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Brew Your Own Irish Stout - All Grain

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For many, the coming of spring is marked by the blossoming of tulips and daffodils and the chirping of birds. While all of that is great and all, you can tell spring is coming at my house by the smell of roasted barley and the bottling of a nice Irish stout!

This will be the third spring that I will be brewing this particular stout and while it's not a terribly complicated grain bill, the finished beer's flavor profile is bursting with notes of coffee, dates and bacon. Throw in the fact that this brew rings in at a low ABV and is extremely drinkable and you have yourself a much tastier alternative than the green beer specials at your local swill hole this St. Patty's Day.

 
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Step 1: Ingredients & Equipment

Grain bill:
6 lbs. Maris Otter
2 lbs. Flaked Barley
12 oz. Roasted Barley
4 oz. Franco-Belges Kiln Coffee

Hops:
1.5 oz. Cluster (60 min)

Yeast:
Irish Ale Yeast (White Labs WLP004 or Wyeast 1084)

Equipment:
- Hot liquor tank and/or mash tun and/or boil kettle (basically one or more 5+ gallon pots)
- Carboy or food grade 5-6 gallon bucket
- Hydrometer or refractometer
- Thermometer
- Large funnel
- Long-handled spoon
- Hop bag (optional)
- Plate or immersion chiller, or an ice/snow bath
- Scale
- Heat source
- Air lock (for carboy or bucket)
- Sanitizer


GENERAL WARNINGS
Though I feel as though I shouldn't need to mention this, here it goes:

Fire = hot, burn, ouch
Boiling water = hot, burn, ouch
Steam = hot, burn, ouch

I've had a steam burn before (not from this) and they royally suck, so be careful around hot things and open any lids away from your face. Also, since you should be having a homebrew with every homebrewing project (it is the golden rule), the warning about drinking and driving and/or operating heavy machinery also applies so don't be that guy/gal/cat and ruin someone's life.

Photos and brewing assistance by my wonderful wife, Sara.

I've never gotten into home brewing, but the way you describe this sounds amazing. Also I completely love your cat.

Thanks Danger, he's a bit of a local celebrity!

Homebrewing is great, I've yet to find a more friendly community... though I guess the beer helps to foster a friendlier vibe!

I can see why! He looks like quite a character!

I'm sure the beer helps foster a friendly atmosphere :)

tim_n8 months ago

Always nice to see someone elses setup.

I have a eBIAB setup inspired from a few of the instructables here. It really makes it quick and easy. My brews are all done in 4.5hrs flat (immersion chiller). 2-3 weeks with dried yeast sprinkled on top and excellent beer every time so far! Really enjoy the all grain - it's what I was missing with the extract. Extract just feels like cheating and in the UK, you can't get much of a range.

zymurgeneticist (author)  tim_n8 months ago
Thanks tim_n, I'm a big fan of BIAB and depending on your setup this brew works really well in a bag! It really does make the process so much more time efficient and reproducible.

That's disappointing to hear about your options with extract over there, I would imagine you could just drive over to Muntons and have your pick of DME and LME. In any case, I'm sure you have some real nice roasted barley and floor malted Maris Otter for your all-grain though, considering your glorious countrymen invented the style!

Most of my LHB stores have about 10 types of extract and a couple of kits and only a couple of each. They're expensive to ship as well.

Buying the grain is much easier - I use the malt miller in the UK and he has everything I've ever needed. So whilst I'm not supporting LHB, I'm supporting a growing business on the web. I've even popped in to see him and his staff!

I don't drink beer, but I completely love your squinty cat.

Thanks! He's a handsome devil, isn't he? No wonder why half of our upteen-thousand pictures are of him. I swear he hasn't had any of the stout though, it's reserved for his mother and I!

sunshiine8 months ago

I love the picture of your cat! that is what drew me in. thanks for sharing.

sunshiine

Wolfbane2218 months ago
I initially opened this because of the picture of the cat in the tie. I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and it is easy to follow. However, I feel you should have a vocabulary list for those of us that don't brew :). Anyway, great instructable- if this is not in the spring is coming contest enter it so I can vote!
zymurgeneticist (author)  Wolfbane2218 months ago

Good news, the instructable is now in the Spring is Coming Contest!!!

Voted for! I do believe those links will be helpful to others.
zymurgeneticist (author)  Wolfbane2218 months ago
Thanks Wolfebane221! My cat always gets more clicks than I do!

Excellent idea to add a glossary, I was debating that while I wrote it but eventually thought against it. But I agree, there should be a resource to help with the terminology. Luckily the folks at Brew Your Own (https://byo.com/resources/glossary) and the esteemed John Palmer (http://www.howtobrew.com/glossary.html) are much better at definitions than I ever will be. Hopefully these links can help anyone trying to decipher the homebrew language!
Jayefuu8 months ago

Some good info here! I'm on my second ever beer brew at the moment, I'm still in the kit stage but when I progress to making my own mash etc. I'll be checking back here for the recipe!

streetrod58 months ago

Great Instructable on this complex subject; your instructions, pics and humor are just right. You might want to tell folks what kind of readings you're taking in Step 9 (for the uninitiated). What did you wind up for F.G.?

The cat looks like he's had too much stout- he's either going to start a fight or a song.

zymurgeneticist (author)  streetrod58 months ago
I appreciate the positive feedback streetrod5! My cat may look like a fighter, but he's a softie through and through. Though he told me next batch I have to hop with catnip instead.

Thanks for pointing out the final gravity reading (F.G.). Target F.G. is about 1.010, my experience has been between 1.009 and 1.012. For the uninitiated, final gravity is that reading I mentioned in Step 9 that involved three consecutive same results. It's essentially an idea of how much sugar the yeast ate and can give you a rough estimation of alcohol by volume by the following formula:

(O.G. - F.G.)(131) = %ABV

There are online calculators that will be more exact but that means this brew rings in right around 4%... perfect for a sessionable ale for a long night carousing with your surly cat!