Recipe Feedback - simple stout

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Lampy

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I have only made one batch of beer (isn't yet carbonated so IDK if it is good or not) and I kept it super simple - just DME and one addition of hop pellets. Looking for some feedback on this recipe because I want to use ingredients that I don't have experience with.

1.5 gallon batch

Grain/Fermentables:
1.5 lbs Breiss Sparkling Amber DME
4 oz 350L American Chocolate Malt
4 oz 10L American Caramel Malt
4 oz rolled oats

Hops:
0.5 oz Kent Golding pellets (might sub in Target, Fuggle, or Challenger)

Yeast: US-05

I want to boil only 0.75 gal then add cold clean water at the end to help chill/reach volume. My understanding is that I need to steep the grains first in hot water (150-160 F) then remove them and boil the hops (45-60 min) and add the DME in the last few minutes of the boil. Anything weird about the quantity of ingredients I laid out or the procedure?

Edit: Recommendations on using brown sugar as a fermentable?
 

easttex

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Don't use sugar of any kind unless you're trying to dry the beer out. Sugar tends to ferment out without leaving much character behind.

Most extract brewers typically steep their grains for 30 minutes, add the DME at the start of the boil, and boil for however long the recipe calls for. The exception being that if you want the lightest beer color - then you'd add some of the DME at the start of the boil and rest of it a few minutes before the end to sanitize it. Since you want a dark beer, boil all the DME the whole boil.

As to the recipe, you'll make dark beer with that recipe but I'm not 100% sure it'll be a stout. It may end up as a brown ale but it'll likely be drinkable whatever you get. If I was at home, I'd plug it into Beersmith to see how it rolls up but I'm on my lunch break.

Lastly, you may want to toast the oats in the oven to get a little more flavor out if them. My wife likes to toast them until they get a little color on them, then steep them. Not required you can if you want to tinker with them a little bit.
 
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Looking for some feedback on this recipe because I want to use ingredients that I don't have experience with.

1.5 gallon batch

Grain/Fermentables:
1.5 lbs Breiss Sparkling Amber DME
4 oz 350L American Chocolate Malt
4 oz 10L American Caramel Malt
4 oz rolled oats

Hops:
0.5 oz Kent Golding pellets (might sub in Target, Fuggle, or Challenger)

Yeast: US-05
1.5 lb DME in 1.5 gal is roughly OG 45. FG of 10 (US-05 at 80% attenuation). ABV roughly 4.75% (via Brewers Friend ABV calculator). Note that I ignored SG contribution by the specialty malts.

Oats and OG suggest Oatmeal Stout as a style.

Hops and yeast look OK.

For the malts:
  • Amber DME and Chocolate malt will make a reasonable base. Depending the brand, Amber DME may bring along some caramel flavors (like a Crystal 60L).
  • I would drop the Caramel 10L. It has purpose, but the other ingredients will likely hide that purpose.
  • Rolled oats probably should to be mashed (link) for 'best' results (steeping will leave some extra starches behind, whether or not this is a problem is up to you). There are 'crystal' oat malts (for examples see link) that do not need to be mashed.
  • A black malt may be needed to darken the color. A de-bittered or de-husked black malt will add color without additional 'harshness' that some people don't like.
Edit: Recommendations on using brown sugar as a fermentable?
Brown sugar is often table sugar with molasses added. If you use it, you may get some molasses flavorings.

Sugar is generally 100% fermentable. It is a common ingredient in higher ABV Beers ('Belgian' styles, double IPAs) where the goals are a higher ABV with a lower FG.

For the first attempt on this recipe, I would not use sugar.

My understanding is that I need to steep the grains first in hot water (150-160 F) then remove them and boil the hops (45-60 min)
There are two primary approaches to steeping.
  1. heat the water to 150F, add the grains, steep for 20 min, remove the grains, then heat to boil
  2. add the grains at from 'flame-on', remove grains when the water reaches 160F (or after 20 min)
IMO, both work about the same. The 2nd option saves time.

I want to boil only 0.75 gal then add cold clean water at the end to help chill/reach volume. [...] add the DME in the last few minutes of the boil.
This approach will work.

Personally, I do not like adding DME into a boiling kettle. I'll offer an alternative approach in a followup post.
 
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I want to boil only 0.75 gal then add cold clean water at the end to help chill/reach volume. [...] add the DME in the last few minutes of the boil.
With DME/LME, one can do a partial boil (1/2 the water, 1/2 the fermentables) with late boil additions of the remaining water and fermentables. This process is documented well in chapter 1 of How to Brew, 4e (2017).

There are a number of variations on this process. One worth looking into can be found in I Brewed A Favorite Recipe Today (link) here at HomeBrewTalk - making a slurry in a side pot with the DME and some of the water is a solid technique to avoid those DME clumps that can occur when adding DME over a boiling kettle. +1 to @D.B.Moody for starting that topic and posting his recipes and processes.

With the additional goal of using chilled top off water, I would consider the following approach.
  1. start with 1/2 the water, steep from 'flame-on' to 160F
  2. add the 1/2 the DME [ (1] [2] ), heat to boil
  3. 30 minute boil
  4. add remaining DME in last 5 min of boil [3]
  5. after flame-out, add chilled water [4]
---------------------------------------------------------------​
[1]: no need for a slurry here as there is no steam over the kettle.​
[2]: with larger batches, heating wort from 160F to a boil can take longer than heating just water.​
[3]: If you make a slurry, do not use chilled water. I find that DME doesn't dissolve well in 60F water. I typically dissolve it in 140F-ish water.​
[4]: hot wort will melt plastic fermenters.​
 

D.B.Moody

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I think a stout ought to have roasted barley in it. Two oz. would probably do.
Unless you just want to try it, I'd drop the oats. I will admit that the toasting @easttex suggested sounds interesting.
I agree with @BrewnWKopperKat that the 10L crystal is useless and you should probably add some black malt. 2 oz. ought to do it.
If you're curious, go to I Brewed A Favorite Recipe Today (link) and look at post #87, an extract stout I brewed recently. I was very happy with the results.
 
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Lampy

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Thanks for all this feedback! I have decided that I will use the following:

1.5 gallon batch

2.5 lbs Breiss Sparkling Amber DME
4 oz 350L medium American chocolate malt
4 oz 470L dark British roasted barley
2 oz 500L American black malt
3 oz toasted rolled oats

I bought 1 oz Kent Golding pellets AA 5.6 which I will boil 30 minutes in 1 gallon based on the IBU calculator at BrewersFriend
 

Hoochin'Hank

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(disclaimer: my very first batch is STILL bottle conditioning for a few more days, so I'm no expert, but the amounts of your dark malts seems pretty high)

Just checked DB's link, found the recipe for #87...

5 gallon batch (starts with 5.5 gal water!)​
6 lbs. Munton's dark DME​
1/3 lb. roasted barley​
1/3 lb black malt,​
3/4 lb 42-28L crystal malt​
2 Tbsp. gypsum​
3 oz. East kent Goldings alpha 4.4 (BOIL) 14.5 HBU adjusted​
1/2 oz. East Kent Goldings (FLAVOR)​
1 S33 ale yeast​

You should scale the recipe -- 1.5 gallons vs 5 gallons has 0.3 ratio (1.5 / 5.0)
DB is using 1/3 lb (or 5.33 oz) of each dark malt. If you wanted to base your recipe on his, I think you should scale your recipe accordingly -- 5.33 * 0.3 comes pretty close to 1.5 oz for your smaller batch.

*edited for correct batch size*
 
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D.B.Moody

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Thanks for all this feedback! I have decided that I will use the following:

1.5 gallon batch

2.5 lbs Breiss Sparkling Amber DME
4 oz 350L medium American chocolate malt
4 oz 470L dark British roasted barley
2 oz 500L American black malt
3 oz toasted rolled oats

I bought 1 oz Kent Golding pellets AA 5.6 which I will boil 30 minutes in 1 gallon based on the IBU calculator at BrewersFriend
Good for you. Making these decisions is part of the fun of home brewing. How or why did you decide to up the amount of DME to 2.5? That's going to be a heavy beer.
(disclaimer: my very first batch is STILL bottle conditioning for a few more days, so I'm no expert, but the amounts of your dark malts seems pretty high)

Just checked DB's link, found the recipe for #87...

5 1/2 gal. water​
6 lbs. Munton's dark DME​
1/3 lb. roasted barley​
1/3 lb black malt,​
3/4 lb 42-28L crystal malt​
My recipie actually is for 5 gallons. I top to 5 gallons at the end, but I start with 5 1/2 gallons of water to allow for some loss to steeping and boil off. With only a 30 minute boil I actually have little boils off, and I always have water left over.
Also, I noticed that my crystal malt has a typo in my post. It's supposed to be 42-48L.
Your approach was how I came up with my suggestion of 2 oz. for roasted barley and black malt.
 
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Lampy

Lampy

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Looking for some more sage words...
OG 1.080 to FG 1.025
FG seemed high but I looked up the style and other recipes and this actually didn't seem too bad, so I bottled it up.
But when I tasted some the other day it was quite sweet.
Is this just to be expected because of the high FG or will it mellow out with time?
 
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Lampy

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@Lampy : what was the actual recipe (including yeast strain?)
1.5 gallon batch

2.5 lbs Breiss Sparkling Amber DME
4 oz 350L medium American chocolate malt
4 oz 470L dark British roasted barley
2 oz 500L American black malt
3 oz toasted rolled oats

Steeped grains at about 155 F in one gallon of water for 30 min.
Added DME.
1 oz Kent Golding pellets AA 5.6 boiled 30 minutes.
Added chilled 0.5 gallon water, then cooled wort to room temp, repitched US05 from prior amber ale.
 
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13 oz of steeping grains (~20% of grain bill) in a 1.5 gal batch may be a factor.

eta:
  • next time, a fast/forced ferment test could be used to confirm the actual attenuation the yeast is capable for this specific recipe
  • I've brewed a bunch with US-05 and Briess pilsen, golden light, pale, and amber DMEs. With regard to attenuation (up to OG 75-ish), attenuation is pretty much the same (80-ish %, not 68%).
 
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tracer bullet

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Is this just to be expected because of the high FG or will it mellow out with time?
Could be a few things... higher OG's do tend to be sweeter. Considerations for next time could be:

Higher attenuating yeast - "drier"
Lower gravity to start with
More hops or higher AA hops
Sub Amber for Light / Pale DME

I'd guess an oz. of 5.6% for an hour in a 1.5 gallon beer, even at 1.080, should be pretty decent. You didn't miss it by a mile at all, but might just prefer a little more.
 

D.B.Moody

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I think the fairly high amount of chocolate malt and the amber DME added a fair amount of residual sweetness. I think the bittering was on the low side. Maybe another 1/4 oz. for the full boil and also adding a 1/4 oz. flavor addition would cut that. Adding maybe 1/2 to a full tsp. of gypsum might be beneficial too, but that may just be me.
 
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Kickass

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amber DME added a fair amount of residual sweetness.
My technique to avoid this is to start with the palest DME then build color and flavor with specialty grains. I’ve never liked amber or dark extract, especially liquid extract.
 
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FWIW, I find that Amber DME is a good 'base malt' ;) for red beers (American Ambers, Red IPAs, ...). No need for additional crystal malts, maybe a little roasted malt for flavor, maybe some black malt for a color adjustment.

A recent recipe grain bill: 2.5 gal batch; OG 62; FG 13 (BRY-97); SRM 15
1663263570182.png
(The roasted malts are just 3% of the grain bill)​

It's certainly easier to create a extract-based stout recipe using a light DME and steeping grains. OTOH, if one were to assume that Amber DME contains around 5% crystal 60 (caramel flavors), one could also construct a stout recipe using it. Not sure about "dark" DME: grain bill percentages are available for some brands - and to me those percentages do no appear to be compatible with all-grain stout grain bills.
 
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