Scaling up Fremont Brewing's barrel aged Dark Star Oatmeal Stout recipe - increase just base malt or proportional ?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
I want to clone Freemont's Dark Star barrel aged oatmeal stout.


I have a "local supply" of whiskey from which to fortify it. I'll barrel age the whiskey and/or the Dark Star clone that I brew.

Beer&Brewing has posted a recipe for the "Before Dark Star" oatmeal stout here:

The "Before Dark Star" version has an OG of 1.060, an FG of 1.010 and an ABV of 6.1%. I'm thinking I want my Dark Star clone to have an OG of about 1.080-1.090, an FG of 1.015-1.020, for a bit of sweetness and an ABV of about 9%. Thoughts/ opinions/ advice ? I'll be adding 160 proof whiskey, so I'm thinking a bit of sweetness will offset the alcohol heat that the whiskey will add to it.

How would I scale the "Before Dark Star" recipe up to 1.080 - 1.090 ?

1) Scale all the ingredients proportionally ?
2) Just increase the 2 row to get the required OG ?
3) Something else ?

Is there a good article on rules of thumb for scaling up recipes like this ?

Thanks !
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Same principles, just the opposite direction.
Good find ! Thanks for sharing.

But a little light on science.

They dramatically scaled down the base malt but still also scaled down the character malts. I assume that the Before Dark Star recipe yields a full bodied/flavored stout. If I up the ABV via the base malt, do I really need to amp up the character malts as well ?
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
1,462
Reaction score
2,522
Location
St Louis, MO
Which while it will make a similar beer it will not be the same as the recipe you’re attempting to scale up
Same grist ratios, or not, it'll be a different beer. Scaling up ABV isn't the same as scaling up batch volume.

When you increase ABV, you're dealing with different flavor balance (ethanol is sweet), depth of flavor, amount of residual sugars, mouth feel, etc, etc etc. You've got to play with all your dials as if it's a new beer. Largely because it is.
 

lumbergh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
188
Reaction score
212
Fremont is one of my favorite places of all time.
Have you made this before?
I've made a few versions of that recipe minus the licorice and cinnamon. When I made it with US-05 it was my best beer to date although it did need at least 3 months of aging so it didn't taste only of coffee. I have a version with Nottingham yeast that's been aging for 2 months. Going to tap it soon

As far as scaling it up, have you simply tried scaling it in brewing software keeping the percentages the same?
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Have you made this before?
Nope.

I've made a few versions of that recipe minus the licorice and cinnamon.
I'd love to see your recipes. Why did you leave out the licorice and cinnamon ?

When I made it with US-05 it was my best beer to date although it did need at least 3 months of aging so it didn't taste only of coffee.
Understandable. Big beers need time to age those big flavors. Would you change the character malts to lessen the coffee flavor ?

I have a version with Nottingham yeast that's been aging for 2 months. Going to tap it soon.
I'd appreciate tasting notes (and the recipe) when you do. Why Nottingham yeast ?

As far as scaling it up, have you simply tried scaling it in brewing software keeping the percentages the same?
I can do that easily enough. What I'm wondering is if that will result in the most appropriate flavor profile.
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
874
Reaction score
722
Location
Minnesota
I'd like to know if there's a general practice for this as well.

I admit I've brewed an Imperial Stout only 4 times so far. As for scaling up a stout recipe I made in the past, from about 6% to 10-11% ABV, keeping the exact same ratios didn't work for me. Or I should say it didn't give me what I was hoping for (others may have really enjoyed it, don't know).

My iterations have lowered the roasted malts a little in percentage (from like 15% to more like 12%), and similar for the crystal malts as well (less than but approaching 10% down to more like 5%).

I have a feeling everyone's palate is different. But simple scaling took a good recipe and made it a bit over the top on the roasted flavors and the sweetness at the same time, for me anyhow. Became too much of a good thing. It was intense, but not exactly delicious.

That's 1 data point anyhow. Hope it helps.

Definitely agreed with "try it and see". Or try it and taste in this case.
 

lumbergh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
188
Reaction score
212
I left out the cinnamon and licorice as I wanted it to be more like Dark Star than rusty nail.

Version 1 had crystal 60 for the crystal malt and 450L chocolate malt (too dark of chocolate malt which is probably why it tasted like coffee) and US-05 yeast. All other malts as listed. I bottled it. It tasted mostly of coffee for the first 3 months. By month 4 it the coffee taste had gone down a bunch and it was absolutely fantastic.

Version 2 was the same but with Voss Kveik. Bottled as well. It was good except when you tasted the yeast which gave an odd flavor that kind of killed it for me. I wouldn't bottle with that yeast again.

Version 3 (currently aging in the keg for about 2 months)
350L chocolate malt, carafa II special instead of carafa II and Nottingham yeast.
Mt. Hood hops instead of horizon hops. When I transferred to keg, it smelled super chocolate-y. I plan to drink this on Xmas. I'll post tasting notes after that.
I had a pack of Nottingham that I bought for a recipe that I ended up not making, so I used it.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Time for some analysis...

Brewtarget recipe for Oatmeal Stout:
71% Marris Otter
8% flaked oats
6% Briess Victory Malt 28L
4% Crystal Malt 80L
4% Simpson's Black Malt 538-713L
OG 1.050 FG 1.017 Color 37.1

The Pre Dark Star recipe:
64% 2 row
10% Crystal Malt 80L
9% chocolate malt 350L
9% flaked oats
6% roasted barley 300L
2% Carafa II 412L
OG 1.057 Color 51.2

Jamil/Palmer Foreign Extra Stout Page 171 Brewing Classic Styles:
85% Pale Malt (2 row)
5% Black Barley 500L
4% Crystal 40
4% Crystal 80
3% Chocolate Malt 420L
OG 1.071 FG 1.017 Color 39
Recommended yeasts: WLP013 London Ale, Wyeast 1028 London Ale, Danstar Nottingham

Jamil/Palmer Oatmeal Stout Page 169 Brewing Classic Styles:
73% Pale Malt (2 row)
8% flaked oats
6% Chocolate malt 350L
6% Victory malt 25L
4% Black roasted barley 500L
4% Crystal 80
OG 1.055 FG 1.016 Color 35
Yeast WLP002 English Ale, S-04


Gordon Strong Strong Imperial Stout Page 173 Modern Homebrew Recipes:
71% Marris Otter
6% Black Barley 500L
6% Crystal 60
4% Chocolate malt 400L
3% flaked barley
3% black malt 500L
3% Crystal 80L
3% Special B 160L
1% Crystal 120L
OG 1.086 FG 1.022 Color 67
Yeast: Wyeast 1.084 Irish Ale

Not sure what to draw from this.
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
874
Reaction score
722
Location
Minnesota
Not sure what to draw from this.
That there are tons of recipes and even more people with different opinions about how they came out!

I'm not being facetious, I have been in the same boat all too often.

There's a Youtube channel "Mean Brews", he's done a stout and an imperial both. He analyzes previous award winners and makes a recipe based on that. Might be a place to start... If nothing else you'll get some more background info for your own.
 

lumbergh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
188
Reaction score
212
Here's what I found from my first recipe

65% 2 row
8% flaked oats
8% crystal 60
6% roasted barley
8% chocolate 350L
2% carafa II

1.065 /1.012 60 IBU US-05
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Here's what I found from my first recipe

65% 2 row
8% flaked oats
8% crystal 60
6% roasted barley
8% chocolate 350L
2% carafa II

1.065 /1.012 60 IBU US-05
So which malt over contributed to the coffee flavor ? Does the roasted barley do that ?
 

lumbergh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
188
Reaction score
212
I was supposed to use chocolate 350 but got 450 because that's all they had and didn't know any better at the time.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
I was supposed to use chocolate 350 but got 450 because that's all they had and didn't know any better at the time.
So that is where the extra coffee flavor comes from ? I don't want too much coffee. I want lots of chocolate flavor.

I regularly brew Chinooklehead Porter American Porter - Chinooklehead Porter and love the flavors.

55% 2 Row - 5.5 lbs
20% Wheat - 2 lb
10% C80 - 1 lb
10% Brown - 1 lb
5% Chocolate - 0.5 lb

I up this recipe for an OG of 1.060.
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
5,346
Reaction score
3,066
Location
Bedford
I want to clone Freemont's Dark Star barrel aged oatmeal stout.

I have a "local supply" of whiskey from which to fortify it. I'll barrel age the whiskey and/or the Dark Star clone that I brew.

How would I scale the "Before Dark Star" recipe up to 1.080 - 1.090 ?


Thanks !
You need to decide if you are making a clone or a beer that is inspired by the Dark Star brew.
Fortifying the beer with whiskey will not put you in the clone territory, but it might be a better beer that way.
I took the recipe in the Beer and Brewing article, put it in the the Brewer's Friend recipe builder, kept the grain bill the same and reduced the batch size to 3.5 gallons.
The ABV came out about 10%, but to be a clone , you'd have to go above 12%. I'd start with the published recipe use less water for a smaller batch and use wood barrel chips soaked in bourbon in secondary and maybe add more bourbon to taste at packaging
 

tracer bullet

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
874
Reaction score
722
Location
Minnesota
Chocolate flavors are hard to come by, malts always end up closer to coffee than to chocolate. Even and perhaps especially "chocolate" malt. True chocolate flavors will probably have to come from actual chocolate. Some powder in the boil or nibs afterwards.

But, if you liked what you brewed already, that's cool since it gives you a starting point.

Off the top I'd think something like 2x the base malt and maybe 1.5 - 1.75x the others. However... Brown malt's in the 60L-ish range and not necessarily included when you consider roasted malts and making sure you don't have too much. So you might be just fine with simply doubling them as well. Though I'd still consider a reduction on the C80. I don't use wheat enough to comment on it.

A note on the whisky, I love the stuff and have played with it in beer. I have however found that it's best to add a little to the glass before I pour the beer into it. I can play with the amount, and which one I choose as well. For your first stab at it you might simplify a little and see what you are into by making additions to the glass directly, then go for it next time.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
I took the recipe in the Beer and Brewing article, put it in the the Brewer's Friend recipe builder, kept the grain bill the same and reduced the batch size to 3.5 gallons.
I'm not interested in producing a smaller batch. Scaling grain up does the same thing as reducing batch volume.
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
5,346
Reaction score
3,066
Location
Bedford
If you are trying to make an actual clone, going with smaller batches is a good method, because you'll likely have to re-brew and tweak it a few times before reach your goal.
By simply reducing the volume until you hit your desired gravity you can figure out what percentages to use on your full sized batch. The published recipe supposedly was what was used to develop the Dark Star beer? However, the increased alcohol will alter the taste, so you'll have to do some tweaking. The other recipes above are interesting, but not relevant when trying to make a clone.
Choosing which chocolate malt to use will have a large impact on the flavor. I'd start with pale chocolate and go from there.
 

Brewdog80

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
138
Reaction score
110
Your initial stated result is incorrect. You are NOT cloning a recipe if you are shooting for 2 or 3% more alcohol. A clone by definition is the same. You are just making a new beer. And results will depend on your brewing technique and your best guess as to what you think is equal to your anticipated results. If you haven't actually clone brewed the original Clone recipe and compared to the original brew, then your altered brew may be a mile off..
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Seems the coffee flavor comes from the roasted malts.

"Most stouts and porters are brewed with highly-toasted barley malts, chocolate malts and black patent malts for flavor and creaminess. It is the deep roasting of these grains that give the darker beers hints of coffee-like flavors."

 

anteater8

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
329
Reaction score
306
Location
Portland
To answer your question simply, go with option 1: scale the ingredients proportionally. Looking at a few recipes I've done from a 5% sweet stout to a 14% imperial stout, the percentage of roasted and caramel malts are about the same.

The one thing I would be very cautious about is scaling up your IBU's accordingly. I find it better to go high on the IBU's, especially if you're going to age the beer, rather than end up with a cloyingly sweet beer.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Your initial stated result is incorrect. You are NOT cloning a recipe if you are shooting for 2 or 3% more alcohol.
I am cloning Dark Star. The recipe provided by B&B is PRE Dark Star, ie the recipe for a precursor to it. It has a lower gravity. I'm scaling up the PRE Dark Star recipe to clone Dark Star itself.

A clone by definition is the same.
Agreed.

You are just making a new beer.
No. See above.

And results will depend on your brewing technique and your best guess as to what you think is equal to your anticipated results.
As is the case with any clone beer !

If you haven't actually clone brewed the original Clone recipe and compared to the original brew, then your altered brew may be a mile off..
The recipe you refer to is the PRE Dark Star. I'm cloning Dark Star itself.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
If you are trying to make an actual clone, going with smaller batches is a good method, because you'll likely have to re-brew and tweak it a few times before reach your goal.
I'm going to brew a 6 gallon batch so I can split it in half to test various things, especially aging.

By simply reducing the volume until you hit your desired gravity you can figure out what percentages to use on your full sized batch.
Reducing water volume is the same as increasing grain bill with the same volume.

The published recipe supposedly was what was used to develop the Dark Star beer?
Yes. It was the precursor to Dark Star.

However, the increased alcohol will alter the taste, so you'll have to do some tweaking.
Right. What do you suggest ?

The other recipes above are interesting, but not relevant when trying to make a clone.
I provided them to see how character malts are scaled as OG is increased in stouts.

Choosing which chocolate malt to use will have a large impact on the flavor. I'd start with pale chocolate and go from there.
Yeah, I think I'm going to cut back on the roasted stuff a bit.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Carafa II

"Weyermann® CARAFA® Type 2 is a roasted specialty malt made from high-quality spring barley. It's carefully roasted to add an espresso-like bouquet, coffee and chocolate flavors, and a mild but noticeable roasted aftertaste."

I'll be skipping this.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Black Prinz

Subtle, smooth, no bitter, astringent, dry flavors or aftertaste, very delicate, clean flavor, mild roasted malty flavor
Product Details

Produced from hulless barley and functions as a 1:1 replacement to debittered Black Malt, but with smoother flavor. It contributes the same color characteristics as Black Malt but without the bitter, astringent, dry flavors or aftertaste. Use in Black IPAs, Black Lagers, Black Ales, Schwarzbiers and other beers for deep, rich color with only hints of subtle roasted flavor, and for color adjustment in any beer style.

1-2% Minor color adjustment with little to no flavor impact in lighter colored lagers and ales
2-5% Adds color with subtle, smooth flavor
5-10% Use in larger quantities for color plus mild roasted malty flavor

I'll be using some of this in place of the roasted barley.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
After much thought and comparison between Chinooklehead, Pre Dark Star and a Dark Star clone made by a member of my LHBC, my clone will be this:

69% 2 row pale
9% Crystal 80
8% chocolate malt (450-500L)
9% oats
5% Black Prinz

7 x 1.080 = 560 points total.
My iterative mashes yield about 30 points/lb.
560/30 = 18.6 pounds. I'll mash 20 pounds to be safe.
I'm aiming for about 10% ABV from the beer itself. I'll top up with whiskey by taste to reach 12-14%.
 
Last edited:

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
5,346
Reaction score
3,066
Location
Bedford
Right. What do you suggest ?
I'll suggest brewing the recipe you've developed and then getting some beer friends over for a taste comparison with the commercial beer.
Try to pick out what you would change, but only change one thing at a time on the re-brew.
 
Last edited:
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
Update: I brewed my Dark Star Clone on the weekend.

OG was 1.087. I'm aiming for ~10% ABV before I add whiskey and age it in a wooden "barrel".

It smells delicious - chocolate, raisin, plum. I cut back the roasted malts a bit as I'm not a huge fan of coffee flavors in my beers.

Not sure if this one will get aged or not. If this thing tastes like I think it will, we might drink it and I'll brew another one to age.

Thanks for the discussions in this thread. I'll update it with tasting notes when that happens.
 
OP
B

brewman !

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
229
A common complaint of this beer is the coffee flavor is too forward.
 
Top