In 1973 I was a Gaucho with a taste for good beer, and no money to buy it. Santa Barbara had a store on upper State Street called Wine Art of America. A look inside revealed that they sold the ingredients for beer too. At that time brewing beer was illegal, but buying the makings was not. In fact, since the ingredients were food items, there wasn’t even any tax on them.
The guy in the store was very helpful, and he sold me the ingredients for my first beer, an amber lager made with Vierka Munich Dark Lager yeast. He also sold me a book called The Art of Making Beer by Anderson and Hull. The book was pretty simplistic by today’s standards, but it got me started and fortunately, my first batch was excellent. The recipes were numbered, and I’d made number 1.
Both my dad and I used the book for years, but as others came out over time it got moved to the remote end of the shelf. Last year I picked up a can of Cooper’s Stout malt extract on sale. Thinking about what to do with it I thumbed through the old Anderson book. A lot of memories came back to me. Then I got to the seventeenth recipe. It called for a can of stout wort. It also specified four pounds of corn sugar, a pound of crystal malt and “1/3 stick licorice.” I’d found my inspiration.
Stout 17 starts of course with the can of Cooper’s. Instead of corn sugar it has 900 grams of Breiss DME and 280 grams of Rogers Demerara sugar. For the crystal malt addition I blended six varieties of increasing caramelization. Left over home roasted barley that I’d made for a previous batch went in. Also 50 grams of Hugh Baird black malt.
I had chopped natural licorice root on hand. I also had Paradise seed. I had some Irish Stout yeast. I had my recipe.
Stout 17 uses Challenger hop pellets for bittering and Goldings flowers for flavor. As Irish stouts are low on hop aroma, Stout 17 has no aroma hop addition. This one started at 12 Plato and finished at 2.25. That’s about 82 percent attenuation, making this a very dry stout, with about 5.8% ABV.
It pours nearly opaque black but holding it to the light reveals very dark ruby color. The head is thick, and dark tan. The aroma is of malt, with toasted notes. A very roasty flavor finishes with mild mouth-watering bitterness and an alcohol tang. A very complex, tasty stout!