Friday, February 28, 2014

Brew #6: Pale Stout

Back in around August '13 I began thinking of finding new ways to extract flavor from brewing ingredients.  An interesting thought came to me and I was obsessed with finding a way to get the flavor from something without taking its color.  Immediately the thought of a pale stout was bouncing excitedly in my skull.

After some internet research about pale stouts it appeared that it wasn't a new thing but it seemed like nobody had done one using the same ingredients as a true dark stout.  It looked as if everybody was using coffee as a substitute for the roasted grain.  This led me to start looking for ways to clarify coffee.  I figured if coffee could be clarified then grains could be too, especially since the process of steeping grains is similar to brewing coffee.  This blog post from super barista James Hoffman about clarifying coffee using iced gelatin filtration made me believe that a pale roasted stout could happen.

For my first attempt I used the recipe for the milk stout from Brewing Classic Styles and prepared the roasted grains in a way similar to the process outlined in James Hoffman's blog.  The color did come out lighter but not as light as expected and the flavor was still spot on.  The milk stout actually scored in the mid 30's in a local competition.  I tried this recipe one more time with similar results and found myself going back to the drawing board.

For the third attempt I used the Dry Stout recipe from Brewing Classic Styles since it used two light ingredients (Maris Otter and Flaked Barley) and one roasted grain (Black Roasted Barley).  I prepared the grains three different ways to test flavor and color.

1.  Steep unmilled grain 2 oz in .5 liter of 160F water for 30 minutes.  Strain through paper coffee filter (using Chemex) and mix hot liquid into prepared gelatin (.5% by weight of liquid).

2.  Steep milled grain 2 oz in .5 liter of 160F water for 30 minutes.  Strain through paper coffee filter (using Chemex) and mix hot liquid into prepared gelatin (.5% by weight of liquid).

3.  Add 2 oz milled grain into ISI whip and fill with room temp water to .5 liter.  Charge with one nitrogen canister and empty after 1 minute into Chemex with paper coffee filter.  Heat liquid in microwave until hot then mix into prepped gelatin (.5% by weight of liquid).


The results were very interesting.
Steep 1:   Lacked dry astringency that I wanted for dry stout.  Very nice chocolate flavor but somewhat watery and stale tasting.  Not much roast character

Steep 2 (top right):  Dry astringency and roast (highest but not by much) both present.  Somewhat bitter.  Darkest in color.

Steep 3 (bottom left):  Dry astringency and roast both present.  Most chocolaty with astringency close to steep 2 but not quite as high.  Lightest in color by far.

The tasting process eliminated steep 1 and the appearance eliminated steep 2 (which was the most dry stout like) because I wanted to get the beer as light as possible.  After tasting the mixtures were frozen then thawed on a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl in the refrigerator.  The whole process took about 4.5 days.

After completing a 2nd round of gelatin filtration the liquid from steep 3 looked like the photo below:

Now that I had a nice looking black roasted barley extract it was time to brew.  The brew was a normal BIAB with a cereal mash and 60 minute rest at 150F.  The black roasted barley was added with 1 minute left in the boil to minimize added color.  Once cooled the resulting beer's appearance blew my mind.  Almost pale ale in color and nothing like a stout.  I didn't get a good taste so I'm flying blind but hopefully it will have some roast character and will provide a starting point for further exploration.

Pale stout in fermentation vessel:

Recipe:
Pale Stout
1 gallon batch
OG: 1.041
IBU: 41

Ingredients:
1 lb Maris Otter
7 oz Flaked Barley
2 oz Black Roasted Barley (Prepared as described above and added with 1 minute left in boil)
12 g  East Kent Goldings (60 min)
Safale US-05


This was a fun brew that took a total of almost 10 days to prep for since I did two rounds of gelatin filtration.  I have some ideas for improvement in the future and would also like to try this with agar instead of gelatin.  I'm also going to try using the ISI Whip with unmilled barley.

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