I’ve been planning this beer for a long time. I was originally going to brew it for a homebrew fest in March, but was overwhelmed with the desire to do a Berliner Weisse instead at the last minute. As a result, I pushed this one on my schedule a month, in time for another homebrew fest in April. I will post more about both of these fests later.
Though it’s an English style originally, where I’m from, milk stout, also known as cream or sweet stout, is pretty much defined by Lancaster Brewing Company’s interpretation. The LBC Milk Stout is a roasty, delicious brew, but I think it’s on the drier end of the sweet stout spectrum.
These beers have a fairly high terminal gravity, resulting not just from the normal methods of mashing at a higher temperature and yeast selection, but also from the special ingredient that gives milk stouts their name, lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk that is added, normally during the boil, to stouts to give them a fuller body.
Unlike other sugars used in brewing to dry beers out and raise alcohol content, lactose is not fermentable by normal beer yeast. It is not normally added at a high enough rate to make the beer’s flavor much sweeter, but it can balance the bitterness of roasted grains found in stouts. I added one pound at the beginning of the boil.
As you can guess from the name, I’m not just making a milk stout, though, I’m also adding chocolate. If you’ve glanced below at the grain bill, you know that I’m also using oats. All I’m missing is coffee to make this a “breakfast stout.” I considered adding it, but I want the chocolate to be a little bit more prominent than I think coffee would allow for. I’ve never used chocolate before, so for the method, I’m going low and early. I’ve opted for five ounces of a local dark chocolate, five minutes before the end of the boil. Five ounce is on the low side of what I’ve seen recommended, but adding it in the boil still leaves the option of adding more during conditioning.
The chocolate I’m using is from Wilbur in the form of their Dark Chocolate Buds. I took a small portion, a couple cups or so, of the boiling wort in a glass bowl and added the chocolate to it. I stirred it up as the chocolate melted and then added it back into the boil.
I have used oats in several beers, but the pound and a half I used this time was the most I’ve used so far. They are added right into the mash with the rest of the grains. This is a three grain beer, as I decided to try out some chocolate wheat malt. I recently used pale chocolate and regular chocolate malts combined in a mild and found that it added a new layer of complexity to one of my favorite styles to brew. As this is a stout, I already had plenty of roasted barley to give color, and since I was adding lactose, I didn’t think I’d need much crystal malt for sweetness, so I decided to load up on a combination of chocolate wheat and pale chocolate malts and see what kind of flavors they would add. Two pounds of chocolate wheat may be excessive, but I wanted to make sure it was enough to make a discernible difference for me to form an opinion on the grain.
My recipe and brew day procedure are below, but I reserve the option to add more chocolate to secondary…
Style: 13B. Sweet Stout
Brew Date: 2/25/2014
Expected Serve Date: 4/13/2014
Expected FG: 1.023
Estimated ABV: 6.9%
58.8% 10 lb. Maris Otter
11.7% 2 lb. Chocolate Wheat
5.8% 1 lb. Pale Chocolate
5.8% 1 lb. Roasted Barley
2.9% .5 lb. 80L Crystal
8.8% 1.5 lb. Oats
5.88% 1 lb. Lactose
60 min 15 IBU 1 oz. Willamette 5.5% AA
20 min 9 IBU 1 oz. Willamette 5.5% AA
White Labs 005 British Ale Yeast
5 oz. Dark Chocolate with 5 minutes left in the boil
Add 20 quarts of water at 166º to the grains to achieve a temperature of 154º and hold the temperature for one hour.
Sparge with 15 quarts of water at 170º until six gallons of wort is collected.
One hour boil.
Ferment at room temperature in six gallon carboy until signs of active fermentation cease (about a week), then rack to secondary in five gallon carboy.
Check gravity and taste a sample to decide if more chocolate is needed then proceed as necessary…