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Smokey oaked stout?

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Toxxyc

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Hi guys, so I have an idea to make a really potent stout as we're entering summer here in South Africa now. I want to make it now so it can sit until winter comes again over here. What I'm looking for, in short, is the following:

1. 10% ABV, more or less. This is the number I'm hoping for.
2. Smokey, actually more of a peat flavour alongside oak, chocolate and a tiny bit of sweetness that reminds one of a good Islay single malt whisky. Specifically Ardbeg 10 YO.

I'm thinking of merely doubling up my existing sweet stout recipe, with some tweak. It's low in roasted notes and has a nice chocolate flavour I want in the final product. I'll also swap out the hops to include a fruity late addition to simulate the light fruity notes in the whisky.

So here's what I'm thinking, for a 20l batch (around 5.5 gallons):

6kg Pale Malt
0.5kg peated malt (this number needs thinking)
0.5kg Oats (just for some mouthfeel and body)
0.75kg Chocolate Malt (want that chocolate)
0.4kg Roasted Barley (colour, some roast notes but not a lot)
0.5kg CaraMunich 1 OR Goldswaen Brown (I have both, will do some taste tests between the malts and decide on this - the Goldswaen has a strong roasted caramel flavour that's pretty awesome)
0.5kg Lactose (still in two minds about this)

To boost ABV I might add half a kilo or so of regular brown sugar. Perhaps even a tiny bit of molasses. Some input would be appreciated on the molasses - never added it to a beer before.

I'm aiming for 1.090 OG at least, without the lactose addition. If I can get to 1.100 I'd be really happy. I usually get around 90% efficiency with my system, but this will probably be a reiterated mash and therefore my efficiency will dip a bit. I'm hoping to get 75% for this batch, but will adjust the gravity with sugar if need be.

Hops, I'm going to use whatever I have to get to around 25 IBUs at 60 minutes. Sommer some T90 I still have around here. It works well in other beers and provides a very cheap way to get a smooth bitterness at 60 minutes.

Late addition hops will be a 5-minute addition of something nice and fruity. I've got some African Queen I'm keen to try, but I'm not sure if those berry flavours is what I'm after. I'd like a more tropical fruit hop, but I don't have any on hand and I really don't want to buy another packet of hops right now. I think I might have some S.Passion, which will work well. Perhaps 50/50 S.Passion and African Queen.

For yeast I'll be using an English Ale yeast, medium attenuation perferably. Ferment low and slow, probably near the lower end of the yeast's temp range for 2 weeks or so, and then slowly raise to complete. Then I'll cold crash for a week or so, and then pitch into a fresh cube with the oak to sit for several months before bottling. I'll probably stick it in the pantry until winter comes.

So, ideas, tips, tricks and things to look for when making a beer like this?
 

magno

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I can't help you much with the smokiness... I haven't made a smoked beer that I was over the moon with.

The idea of taking a recipe that you know and are happy with, and modifying it for higher ABV and a different flavor profile is completely valid though. And the grain bill above looks reasonable from my perspective. I like the idea of a late fruity hop addition in the stout... should be interesting.

My experience with molasses is to avoid blackstrap, as the flavor comes through pretty strongly. I've used up to about 0.5kg of light molasses in a ~20L batches several times, and found that the flavor is detectable but not overbearing.

The plan to age it on oak chips for a while sounds like a winner.

Good luck with this!
 

jrgtr42

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I wouldn't use that much peated malt - that stuff can really take over. I made what was supposed to be a smoked dark IPA a ways back, was planning on 7.5 - 8% ABV. I used a pound of peat malt, (.45KG) and there was nothing but the peat there. IF you're looking for some subtle flavors, I would say start with maybe a quarter kilo of peat, if that. The rest of the recipe looks good though.
You may want to soak the oak chips in liquor for a while before adding - the Scotch ages in used barrels - I don't know what Ardbeg uses, but it should be easy to find out. If you can, age the chips on something similar - bourbon, port, Calvados, etc.
The other thing is tht the hop addition will likely get way overshadowed by the rest of the bold flavors in there, the chocolate and roast malt, the smoked, etc. Not to mention if you plan to age it for 8 or 9 months those hops will likely fade out anyway.
 

BrewMan13

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Ardbeg 10 uses just ex-bourbon barrels, FYI. I used to use 4oz peated malt in a smoked porter, and for my tastes it was very subtle, so I echo the previous post about a quarter of a kg being a good amount. Rest of the thought process/recipe seems good. 90% normal efficiency is insane though; I'm normally ~77% for regular stuff, 5-10% less on big beers.
 
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Toxxyc

Toxxyc

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I usually hit 93% efficiency on my small, all-day-drinker beers (in the 4.5% ABV range). I reliably hit my OG (usually around 1.046) using only 3.5kg of malt (fermentable malts) into around 21~22 litres. It's really good - but I work for it.

Anyway, thanks for the peated malt numbers. It mimicks what I read up about. I don't want it to be a peat bomb - but it must be dectable.

On to the oak - I've got some oak around here that I used before to make single malt whisky, in different toast levels and different number of uses. I also have some oak I used to make a spiced rum, so the flavours in there are incredible (but not overbearing). I plan on giving a bit of everything to the stout to see how it extract the flavours, and I think it'll really come together nicely. Oak, peat, vanilla, aniseed, allspice, chocolate...
 
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