Sunday, May 9, 2010

Plain Breakfast Stout Tasting

Here is the first of the four tastings of the Breakfast Stout Riffs I brewed back in November.  I though the plain portion would be a good place to start before moving onto the spinoffs: Canadian (Chocolate/Coffee/Maple), Dessert (Chocolate/Vanilla), and Mexican (Chocolate/Chili/Vanilla/Cinnamon).   Oddly all of the beers ended up with too much carbonation (this may be a result of the 1/2 tsp of table sugar I added to each bottle instead of my usual technique of mixing a priming solution into the whole batch before bottling.)

Base Imperial Stout TastingPlain Breakfast Stout Riff

Appearance – Big foamy pour, a results of more carbonation than expected. Once the foam settles down the beer is an impenetrable black, even when held to the light. Very dense, mocha head, good retention and lacing.

Smell – Sharp bitter chocolate, oddly resiny. Not a complex nose, but not unpleasant either.

Taste – Solid bitterness, very clean. The carbonation and roast enhance the hop bitterness, which tastes more assertive than 46 IBUs should in a 1.091 beer. The chocolate from the nose comes through nicely, along with some espresso. It is missing the dark fruit and/or caramel I was expecting the Crystal 120 would bring. Just a bit boring for an Imperial Stout, more in the English tradition.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation is strong enough that the beer foams a bit in my mouth when I take a sip, not right for a rich ponderous beer. Once it warms and I swirl out some off the carbonation, the body seems smoother and fuller. The whole batch ended up over-carbonated, not sure why.

Drinkability & Notes – Not a great beer on its own, but this recipe is intended to be a stage for a variety of other flavors. It may improve with some age, but I don't see this “plain” portion ever being a great beer.


JC Tetreault said...

Mike, to some extent, do you think your impression of what a great beer is has changed significantly over the years? ie. would you have been less down on this beer if you made/tasted this ~5 years ago (over carb issues aside)?

also, I have made a number of RIS' with special B, and it seems like it takes ~9-12 months for those dark fruit flavors to emerge. its a very strange phenomenon, as they seem to be evident from the beginning in, say... a BSDA.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

My tastes and expectations certainly have changed over the years. I’ve also gotten pretty used to hitting my brewing target, I’m a much harsher critic of my homebrew than I am of commercial beer (I don’t know their intent).

Interesting note on Special B. It’ll be interesting to see how this batch changes over time. I’m looking forward to cracking one of the other three tonight.

Lee said...

That's a really tasty sounding recipe. Too bad the carbonation is a little high.

What I've taken to doing is to boil sugar water solution and store it in a sanitized vessel. I can then take 1 ml pipette (like this ) to dispense evenly into bottles. You can sanitize the pipette first.

If you have a canning jar and a flame source (torch or alcohol lamp) you can even sterilize a canning jar, and have a steady supply of bottling solution that you can dispense sterilely.

If you're interested, BYO replicator did a breakfast stout clone recipe, somewhat different than yours. Here it is.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Great idea on the pipettes, I'll have to get some of those the next time I'm doing a split batch like this.

That is the recipe I based mine off of, but I made a couple malt/hop subs based on what I had on hand.

Lee said...

I didnt' realize that without the coffee / chocolate additions. Makes sense now.

Matt said...

I attempted to prime each individual bottle once and ended up way over shooting my carbonation target. I ended up opening all the bottles to relieve some of the pressure. I double checked my math and it really should not have been too much per bottle but it clearly was. I just do the simple syrup thing into the bottle bucket now (perhaps in the near future be kegging everything).