him, “I don’t know. It sounds good. I will have to try it.” Thanks, Greg, that was a great idea.

Malabar Bay Stout

  • 9 lb 2-row pale malt
  • 1.75 lb Pilsner malt
  • 1 lb wheat malt
  • .5 lb 120L crystal malt
  • .5 lb chocolate malt
  • .5 lb Belgian black malt
  • ½ tsp Amylase blend
  • 2 oz Brewers Gold homegrown hops (60 min)
  • 1 oz Vanguard hop pellets (15 min)
  • 2 oz Malabar black peppercorns – cracked (15 min)
  • 1 oz Malabar black peppercorns – cracked (secondary)
  • 2 large dried bay leaves (15 min)
  • 1 large dried bay leaf (secondary)
  • 23g (2 pkg) Safbrew S-33 dry yeast
  • Priming: Carbonation drops & peppercorn

Standard Infusion Mash

Heat 4 gallons of water treated with Amylase to 170°F and mash in. Stabilize temperature at 154°-156°F, cover and let mash for 60 minutes. Lauter and sparge with 170°F water and collect 7 gallons of wort.
Bring to boil and boil for 30 minutes before adding hops and spices at times indicated for a total 90-minute boil.
Cool and strain out hop and pepper debris before adding to the fermenter with re-hydrated yeast. OG 1.058

A Fast Start

Activity began in less than an hour and was quite vigorous in 4-5 hours. Exchanged the fermentation lock for a blow-off hose. This is when I realized I forgot the Whirlfloc.

Attaching the blow-off hose was a wise move. The beer had bubbled up and out the hose during the night. However, it did subside just as rapidly as it began.

It was a very fast primary fermentation. Ready to rack to secondary after only two days but didn’t get to it for four days. The brew was still very muddy, no definite pepper flavor, maybe a little bay flavor and mild hop bitterness.

Added another ounce of peppercorns and one bay leaf all in a hop bag. Intermediate gravity: 1.021 for about 5.2% ABV.

A Secondary Fermentation?

The stout had been bubbling very slowly in the secondary for 10 days. Then it suddenly became more active. A solid ½ inch head of foam all across the top. What would have made it kick up like that? I hoped it was not bacterial from the peppercorns or bay leaf.
Fortunately, it settled back down after about 24 hours.

Add 1 Peppercorn in Each Bottle

I let this sit and clear for another 12 days before bottling with carbonation drops and 1 peppercorn in each bottle.
Black Pepper aroma was very nice and the pepper flavor was apparent in the aftertaste, even had a little heat upon exhale. Bay leaf flavor is probably similar enough to hops to not be really apparent.
FG: 1.012 for about 6.4 ABV

This stout was very nicely conditioned after two weeks and was very good. Subtle, but obvious, black pepper flavor with a little heat in the finish. Dark roasted malt flavor and an herbal taste from the hop and bay combination. Excellent brew!

I just realized this stout with black pepper was a nice juxtaposition with the salt used in gose in our previous get together. Salt & Pepper… Ha Ha! Moving on!

home brewing stout cacao nibs
Cacao nibs
home brewing stout cherries
Sour Cherry

Our next stout was an original recipe using malts I had on hand and flavored with cacao nibs and sour cherry syrup. The same sour cherry syrup used in my Sour Cherry Mead, which I had just bottled two weeks previously.

Chocolate Cherry Stout

  • 12 lb 2-row pale malt
  • 8 oz Victory malt
  • 8 oz 120L crystal malt
  • 8 oz Belgian black malt
  • 8 oz chocolate malt
  • 5 oz wheat malt
  • 4 ¾ oz cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp Burton water salts
  • 33.8 fl oz Marco Polo Natural Sour Cherry Juice
  • 2 oz Homegrown Brewers Gold hops (60 min)
  • 1 oz Homegrown Brewers Gold hops (30 min)
  • 1 oz Homegrown Brewers Gold hops (15 min)
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet (15 min)
  • 11 g Lallemand Windsor dry ale yeast
  • Priming: ½ cup corn sugar & ½ cup DME

Another Simple Infusion Mash

Heat 16 quarts water treated with water salts to 170°F. Mash-in, temperature dropped to 155°F, just what I wanted. Let mash for 60 minutes. Mash-out was 154°F. I don’t know why I did not do a 170°F mash-out.
Lauter and sparge with 170°F water collecting 7 gallons of wort. Continued sparging and collected 3 gallons wort in another kettle for a small – which will be our next stout.

Bring wort to a boil and let boil 30 minutes before adding cacao in a hop bag and hops and Whirlfloc at times indicated for a total 90-minute boil. Remove cacao bag and strain out hop debris and cool wort. Pour into fermenter and pitch yeast. I did not rehydrate the yeast but simply poured the wort in on top of it in the carboy. The cherry juice will be added in the secondary.
Some good fermentation activity began in under six hours. OG 1.063

The End of the World Came and Went

stout mayan calendar

December 21, 2012, this was supposed to be the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar, but this brew was still bubbling away very nicely.

Five days after this apocalyptic event, I racked this brew to a secondary with the cherry syrup. Intermediate gravity was 1.020 before adding juice and 1.032 after. This was actually ready to rack after only 2 days, but with Christmas and the Apocalypse, I did not get to it until today.

Flavor was dark and roasted with a bit of chocolate. After adding syrup it was sweet and fruity.

Let the Cherry Juice Ferment

Gave it about 12 days for the sugars in the cherry juice to ferment and it was ready to bottle. FG: 1.019 7.9% ABV
This stout was all roasted bitterness, fruity sweetness, and chocolate goodness.

And Then Something Changed

I was a bit disappointed with the first one I tried. Not bad, but not what I had expected. It had a strange flavor which I believe may have come from the cacao nibs. I had made some cookies with these a while back and they had the same flavor which, at the time, I attributed to using salted butter instead of sweet butter. I now think it may have been some oxidation of the cacao. I decided to let it age a while longer and see what happens, the carbonation was also still low.

Patience Is a Virtue

Much better! With another two or three weeks of aging, the off-flavor was dropping out and the carbonation had significantly improved. Still low, but formed a thin layer of dense foam which persisted to the bottom of the glass. Continued to improve, the off-flavor was much lighter and seemed to be a little more fruity and chocolaty. Had become quite good. Carbonation was very nice.

You Said Something About a Small?

Yes, I did. After collecting the wort for the previous brew, it seemed it was still running dark and rich. So, I just continued sparging and collected another three gallons of wort. We have brewed a small before in Part 17 and Part 33. As a reminder, a small is a beer made from the second runnings of wort from a much bigger beer.

Maple Stout

  • 3 gallons wort from Chocolate Cherry Stout
  • 4 oz chocolate malt
  • 4 oz 120L crystal malt
  • 32 oz Organic Grade B Maple syrup
  • 1½ oz Homegrown Brewers Gold hops (60 min)
  • ¾ oz Homegrown Brewers Gold hops (15 min)
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet (15 min)
  • 11 g Lallemand Windsor dry ale yeast
  • Priming: ½ cup maple syrup

Tastes Like Tea

Although the wort was still dark and rich, it was not very sweet. It tasted more like tea, a lot of tannins from the grain husks.

Add the milled malts in a hop bag to still hot wort and bring to boil.
Remove malts and add Maple syrup
Return to boil and add hops and Whirlfloc at times indicated for a total 60-minute boil.
Strain out hops and cool wort. Pour into fermenter and pitch yeast without rehydrating. OG 1.054

And Another Brew Survives the Apocalypse

stout - apocolypse

Activity began in less than 6 hours and fermented slow and steady through the 21st and another five days until racked to a secondary. Intermediate gravity: 1.011. It had a bit of maple aroma and very dark roasted flavor.
Bottled 12 days later. FG: 1.008 6.2% ABV

Maple Roasted Goodness

maple stout

This stout maintained a low but adequate carbonation level. Dark roasted flavor with a persistent hint of maple in both the aroma and flavor. Good stuff, it was worth the effort to save those last three gallons of wort.

Sowing Some Wild Oats

home brewing stout oatmeal

OK, I guess that does have a different meaning from what is going on here… Our next two brews are Oatmeal Stouts. We made an oatmeal stout way back in Part 8.

Oatmeal Stout

Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout
Big Sky Brewing

This is a clone of Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout from Big Sky Brewing in my home town of Missoula, MT. With a couple of twists of my own of course.

  • 8 lb 2-row pale malt
  • 1 ½ lb C-80
  • 4 oz. black patent malt
  • 6 oz. chocolate mal
  • 4 oz roasted barley
  • 6 oz. flaked oats
  • 2 oz Homegrown Brewers Gold hops (60 min)
  • 1 whirlfloc tablet (15 min)
  • 11g Lallemand Nottingham dry ale yeast
  • Priming: ½ cup corn sugar and ½ cup DME

Standard Brew Procedure

Heat 12 quarts water to 166°F strike temp and mash in all milled grains. Stabilize temp at 155°F and let mash for 60 min.
Lauter and sparge with 170F water and collect 7 gallons of wort.
Bring to boil and let boil for 30 minutes before adding hops and whirlfloc at times indicated for a total 90-minute boil.
Cool wort and pour into the fermenter with yeast already pitched.
OG 1.049, a bit light as the target was 1.055.

My Notes on This One Were Very Thin

Five days in primary
16 days in secondary
FG 1.010 for about 5.4% ABV

Tasting Notes

Very dark brown, not quite black with a roasty bitterness.
Very nice stout, roasty bitterness with the slightest hint of hop.
Chewy mouthfeel. Very Good.

OK, Last Stout

home brewing Chocolate Stout
insightguides.com – Shutterstock

With better notes, I promise. This is a remake of the previous Oatmeal Stout, amped up a bit and adding pure chocolate which I brought back from a vacation to Ecuador.

Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

  • 10 lb 2-row pale malt
  • 2 lb C-120
  • 8 oz black patent malt
  • 8 oz chocolate malt
  • 8 oz roasted barley
  • 8 oz flaked oats
  • 2 oz Homegrown Brewers Gold hops (60 min)
  • .4 oz Homegrown Nugget hops (15 min)
  • .1 oz Homegrown Perle hops (15 min)
  • 8 oz Ecuadorian chocolate (15 min)
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet (15 min)
  • 11g Lallemand Windsor dry ale yeast
  • Priming: ½ cup corn sugar & ½ cup DME

Same Old Mash & Brew

Heat 16 quarts water to 166°F strike temp and mash in all milled grains. Stabilize temp at 155°F and let mash for 60 min.
Increase to 170°F mash out.
Lauter and sparge with 170°F water and collect 7 gallons of wort.
Bring to boil and let boil for 30 minutes before adding hops, chocolate, and Whirlfloc at times indicated for a total 90-minute boil.
Cool wort and pour into the fermenter with rehydrated yeast already pitched. OG 1.061

This fermented out very quickly, less than 48 hours.
Racked to secondary. There was very thick sediment and a chunky layer of what was probably cocoa butter on top. Tasted very chocolaty, I decided to not add any chocolate in the secondary as I had planned.
Intermediate gravity 1.026 for an ABV of about 4.8

21 days in secondary to clear before ready to bottle.
FG 1.026 – No change from intermediate reading, so I left it at 4.8% ABV

Very Excellent

Slightly sweet, has lost the dark chocolate bitterness but still has a nice chocolaty undertone. I think this is gonna be great.

18 days bottle conditioning and this was better than great, I’m proclaimed it Very Excellent.

The carbonation was solid with a nice tight chocolate brown head. Wonderful chocolate aroma and just enough chocolate flavor to make it identifiable but not over-bearing and none of the dark chocolate bitterness. The sessionable 4.8 ABV was just right as well.

Thanks for Visiting the Dark Side

stout dark Side
Come to the Dark Side – We have Stout!

OK, there you have it. A bevy of beautiful beers from the Dark Side.

Until next time, Keep on Brewin’… Home Brewing Stout of course!


I am the HomeBrew Guru… My name is Bob Archibald. Some of you may remember me as the grumpy old man behind the bar at Bristol Brewing (bristolbrewing.com) in Colorado Springs where I had been pouring beer for over 12 years. They finally decided I was getting too old or didn’t have enough tattoos or something and replaced me with younger hipper bartenders. Oh well, it was time I moved on anyway. At least they kept my home brew recipe for the annual Christmas Ale! I have been home brewing since late 1994 and have brewed over 150 beers to date. Although I am not a highly technical brewer (its more of a ZEN thing) and still brew on a stovetop, I have created many different styles of beer and have gotten rave reviews for some of my creations. I have also dabbled with mead and wine to equal degrees of success. My latest endeavor is to try my hand at distilled spirits. I have found the basic stovetop method of brewing to be economical and in no way limiting in the quality and variety of beer which can be produced by the home brewer. I also still bottle condition my brews because I like the flavor of a good bottle conditioned beer. It is also more economical than the expense of kegging and the necessary draft system, just a little more time-consuming. A LITTLE MORE ABOUT MY BACKGROUND I am originally from Montana. I went to high school in the little town of Plains and later to an electronics school in Missoula, which eventually lead to a career in the telecom industry for about 23 years. First with Mountain Bell where I did everything from Operator Services to Central Office Installation to Outside Plant. From there I went to Northern Telecom, better known as Nortel, where I did Central Office Installation, Engineering, Grounding, Fiber Optics, and finally Sales Engineer. The telecom industry had a bit of a melt-down after the events of 9/11 and I found myself looking for work. I tried a couple of customer service jobs and ran my own retail business for 5 years. During that time I picked up the part-time gig with Bristol Brewing and I guess it sort of stuck, for a while anyway. 100 BOTTLES OF BEER I began writing my Home Brew Blog, 100 Bottles of Beer, about 9 years ago. It was hosted on Associated Content and then moved to Yahoo Voices. Both of those venues have shut down and I have now moved to WordPress. I went about two years without writing a new one but, I have now revived it here. The blog chronicles my fermentation adventures from how I got started in home brewing, my very first brew through my 100th brew and beyond. All recipes and instructions are included as well as related brewing history, brewing basics and advanced methods, personal experiences, successes, and failures. The most important thing to remember is… KEEP ON BREWIN’

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