Stout: Where did I go wrong?

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OK, so I thought I'd just jump in at the deep end, and make my first ever brew an all grain treacle stout. Brave? Yes. Stupid? Yes, also.

I decided to just try a 1 gallon batch to see how I got on. I really enjoyed making it, but I tasted some of the wort on the way into the carboy and it was awful. How worried should I be? I'm expecting to age it for 6 months or so, but it's so dark I can't see a torch behind it with the lights off...

Is it going to taste like coal? What should I do different when I try my Irish Red on Saturday?

Recipe...

Panther Treacle Ale

500g Mild Malt
200g Chocolate Malt
200g Crystal Malt


Mashed in a gallon of water. 79oC strike temp, mashed for an hour starting at 68oC and ending at 65oC. Drain, batch sparge with about 2 litres.

Wort was at 1.035 at this stage.

10g Goldings 60 min
10g Goldings 30 min
10g Goldings 2 min

300g Black Treacle dissolved at the end!

Let it cool, and it was at about 1.085, so added about a litre of cold water it's about 1.046 now.

So yeah, it's now really REALLY dark, really black and stinky, and only tasted of treacle. Any chance this is going to be drinkable? Do I need to change my routine for next time?

Cheers!

AJ
 

diatonic

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I don't know much about recipe formulation, but this is my thought...

500g Mild Malt
200g Chocolate Malt
200g Crystal Malt
Mild Malt - 56%
Chocolate Malt - 22%
Crystal - 22%

BeerSmith says...

Chocolate Malt: Max In Batch: 10.00 %
Crystal Malt: Max in Batch: 20%

I would think your base malt should be higher than 56%, and a little chocolate malt goes a long way.

I'm fairly new to AG, just did my 8th batch last weekend. My method has been to do tried and true recipes first, to try to learn how different ingredients affect flavor. I did an imperial stout with an OG of 1.080 and tasted the OG hydro sample as I was filling the fermenter. Also tasted it as it progressed through fermentation, and at bottling time. The flavor will change noticeably over time. Don't judge it too quickly.
 

malkore

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unfermented wort is not tastey. its kind of grossly sweet, and the hop bitterness and flavor is very different than how it presents after fermentation.

As far as treacle...I've heard of the stuff but its not something we're into in the US...at least not Nebraska, so I cannot begin to understand how it might affect the flavor.

Ok I wiki'd treacle...sounds like its not unlike molasses. 10 ounces seems like a TON for a 1 gallon batch. Time will tell tho. You've already made it...see it through to the end!
 

Brew-Happy

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Plus that chocolate malt needs time to mellow. It is harsh, bitter, and burnt flavored. A couple of months and it is smoooooooooth!:mug: You might need more time for the amount of burnt grains you used.

+1 on the above statements as well.
 
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Thanks for the feedback you marvellous people!

Think I may have overdone the treacle (molasses!), yeah... This will be a bottle it, forget about it, drink it at christmas batch!

Seems like the problem was the recipe... Let's hope the next one is a little more successful!

AJ
 

david_42

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I used 8 ounces of black strap molasses in a 5 gallon batch and that was too much. What I would do is make another gallon with just the mild malt and blend them. This will put you in the range for most stouts. If you really want to experiment, do three blends: 1/3 stout, 1/2 stout and 2/3 stout. Bottle and wait.

The treacle flavor does mellow, but it takes a long time.
 

dzlater

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Isn't a stout supposed to have roasted barley, and flaked barley or oats?
 

diatonic

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I can tell you that you will be very sad if it turns out to be great 6 months from now. 1 gallon is not very much.
 

GunnerMan

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Yeah you have a lot of crystal and deep roasted grains. The crystal will make the beer have a residual sweetness you might not expect. I wouldnt expect it to taste good right out of the MLT or the boil.

Id crack one open in 2 -3 months and see how it is. Things might mellow out nicely.
 

Gordie

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Personally, I think that everything you did was brilliant, except that you didn't make enough of it to get a good idea of what you did. With your proportion of base grain to specialty grain you are going to need some time to get everything settled. A larger batch would give you the ability to taste as it ages which can teach a good deal and give you more answers than this forum could. With 1/4 of your fermentables coming from treacle you run a risk of getting what might be described as a "dark" cider note after fermentation, but I'm pretty darn sure it will be drinkable. The yeast, which is still up in the air, may have a significant beneficial impact too. I'm pretty confident it will be different from any stout you've had - which doesn't mean its bad, just different.

My only advice would be to increase your batch size. You'll learn more about flavor development and have a larger margin for error. Your stout could be lovely or weird, but it will certainly be fun.

Gordie
 

Aspera

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The recipe seems reasonable to me. Don't forget, what really sets the homebrewer apart from a mear professional is that the homebrewer is never afraid to to dump, drink or gift his goods.
 

StMarcos

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Agree with Gordie. It might be a bit iffy if the the og was below 1.080 though. You get to bend/test rules a bit as you push flavour boundaries - by definition.

by
 

StoutFan

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Treacle, hmmmmmm. Ideas for an English sweet stout come to mind........
 

CBBaron

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I think you used enough treacle for a 5gal batch in a 1 gal stout. Molasses is a powerful flavoring and needs to be used sparingly unless you want it to dominate the flavors. On the other hand fermentation will produce extreme changes to the taste of the beer so give it some time.

Craig
 
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Just an update which raises more questions...

After just about 2 weeks in primary, fermentation is no more. Bubbling stopped over a week ago, and it measured 1.035. Checked again today and it's still 1.035!

Since the OG was 1.046, I make this to be about 1.5% ABV...

So here's my next question... what now? We talking yeast nutrient and repitch, or is there som other trick I don't know about?

On the plus side, I drew a sample to test today and it tastes awesome, so I really want this batch to work now!

Any ideas?

Thanks for your help so far, you've been great.

AJ
 

Pommy

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Sorry to drag up an old post but what happened? Been looking around to get an idea of how much treacle to use in my old ale and now I need to know what happened.
 

Walker

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Treacle/molasses.... close enough to the same for the discussion.

They are very power flavors. I use molasses in my porter recipe and it's only about 5 oz for a 5 gallon (19 liter) batch. This is enough to taste that there is a little something extra in the beer without making you shout, "F*ck! This tastes like molasses!"
 
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