Stouts are one of the most popular styles of beer. It’s got a huge cult following for its delicious and distinctive dark styles. Here, in today’s post, we share with you some of the best-kept secrets from popular brewers for mastering the art of brewing a great stout.
Before we take a look at the tips for brewing stouts, we share with you some fun facts, about this popular brew.
Interesting Facts about Stouts
- It’s an English Invention
While Germany and other European countries may be the homeland for several styles of beers, we can safely say that the stout is an English invention. It was first brewed in the early 18th century. Around, the early 1700s, dark beers were the rage in London, and the term “stout” didn’t denote a particular brew but rather was used to denote the alcoholic strength of beers.
- Stout and Porter aren’t the Same
The word “porter” was used in 1721 to describe a particular dark beer. The term was used because this brew was popular among the porters working along the banks of the Thames in London. Earlier terms, porter, and stout were used interchangeably. However, of late, both these terms have distinct differences.
Porter refers to a beer that is flavoured with roasted malt barley. On the other hand, stout refers to dry stouts (that contain unmalted roasted barley) or sweet stouts (that are made with oatmeal or lactose).
- Oatmeal was a major ingredient in Stouts
Yes, stouts can be made with oatmeal, and this type of stout is sweeter than malt-derived stouts. While using oatmeal, traditionally brewers limited oatmeal to 30%, since if the quantity goes beyond this – it develops a more astringent flavour.
However, this process of brewing stouts using oatmeal began to fall out of favour, and modern stouts usually don’t use any oats.
- Your Stout may contain Oysters!
Like peanut butter and jelly, stouts and oysters is a match made in heaven. This is because the flavour and the body of the dark beer go well with the silky and salty notes of the oyster. Earlier, stouts used to be drunk along with a plate of oysters. This was because oysters were plentiful and made for a great accompanying snack.
However, the exact reason, why oysters were added to the brewing process is unknown. One theory claims that oyster juices were added to enhance nutrition and flavour, while another theory suggests that oysters were used to filter the brew.
- Stouts were a preferred drink of Russian Royalty.
The Russian imperial stout was created as a result of Peter, the Great’s love for dark beer. According to legends (which haven’t been proved), the Russian Tsar visited London during the late 17th century and fell in love with dark beer there.
During the early half of the 18th century, Catherine the Great was importing large volumes of stout from London.
- Stout is a favourite drink of the Irish.
The most popular stout is the Guinness, brewed at the Gate Brewery in Dublin. Invented by Arthur Guinness, this stout has a burnt flavour from the roasted unmalted barley used in it. Stout is the most sold beer in Ireland and is popular in other countries like the USA, UK, and Nigeria.
Now, that we’ve piqued your interest about stouts, here are some of the top tips to take your stouts to the next level.
Tips for Brewing Great Stout
- Use the Boil to Enhance Flavour
Very often, the brewing process is ignored when it comes to factors that impact the flavour output. The method of boiling the brew impacts the final flavour. For instance, if you let the sugars caramelize, then you are likely to get a sweet tasting brew.
- Go Easy on the Grinding Process
When you crush your dark malts finely, it leads to a harsh astringency in the taste of your stout. By cold-mashing and lautering the dark portions of the grains in the kettle, you get only the dark colour and not the bitter flavour notes.
- Leave behind a Little Sugar
Most stouts taste better when it has some residual sweetness. Leave behind a little sugar and don’t dry it completely. This touch of sweetness balances well with the high ABV of the stout.
- Bottle Condition Stouts
Most stouts benefit from a secondary fermentation in the bottle. You can use high flocculating yeast for this process. Such yeasts settle on the bottom of the bottle and add extra carbonation during secondary fermentation.
- Use Unexpected Malts
When you use different malts, it adds layers of complexity to your stout. Using different malts adds complex, rich hues to the stout.
- Keep Esters under Control
While brewing a stout, you want your malts to shine and not have a strong yeast characteristic. Make sure that you don’t ferment the brew completely, or you will end up with fruity notes.
- Reduce the Bitterness from the Hops
The roast malts you use in your stout add the necessary bitter tones. So, dial back the bitterness contributed by the hops.
- Add body without increasing Lactose Content
To add body to your stout, you can try unmalted wheat or oats. Mash the grains at a higher temperature to produce unfermentable sugars. Oats are a great choice for stouts as it gives an earthy and nutty characteristic to the brew.
Stouts are a classic style of beer that never falls out of popularity. Before we finish off; we offer you some simple tips to keep in mind while brewing your next batch of Irish stout, English stout or American stout. Use fresh ingredients wherever possible, and don’t boil for more than 70 to 90 minutes. And, don’t overcomplicate your recipe. Keep it simple and experiment with various factors till you get it right.
And, if you have any further queries on brewing or procuring the best equipment for your brewery in India – shoot us your questions. We would love to hear from you.