Thursday, August 9, 2012

Toasted Oatmeal Coffee Stout Tasting

A cool frothy mug of Coffee Stout.While coffee stout was only invented some 20 years ago (maybe at New Glarus?), but roasted barley had been used as cheap filler for expensive coffee for centuries. As in fruit beers, I think coffee works best as a subtle addition to enhance flavors and aromas already present in a beer. When I drink coffee, it tends to be black and potent, but I don’t care for dark French/Italian roasts. That was my goal for this recipe, lots of coffee, but no acrid/charcoal. Full coffee aromatics with more (hop) bitterness than you might expect when so many coffee stouts go in a sugary direction. The oats were added to provide the full body people expect in a stout, without the sweetness of crystal malts.

As with the second batch of Dank-Amber IPA, I prefer this batch of Coffee Stout to the first. The coffee is a bit more subdued, the mouthfeel is more rounded, and the oats make a larger contribution. The next step for this beer will be trying to get similar flavors after switching to American 2-row and 001/1056, which will make it easier to brew when we have a silo of base-malt and plenty of yeast to repitch. From there we’ll just have to find a local roaster to work with, and dial in exactly how much coffee character we want.

Get Out of Bed Stout #2

Appearance – Nearly opaque brunette with a dense tan head suspended above. With all of the oats it isn’t an especially clear beer, but in a dark beer who really cares? It doesn’t look out of place in a coffee cup.

Smell – Freshly roasted coffee, chocolate, and French toast? Maybe it is the toasted oats and crystal malt coming though, adding a nutty/bready aroma. Great balance, the coffee is present, but doesn’t overwhelm the flavors of the base stout.

Taste – The coffee flavor comes through well, round and fresh. It is the primary flavor, but it mingles with the mocha character from the roasted barley and chocolate malt. Otherwise very clean, dropping the small late-boil addition was the right choice. Firm bitterness, but as with all of these HopShot beers it is not as sharp as the IBUs suggest.

Mouthfeel – Creamy body, low carbonation. Could be a bit fuller to meet the expectations of an oatmeal stout, but it is close lacking the tannic character of the first batch.

Drinkability & Notes – Even on a warm summer night this is easy to drink in quantity. The Country Choice toasted oats are not as potent as home-toasted oats would have been, but in this case I think it works well. There isn't much I'd change on this one, hopefully I can get similar results without the Maris Otter and English yeast.


Unknown said...

I'm thinking about making and Imperial Southern English Brown with coffee, and other spices as a Winter Warmer in a couple months. Do you have any tips on choosing the right coffee to fit the beer? Do you think 1oz for a day would be sufficient, or too overpowering?

Also, did you sanitize the beans on any way?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

That sounds about right to mix with spices. I'm thinking of doing something similar with an imperial version of this with cinnamon and vanilla (in a rum barrel). What spices are you thinking?

Coffee is about personal preference and freshness. I don't like really dark roasts, so I don't add them to coffee. You can get some beans and do cold extractions to see how they work as ice coffee, may be different than what you like hot.

Unknown said...

Haha, I was actually planning on doing the Imperial Brown with cinnamon and vanilla in addition to the coffee. Great minds think alike, I guess.

Scott in NJ said...

It has been very helpful following this recipe development. I will be applying what I have learned here when brewing my own breakfast stout. I too love Founders, although my riff is to lower the abv so I can have a few without ending up on the couch for the night. I especially found your notes on the coffee and the toasted oats very useful. Good luck with Modern Times!

Unknown said...

Mike if you were looking to adjust the bill with two row how would do this? Would you throw in something else to replace the depth of flavor you would loose from the Maris Otter?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

You certainly could add a half pound of Victory/Amber/Biscuit to replace that lost maltiness from the base malt switch. However, with all of the other flavors I'm not sure it is necessary. My plan is just to brew it as is, and adjust from there.

If you brew it, let me know how it goes!

Unknown said...

2 row and 001. Thats the plan! I just gotta hunt down some of those toasted oats. Push comes to shove Ill just toast em myself.

Ill brew it early next week.

I also have a nice stash of midnight wheat that in another version of this would sub for the roasted barley and chocolate malt. Just chewing on the different grains I found the midnight wheat to be fuller and rounder than either of those two(if that makes sense). Not sure how that will translate into the beer.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I actually would have toasted the oats myself, but for a 30 bbl batch that won't be an option down the road. We actually weren't impressed by the flavor of the oats (either straight or in the beer), no worries just swapping in another brand of your choice with or without toasting them yourself.

Midnight wheat is huskless, so it would certainly be mellower/smoother, more like Crafa Special. I don't think it would have enough roast to make this a stout. Not that it would be a bad beer, just different.