Tuesday, June 27, 2017

19th Century Guinness Extra Stout

Hose water filter.One hundred years before I was born, around the time my great-grandmother was leaving Ireland, some guy in Dublin was brewing Guinness Extra Stout. I brewed my own batch based on the recipe in Ron Pattinson's Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer. My only tweaks were a slight boost to the Black Patent, and swapping the English ale yeast for Irish. I have no certainty of how close WY1084 is to the yeast Guinness uses today, let alone 135 years ago!

Times have changed, Guinness is opening a brewery in Maryland where they'll be brewing a wide range of mediocre beer and screwing up laws for local craft brewers... like me! They won't be brewing stout though, I guess it is too unthinkable for them to not have "Imported" on the Guinness Draught labels in the US, even if it is only imported from Canada.

My batch of  circa 1883 Extra Stout is still young at six-weeks from brewing and the weather is a too warm to be drinking 7% stout, but I wanted to write up tasting notes for the full-strength version while the diluted "Draught" half of this batch is still on tap to compare. I'll post an updated tasting this winter.

1883 Guinness Extra Stout

Smell – Clean roasty notes of coffee plus brown bread. Relatively straightforward maltiness without dark fruit or caramel. There is an earthy hoppiness, although not as strong as in the diluted half. Thankfully the hint of diacetyl that was there a couple weeks ago is gone.

A glass of Guinness Extra Stout c. 1883.
Appearance – Perfect stout appearance. Dense tan head with staying power. Near black body with a few amber highlights. Surprisingly clear when it isn't opaque.

Taste – Rolling bitterness, coating without being harsh. Bitter, but not as much as the IBUs would suggest. Clean coffee and toast malt. Without the added sticky-oomph of crystal malts, or dark sugar, and with the firm balancing bitterness it doesn’t linger. Clean fermentation, no alcohol heat or other off-flavors. If you told me this was 5.5% ABV I’d probably believe you. Hoping it gets more interesting with age.

Mouthfeel – Relatively thin for a big stout, especially at this OG/FG, but I'd call it medium overall. Medium-low carbonation, which breaks my streak of somewhat over-carbonated dark beers.

Drinkability & Notes – In a way it reminds me of a schwarzbier: clean, bright, and fresh maltiness. Easy to drink for a stout with both high alcohol and bitterness, a testament to simple recipe design.

Changes for Next Time – Far too early to be making proclamations about what to change. I’m looking forward to tasting this beer after six-months in the cellar, once the weather cools off.


Batch Size: 5.00 gal
SRM: 39.7
IBU: 73.3
OG: 1.075
FG: 1.022
ABV: 7.0%
Final pH: 4.58
Brewhouse Efficiency: 67%
Boil Time: 120 mins

82.8% - 12.5 lbs Crisp Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter
10.3% - 1.60 lbs Muntons Amber
6.9% - 1.00 lbs Simpsons Black Malt

Sacch I - 40 min @ 152F
Sacch II - 20 min @ 160F

2.50 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 90 min
2.50 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 60 min
2.50 oz East Kent Golding (Pellets, 4.80% AA) @ 30 min

2.3 g Chalk @ mash
0.5 Whirlfloc @ 5 min


Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Recipe scaled to be brewed as a 5 gallon batch. 

5/6/17 4 L 1.034 starter with 6 week out yeast.

Dissolved 17 g of chalk in 30 oz of filtered water. Chilled and carbonated to get it to dissolve.

pH measured 5.19. Added .6 cup of the resulting saturated liquid to the mash. pH measured 5.25 at mash temperature, 5.39 pH when chilled. Both with Halo.

Chilled to 66F.

Left at 67 F to get started. Got up to 70F overnight, moved to fridge, slowly brought back to ~67F actual temperature to ferment.

1.075 post-boil. 5 gallons pitched with 2.5 L of starter.

Left at 67 F to get started. Got up to 70F overnight, moved to fridge, slowly brought back to ~67F actual temperature to ferment.

5/26/17 Bottled 5 gallons of the full-strength half with 95 g of table sugar. Aiming for 2.2 volumes of CO2.

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