Monday, November 16, 2009

Breakfast Stout Riff

Imperial Stout is the beer that beer geek's love to geek out about most. The flavors are intense, complex, and often improve with age. While Reinheitsgebot approved (well except the unmalted roasted barley) Imperial stouts are out there, many of the most popular are dosed with ingredients that echo the roasted malt character, popular choices include coffee, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, dark candi syrup, and of course aging in decommissioned liquor barrels.

While there are numerous Imperial Stouts that I enjoy, one of my favorites is Breakfast Stout. Founders does a terrific job balancing the different components of their coffee and chocolate spiked Imperial oatmeal stout. It is also one of the few big stouts that is probably better fresh than aged (since both the coffee and hops diminish fairly quickly). After having a couple four packs over the last two months (this is its first year showing up in quantity in DC), I decided to brew a beer based on a BYO clone for the beer from a few months back. I put a bit of my own spin on the base beer (more complex dark malt bill, different bittering hops, Maris Otter instead of American 2-row) but for the most part stayed true to the recipe.

I brewed about 4.5 gallons hoping to have 4 left to rack after primary fermentation. The amount of malt required pushed my 5 gallon mash tun to the brink, even with a mash pretty close to 1 qrt of water per pound of grain. Now that I have the space I will probably put the finishing touches on a larger cooler mash-tun I built a few years back and only used once.

I added a bit of baking soda to the mash to keep the mash pH from falling too far due to the high percentage (13%) of dark grains/malts. The primary reason for doing this was to ensure the amylase enzymes do their work breaking down starches into sugars and dextrins, but I think it also helps the flavor of the finished beer. Dutch Process cocoa powder is treated to make it alkaline instead of acidic, which makes for a milder character that works well in baked goods. I think having suitably alkaline water helps to get rid of much of the harsh/acrid character that I hear people complain about when using roasted barley, and especially black patent.

The first runnings certainly looked the part of a big, bad stout while I was vorlaufing. The beta-glucans in the oats add a nice viscosity to the beer without making it too sweet. If you really want a thick stout go for flaked rye which is even higher in beta-glucans than oats.

As I have done for a few beers in the past I am planning on splitting this one into several different secondaries to get multiple finished beers.

Founders makes a mythical variant of Breakfast Stout called Canadian Breakfast Stout which (in addition to be infused with coffee and chocolate) is aged in bourbon barrels that subsequently held maple syrup (some reports claim that the barrel was used to make Kentucky Breakfast Stout before the maple syrup). A few months back I took some heavy toast American oak cubes which had been sitting in Maker's Mark and moved them into a jar of grade B maple syrup. My plan is to add these cubes along with a healthy dose of the bourbony maple syrup to 1 gallon of this stout (the syrup itself tastes fantastic as it is, or as a glaze for pork loin).

For chocolate flavor I am going to use cocoa powder, mixed with a bit of hot water to form a paste (as I did for my Chocolate Pumpkin Porter last fall), added to secondary about 2 weeks before bottling. For coffee I like to use coarse cracked beans in secondary just a day or so before bottling. I find these two methods give me the best flavor without harshness or risk of the oils ruining the head.

Cigar City Brewing is the most exciting brewery to open in Florida. I have tried several of their beers so far, including a cedar-aged IPA and a guava saison. None of them have been terrific, but both were interesting to experience. The idea of their Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout really struck me, an Imperial stout with chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon... and chile peppers. The combination of chiles and chocolate is a classic one, and it sounds like a good addition to a big rich beer like this one. I liked their idea of going for more chile flavor than heat so I went with dried anchos (unlike Great Divide which adds a hint of cayenne to their Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti), which I'll add cut up to the secondary. For the rest of the character I'll make a paste with the chocolate and cinnamon, and toss that along with a split vanilla bean into secondary.

The third flavor variant will be with cocoa and a vanilla bean (both in secondary for about two weeks). Should be a tasty dessert beer for the approaching cold winter. The final gallon will be left plain to see how the base beer stands on its own.

Here is a post with pictures and more details on adding the various flavorants.

Breakfast Stout Riff

Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
Batch Size (Gal): 4.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 14.73
Anticipated OG: 1.091
Anticipated SRM: 57.2
Anticipated IBU: 46.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78 %
Wort Boil Time: 120 Minutes

76.4% - 11.25 lbs. Maris Otter
8.5% - 1.25 lbs. Quaker Old Fashion Oats
4.5% - 0.66 lbs. Belgian Chocolate Malt
3.1% - 0.45 lbs. Carafa Special II
2.3% - 0.34 lbs. English Black Patent Malt
2.3% - 0.34 lbs. American Crystal 120L
1.9% - 0.28 lbs. English Roasted Barley
1.1% - 0.16 lbs. English Chocolate Malt

2.75 oz. Willamette (Pellet 4.50% AA) @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Willamette (Pellet 4.50% AA) @ 30 min.
0.50 oz. Willamette (Pellet 4.50% AA) @ 0 min.

1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 Min.
0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 Min.

WYeast 1056 American Ale/Chico

Water Profile
Profile: Filtered Washington DC + 3 grams of baking soda to the mash

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest 75 min @ 154

Brewed 11/07/09 by myself.

Made a 3 qrt starter 28 hours in advance, strong start.

Added 3 grams of baking soda to the mash to get the pH up and mellow the dark malts. The pH at room temp ~5.4 after the addition of baking soda.

First 30 minutes of the boil were off and on as the propane tank seemed to be running low and lost the boil.

Cooled to 66. Strained. 90 seconds of pure O2. Pitched about half of the starter, other half for Tim's Black Pils.

11/08/09 Topped off with 1/2 gallon of spring water to lower the OG and up the volume.

11/16/09 Fermentation looks about complete, but I still haven't taken a gravity reading.

11/18/09 Down to 1.020

11/23/09 Racked to secondary, 1 gallon each:
1. Plain
2. 1 1/2 oz Dutch Process High Fat Cocoa + 2/3 Moroccan Vanilla Bean + .5 oz bourbon soaked oak
3. 1 1/8 oz Dutch Process High Fat Cocoa + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 ancho + 1/2 guajillo + 1/3 Moroccan vanilla bean
4. 1 3/8 oz Dutch Process High Fat Cocoa +1 1/4 oz of bourbon/maple soaked oak + 2 oz bourbon maple syrup + 2 oz whole El Salvadorian coffee beans

12/06/09 Bottled with 1/2 tsp per bottle of cane sugar.

5/12/10 Tastings of Plain, Canadian, Mexican, and Mocha.  All tasty, but all over-carbonated.


Saint Aardvark the Carpeted said...

No fair making me read this at 6am! :-) That looks really nice. How long do you figure you'll wait before tasting?

And thanks for the tip about the coffee beans...the one time I tried coffee in a beer it was hot-brewed and went into the primary. Gah, it was bitter.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Hey, it is Breakfast Stout...

The nice thing about this beer is that it is big, but not huge. I'll probably rack it to secondaries this weekend (making sure to take a sample), give it ~2 weeks on the flavorings, then 3 weeks in the bottle. It should be ready to start drinking in early January I would think.

Cold brewed coffee is another option, but I have found that the flavor fades faster than adding beans directly to the beer.

Seanywonton said...

Looks tasty! I'm actually planning an Imperial Stout too. I was going to go with some rye malt and some French oak chips in the ferment. It's been a long time since I've made a stout-monster!

McG said...

I've noticed you do a lot of batch-splitting in smaller secondaries-- what vessels do you keep on hand for this purpose, and how many do you have? I think I'm moving this direction, starting to split some 6 gallon batches into two 3 gallon glass carboys.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I use both green 4L and 1 gallon clear glass jugs. I bought mine from homebrew stores, but you can also just buy juice in similar containers and save them.

I have about 5 total, but that is because I don't do much long term aging in them. If you want to split a sour onto different fruits (for example) you might want to get more.

Unknown said...

For some reason I was under the impression that Breakfast Stout, Kentucky Breakfast Stout, and Canadian Breakfast Stout were all different recipes. Maybe not so much the Kentucky and Canadian, but at least the Breakfast. Maybe you have better info?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I believe you are correct on Kentucky Breakfast stout as its ABV and IBUs are each several points higher. The commercial description of CBS on ratebeer says "Maple barrel aged Breakfast Stout." Its slightly higher ABV could be due to the residual maple syrup fermenting.

Regardless they are all very similar beers aside from the barrel character and age.

Unknown said...

I love Breakfast Stout and was lucky enough to know someone with a keg of CBS. We split a growler on several different occations this year and it is a great beer. A great twist to the Breakfast Stout. I will be looking forward to hear how this goes. I just made a Dark Lord variation this past summer and will get to try it probably early next year. We were thinking of spliting it in the secondary and doing different variations of it but we decided to go ahead and just age it alone. Once we try it we will see what will go well with it for next years batch.

Jeff said...

Sounds like a great experiment! I have my first Imperial Stout next on my brew list, probably a couple of weeks out.

Seanywonto- I love the idea of rye in a Imperial Stout. I was thinking of doing one with oats, so maybe I will throw some rye in as well.

Mike- I did a amber last year with ancho chilies and cocoa nibs. It is a year old now and it is just starting to mellow (I left mine on the nibs and chilies too long). The anchos will give you plenty of heat, but it goes really well with the cocoa. People can't even tell that it is chilies and chocolate, they often guess cherries?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

How long was too long? I was planning on two weeks.

I racked mine last night and added everything but the coffee (since that will go in closer to bottling). Hopefully I won't get too much spice from half of an Ancho and half a Guajillo in that gallon (seed removed).

Those dried chiles certainly have a deep fruitiness that people aren't used to in fresh chiles.

Jeff said...

I had one chile per half gallon, for one month. You are probably okay.

Did you rehydrate them? I really want to try this again, but in a larger batch size. I really like the complexity I got from the chile/cocoa combo.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The chile pieces sat in the jug with the warm water/cocoa slurry for a few minutes, but I doubt they rehydrated much. Hopefully they won't steal too much beer.

Glad to hear I wasn't overboard, I wanted to be subtle with so much else going on in this one.

Andrei said...

How did you sanitize the chile peppers? There's a photo of them in a tinfoil wrap, so I'm guessing you roasted them?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Nope, I just tossed the chilies right into the secondary (counting on the beer’s high alcohol at that point to protect it). You could certainly give them a quick dip is star san or boiling water if you were worried, but roasting would be tough since the chilies are so dry that they would burn quickly. I would probably go with a quick dip in boiling water next time to get rid of any oil on the outside of the dried peppers and ensure they were sanitary.

I had a chance to taste the inspiration for this beer, Cigar City's Hunnapuh Imperial Stout, last week. It was very good, with a much fuller body and lower carbonation than mine, but a similar balance of flavors. The chile flavor and heat is a bit stronger in mine, because I used the guajillo in addition to the milder ancho.

Nick said...

I have a question regarding the Mayan breakfast Stout and the secondary additions, how much would I increase each of the vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, and peppers for a five gallon batch? I wouldn't think 5 times necessarily (5 gallons vs 1 gallon) Thinking one cinnamon stick (instead of powder), 2-3 peppers, 1 whole vanilla bean, and not sure how much cocoa... thanks in advance!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I don't see any reason it wouldn't scale exactly by volume. That is how I've always dealt with things like this and never had a problem. You can certainly aim low and add more of any of the additives you want after seeing how it tastes.

Soilworker said...

Why did you do such a long boil? How do you account for the boil-off...just add more water at the boil or mash? Cheers!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

For stronger beers I tend to sparge with a bit more water because there is so much sugar left in the grains. It helps to boost efficiency. You can add more grain to account for lower efficiency if you'd prefer not to have a long boil.

JonnyCocco said...

Trying to revive an ancient post. I am brewing up a KBS this coming weekend. Have you had any additional attempts on this since your last post? I am trying to decide if i should just hold off an any coffee/chocolate until my secondary, just before i am going to bottle. Also, do you have any new preferences from experience how to add the chocolate and coffee (techniques, procedures, types of ingredient).

Unknown said...

You mention that the beers were over carbonated. Did you add anything to prime with when bottled? I'm in the process of aging a 1 gallon batch of some maple bourbon oak imperial stout, and plan to add 4.5 oz of syrup soakd chips. I'm wondering if that will suffice to have my bottle carbonate.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Yes, as mentioned down in the notes, 1/2 tsp of sugar per bottle. Now even for smaller batches I batch prime for more precision. If you allow any time for fermentation, you'll need to prime at bottling.

glen martin said...

Stupid question: for the mexican hot chocolate version (subrecipe 3), I'm a little vague on the units. Is that half of a pepper, half a tsp, or half an oz? Ditto, vanilla bean. Cheers!

Kara said...

I might of missed it, but did you put the vanilla beans in whole? Looks like some folks chop them up and others soak them in an alcohol for awhile before putting them in based on some discussion boards I looked at.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I usually split vanilla beans in half lengthwise. The seeds (good stuff) are in the middle, so you want contact between them and the beer. The pod is good too, but chopping it up won't significantly increase surface area. I've had good luck adding vanilla directly to beer, but you can certainly gain some control by infusing vodka/bourbon and dosing that in to taste.

Kara said...

Thanks, Mike! I'll try directly adding them to the beer. I plan on brewing your Dark Winter Saison I from your book, but with a couple of tweaks including adding vanilla in place of rosemary. Recently had a sour at The Bruery Terreux with vanilla in it and loved it.

Unknown said...

How did the gallon containing the vanilla bean turn out? I'm splitting a 10 gal batch of a similar beer in half and am tempted to used vanilla bean after reading this. Did you soak the bean/coffee in any sort of liquor for sanitization?

Thanks again for another great article. I learn something every time I come to your site.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

You can read the full tasting notes at the "Mocha" link at the bottom of the post.

I added them both directly to the beer. You could soak the vanilla bean in bourbon and dose that extract, that's just not my style! Really enjoyed Bottle Logic's Fundamental Observation, they age that on the beans for a few months, something I need to try!

Dave said...

Hey Mike,
Recently purchased an 8 gallon bourbon barrel that contained maple syrup after the bourbon was drained. I brewed 9 gallons of imperial stout this most recent weekend and wondered your thoughts on when to add coffee grounds and chocolate since I plan to age the beer in the barrel for 2-3 months (depending on flavor/taste).

I liked how you added your coarsely ground coffee beans and chocolate in this recipe, but wonder if you would do it differently given the barrel and length of time aging? Considering adding one or both to the barrel about 7 days before I rack to a keg/bottles but interested in your thoughts and if you would still do it in fermenter prior to racking to barrel?

I have subscribed to Sapwood Cellars and wish you the best of brewing and success!


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'd wait and add them post-barrel. That way you don't have to get them out of the barrel, and you can leave some of the batch without. I've moved to whole coffee beans, 24-48 hours is usually plenty. Haven't done much my cocoa nibs, but I have some to toast for a stout this winter.