So a while ago I got the mad urge to do a Belgian dry stout and I'd thought I'd share the recipe and ideas I put behind it. Haven't put it in the recipe database as it's more a point of interest and discussion (it's good, but not good enough at first attempt).
So grain bill:
7.2lb Pilsner 74.2%
1.3lb Munich 13.4%
0.3lb Special B 3.1%
0.9lb Flaked Barley 9.3%
I mashed at 150F for around 90min to get the wort nice and fermentable....
Over night I cold steeped in 0.72 gallons of room temp water:
0.6lb Roast Barley
0.6lb Chocolate malt
Although no sugars or anything get converted here this stage was to make sure no bitterness came through from the roasted husks which would conflict with the low FG I was targeting.
Next morning, the cold steeped liquid was thick, black, and had a delicious coffee with slight dark chocolate aroma. mmmm. I added the grains for the last of the batch sparges and the liquid to the last 15min of the boil.
1oz Goldings 5.4% First wort (for more refined bitterness)
1.1oz Goldings 5.4% 90min for majority of bittering
0.4oz Goldings 5.4% Flameout for a little flavour in there.
I used some WPL550 I had harvested. With efficiency being low probably due to effectively diluting the wort from the mash with the cold steep wort I ended up with an OG of 1.054 and a FG of 1.012 (80% attenuation) and somewhere around the 45IBU mark.
Just drinking one now that has been in bottles for a little over a month.
Pour: While pouring the beer it looks 'thinner' than most stouts. A small and creamy looking tan head forms which dissipates quite quickly. It's relatively dark with tan round the edges and at some angles (especially the end of the glass) it's more red. Is it odd to say it looks like a beer that has been 'coloured' dark and not a naturally dark liquid?
Aroma: Some light coffee notes, a bit of earthiness, some alcohol. The coffee/chocolate I was expecting hasn't really come through, I think more cold steeped grain might make it better.
Taste: Again, the flavours aren't very strong, however the light amount of coffee and bitter dark chocolate come through mostly after sitting on the palette for a while and there isn't much in the way of 'upfront' flavour. Some herbal/earthiness from the hops as well. I'm looking for yeast flavours but can't find them? Maybe a little dark berry/fruit flavour in there as well (special B most likely).
Mouthfeel: DRY!!! There is virtually no bitterness detectable but boy does this beer strip all the moisture from your mouth. At 2.2vol CO2 it's a bit flat and the head retention isn't great; maybe swapping the flaked barley for wheat would sort that out. You really feel the dryness in your cheeks and gums.
Was a fun experiment, I feel like this is one of the most 'crafted' brews I've done. I'd say the beer would need some more flavour in future and maybe a different yeast strain (the chimay yeast possibly?)
Man... it's dry. I need to drink some water.