Experiments are good. They are fun. They provide results…of things. Most of what I brew are experiments and I very rarely brew the same beer twice. This is one of those exceptions. This experiment revolves solely with the mash. There are various ways to add dark grains to the mash. The main way is of course adding all the dark grains at the beginning of the mash. Other ways to add the dark grains are adding it after the mash has converted, adding them after fermentation has started, and possibly adding them at bottling. Adding them after you have run the wort off, cold steeping is needed (which I did for my black session IPA). If you want to add it after the mash has converted, but still in the mash, you can add them at the start of the first vorlauf.
The reasons for fucking with the dark grains to begin with is mainly for pH reasons (dark grains lower pH), but also to lessen the harsh ashy and tannic flavors that roasted malts can bring. Even using debittered black malts, sometimes too much roast can be imparted. In some styles that’s ok, but I find the beer needs to age for a while for it to mellow when I mash with the dark grains in it from the beginning.
My first foreign extra stout I mashed with the dark grains in from the beginning, and for this one I added the dark grains after the mash had converted. I really want to see how noticeable it is and if it really makes a difference. For the first one I did not control pH or have a meter, and for this one I had a meter and I was somewhat able to get the pH to what I wanted (albeit, it was after the mash had been going for 30 minutes, so by then it may have been too late anyway).
Experiments for some kind of win?
Here is a video of the brew day just to tickle all senses:
Batch Size: 1 Gallon
Est ABV: 6.6%
Boil Time: 60 Min
2 lbs (63%) – Maris Otter
6.0 oz (11.9%) – Flaked Oats
6.0 oz (11.9%) – Flaked Barley
3.0 oz (6%) – Acid Malt
2 oz (4%) – Carafa III
1.6 oz (3%) – Roasted Barley
75 Min @ 153F
.20 oz East Kent Goldings (5.5% AA) @ 60 Min
.20 oz Amarillo (9% AA) @ 30 Min
.20 oz Amarillo (9% AA) @ 5 Min
Wyeast 1318 London Ale III (Slurry)
Added a little Calcium Chloride to the mash. Got the pH to 5.35. Added the dark grains after the mash had converted. Pre-boil gravity was 1.038. Collected just over 1 gallon post-boil at 1.069. Pitched slurry from the last foreign extra stout.
1/10/17: Nice activity.
1/14/17: Fermentation seems about done.
1/29/17: Gravity at 1.016.
3/7/17 Tasting notes:
There is a tasting video above about this, but for those are too lazy to watch it or have a legit hearing disability, then the notes are as follows:
A bit astringent still, but definitely less than the first one I made. Adding the dark grains after the mash has converted helped with that for sure.
It does have some diacetyl still, but also less than the first one.
Lowering the bitterness on this one I think works a bit better. The first one was at 57 IBUs and that is pushing the black IPA range in my opinion, though the high end of the range is 70 per the BJCP Guidelines.
A better overall attempt than the first one, and more per the style. It would be interesting to save one of these and make some other type of stouts and compare them all in the same tasting, along with the first one.