“Black­strap” For­eign Ex­tra Stout

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Recipes In This Issue - Josh Weik­ert

For­eign Ex­tra Stout will hit the mark for your friends who like their choco­late dark, their wines deep and tan­nic, and their hu­mor dry and acer­bic.

Style: FES isn’t a com­pli­cated style. How­ever, it is a dis­tinct style, and miss­ing the mark on any one of sev­eral fla­vor char­ac­ter­is­tics will drag it into one of the other stout styles. First, ABV: while sev­eral stouts can reach fairly high into the al­co­hol range, FES is specif­i­cally ex­pected to do so. At the same time, FES should be dry, with only sub­tle warm­ing. The al­co­hols should add some com­plex­ity to the bit­ter and roasty fla­vor pro­file, adding a pep­pery note but with the roast and bit­ter­ness coun­ter­ing the sweet­ness of the al­co­hol. It’s also a par­tic­u­larly roast-driven style. A light burnt note (but not acrid) is de­sir­able. Hops play very lit­tle role here. So, we want mod­er­ately high al­co­hols (with­out heat), high roast (with­out too much burnt), low hops fla­vor (but mod­er­ate-to-high bit­ter­ness), and a clean fer­men­ta­tion char­ac­ter. Here we go! Recipe: You don’t need to use so many dif­fer­ent malts to make an FES, but it’s an easy way to en­sure that you don’t end up with a warm one-trick roast pony. We start with Maris Ot­ter as a base, then add equal amounts of Bri­tish Crys­tal 45 and Briess Ex­tra Spe­cial Roast for a solid tof­fee-and-toast back­ground on which to layer the roasted malts. To that we add pale choco­late malt, roasted bar­ley, and black patent malt to add lots of com­plex roast, and the black patent and roasted bar­ley should pro­vide the as­sertive but not sharp “burnt” note we’re look­ing for. But we’re not quite done with the sug­ars yet: I add mo­lasses just be­fore the start of the boil. The burnt su­gar im­pres­sion re­ally amps up the com­plex­ity with­out adding resid­ual sweet­ness, and the fla­vor re­ally feels deep. Be­ing a mostly fer­mentable su­gar ad­di­tion, mo­lasses might even help dry out the beer, but we’re count­ing on the roast and your fer­men­ta­tion to do that. That should get you to about 1.074 post-boil grav­ity, for a healthy 7.7 per­cent Abv—right in the wheel­house for FES. Hops are sim­ple. To min­i­mize loss and re­duce the risk of plant mat­ter adding a veg­e­tal fla­vor to the fin­ished beer, I use any high-al­pha hop at 60 min­utes (to yield about 60 IBUS), then some Haller­tau with about five min­utes to go. Haller­tau’s slight floral-earthy fla­vor will prob­a­bly get lost in the shuf­fle, but it’s there if any­one starts look­ing for it! For yeast, we’re us­ing Wyeast 1084 (Ir­ish Ale) yeast. I’ve made this beer with my go-to Lon­don Ale III and Ger­man Ale yeasts, but it just doesn’t work. The Ir­ish Ale yeast adds a sub­tle “round­ness” to the roasted fla­vors, and so long as you thor­oughly con­trol for di­acetyl, it’s a great fit. Process: Mash as usual and add the mo­lasses to the ket­tle as you lauter/sparge, giv­ing a small stir to be sure it’s dis­solved be­fore bring­ing the beer to a boil. You might also con­sider a check of your wa­ter chem­istry, and if your sul­fates out­num­ber the chlo­rides, con­sider an ad­just­ment! Don’t ob­sess over it, though. Where you do want to pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion is in fer­men­ta­tion, es­pe­cially ini­tially. You want to min­i­mize any di­acety pro­duc­tion, so start cool (60°F/15°C) and hold there for at least the first 3 days. Af­ter that win­dow, you can start ramp­ing up the tem­per­a­ture, prefer­ably by a de­gree or two per day, with a fi­nal tar­get of 68–69°F (20°C). That way, any di­acetyl that you have pro­duced will be cleaned up, and the ramp­ing will also pro­mote a full at­ten­u­a­tion. Hold at that higher tem­per­a­ture for at least a week af­ter the end of pri­mary fer­men­ta­tion to en­sure that your yeast has fer­mented ev­ery pos­si­ble scrap of su­gar. Fi­nally, take a bit of a flex­i­ble ap­proach to car­bon­a­tion. If all is well and the beer is promi­nently roasty, a lit­tle burnt, and not sweet, then go ahead and car­bon­ate to an even 2 vol­umes of CO2. If it’s a lit­tle over-roasty, lower that a bit to re­duce the bite from the car­bon­a­tion, which should help. If it’s a lit­tle too “café au lait” and not enough “es­presso,” go a bit higher on car­bon­a­tion to let the car­bonic acid take up some of the slack. This is one beer where tun­ing the car­bon­a­tion can re­ally do some good things!

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