Rum Raisin Brown Stout

rum-raisin-brown-stoutpcThis is a beer that answers the question “What would it be like to brew up a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies?”

In the past, the term “stout” referred to a beer that was extra strong. Thus, we had Porter, and we had Stout Porter, which eventually became just Stout for short. Interestingly, what is now known as Stout is oftentimes rather low in alcoholic content while Porters tend to have an ABV of 5.5% to 6% or more. But historically, Stout was any beer that was as strong as the drinkers that were expected to consume it.

To make this brown stout, start with the ingredients for cookies: wheat malt, oats, sultana raisins. Add to this Maris Otter base malt, crystal malt, a touch of caramel rye malt, and some Cara Munich. Mash at a fairly high temperature to encourage the production of unfermentable sugars that will keep the brew more sweet and full-bodied. Magnum and Amarillo hops are assertive without being overpowering. Add golden syrup at the end of the boil to contribute more caramel flavors. Ferment with a fruity yeast such as London Ale. Soak sultanas in dark rum until they are soft, then whirl the mixture in a blender. Add some to the primary fermenter, and another batch to the secondary, along with a hint of vanilla extract.

The result is not so much a beer that tastes like oatmeal raisin cookies as it is an oatmeal raisin cookie that tastes like beer.

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Coachman’s Double Andover Stout

AndoverDstoutWIn 1973 an American with a taste for good beer and little money to buy expensive imports had few options. There were some widely scattered retail shops selling wine-making supplies. At that time brewing beer was illegal, but buying the makings was not. A look inside these shops revealed that they often sold the ingredients for beer too. In fact, since the ingredients were food items, there wasn’t even a tax on them.

Along with ingredients such as canned malt extract, and perhaps some crystal and black malt, there were dried ale yeasts by Edme, and Red Star. Vierka offered light and Munich dark lager yeast. There were also a couple of books available that were pretty simplistic by today’s standards, but were enough to get one started. With a bit of reading it was possible to brew a first batch that was excellent.

C.J.J. Berry’s Home Brewed Beers and Stouts was first published in 1963, shortly after the law changed in England making home brewing legal without a brewer’s licence or duty payment. This was the first book in modern times to deal with the process in sufficient detail to ensure a successful enterprise. An instant success, it sold more than 300,000 copies over four editions.

The recipe names in the book reflect the locale from which a beer example has been drawn. One of these is the town of Andover, Hampshire. A major stage coach stop on the Exeter-London road during the 18th and 19th centuries, it’s no surprise that Andover was known for its heavy, satisfying stout.
coachandsix
In England, circa 1963, it was possible to find numerous bottle-conditioned beers containing yeast samples from their respective breweries. In that sphere at least, the home brewer was afforded a respectable range of possibilities, and Berry’s book suggests exploiting the situation. This recipe similarly takes advantage of the 21st Century’s availability of obscure English yeast strains by employing a Platinum English strain from White Labs’ yeast bank. East Midlands yeast, with its dry finish, low ester production and moderate alcolol tolerance, is comparable to the more familiar Nottingham strain.

This adaptation of Andover Stout, while inspired by the C. J. J. Berry book, also pays homage to William Black’s Brown Stout of 1849, a recipe discovered by the Durden Park Beer Club. That brew featured amber and brown malts, along with the black malt.
Coachman’s adds a full-spectrum touch by taking advantage of the even wider variety of ingredients now available.

A double stout, coming down the highway at 7.8% ABV, this is a monumental beer. A coach and six taking you to the coast.

Stout 17

Stout 17abc
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!