Saturday, December 27, 2008

Brew day: Folsom Prison Gluten-Free Stout

...or, possibly, Folsom Prison Gluten-Free Porter. More on that later. At any rate, we got our gluten-free brew on for the second straight Christmas Eve on Wednesday, and overall things went well. Here's a recap...

As I described in this post, I did some experimenting with home-roasting wild rice and was able to create a "chocolate" roast (by which I mean a roast similar to chocolate barley malt or wheat malt). You can see a picture of the chocolate wild rice after the recipe below. Based on some experimenting with my home-roasted chocolate wild rice and D2 extra-dark Belgian candi syrup, I found that 0.3 oz of the rice (ground in a coffee grinder) and 1 oz. of the syrup in 2.5 cups of water produced a nice, black color. Based on this, I came up with the following recipe for 5 gallons:

6.50 lb Sorghum Syrup
0.50 lb "Chocolate" Wild Rice
1.75 lb Belgian Candi Syrup D2
8 oz Malto-Dextrine (Boil 5 min)
2.8 oz. Fuggle hops (4.9% AA) (Boil 60 min)
0.8 oz. Fuggle hops (4.9% AA) (Boil 15 min)
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Safale S-04 dried yeast

If you do the math, you'll find that based on my experiment I should have used 0.6 lb. of rice and 2 lbs. of Belgian candi syrup. However, I was concerned about using more than 20% sugar (as it could contribute a cidery off-flavor) so I cut it down to 1.75 lb. And Beersmith suggested no more than 5% chocolate malt, so I cut that down to 0.5 lb. As I would later find out, these two reductions combined left me with a wort that looked more dark brown than black, and hence the possibility that I will re-classify it a porter.

Anyway, the day went pretty smoothly except for the color and the fact that I used whole hop plugs, which made it difficult to siphon. (I honestly don't understand why people use whole hops instead of pellets; maybe I'm missing something). Fermentation started the next morning. Once primary fermentation is complete, I'll be adding some cold-pressed coffee extract made with espresso beans following these instructions. I won't be looking for a powerful coffee flavor, but rather just a little something to add some depth that's lost by the lack of roasted malts. Ordinarily, when I brew coffee beers I simply age them on whole espresso beans, but in those cases I want some hardcore coffee flavor. Here I want more control over the coffee flavor, hence the use of the extract. Stay tuned to hear how it turns out.

Generally I don't really mess with a recipe until I've at least tasted the results of the original recipe, but right now I already have a couple things in mind. First of all, after brewing I discovered that many sites say you can use up to 10% chocolate malt in porters and stouts, so I'm thinking I'll increase the amount to maybe 0.75 lb. to get more darkness to it. Also, I'm tempted to try some of this dark treacle instead of the Belgian candi syrup as it seems more authentic for an English-style brew, but at the same time it's a combination of molasses and invert sugar (which is what the candi syrup is) so I might be better off just going with some combination of the D2 syrup and blackstrap molasses. I'll revisit these ideas after I sample the finished product, but I wanted to get them down while they're on my mind.

So last year I finished off my recap of our Christmas Eve brewing day with my favorite Christmas carol, A Patrick Swayze Christmas. I realize it's now two days after Christmas, but nonetheless I'll leave you with my favorite childhood Christmas cartoon that's iconic here in Chicago but relatively unknown elsewhere. Here's to many great brews in 2009!


Blogger Ryan said...

Avoid molasses, it leave a very metallic taste when fermented

10:12 PM, December 27, 2008  
Blogger Russ said...

Good to know, Ryan. I know some types of molasses add sulfur as a stabilizer and you're supposed avoid those kinds, but I had never heard about issues with a metallic off-flavor. Thanks for sharing.

9:48 AM, December 28, 2008  
Blogger sue z said...

So, how did it turn out? I'm on a mission to brew a gf stout or porter, as there are no good commercial gf beers! My daughter and I brewed our first batch of regular beer (an oatmeal stout that was delicious) right before we were both diagnosed with celiac. BUMMER!!

5:56 PM, February 22, 2013  

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