You know you’ve got a special wife when she will drive you half way around the city on New Years eve as you dart in and out of establishments trying to find someone, anyone serving a quality stout. Alas I think the middle of summer is a bit of a desert in terms of the good stuff, there are a few options on the market but none of them really tickled my fancy (to be fair I hadn’t discovered Panheads black top at that stage, and Hallertau double stout wasn’t on the shelf). I left 2013 without a stout… And woke up the next day to brew one myself. A couple of years ago I was enjoying a special reserve extra stout by Emersons at Galbraiths in Auckland, I was completely blown away by it… Coffee, chocolate, liquorice and hints of rum and raisin… All held together by an interesting water profile, slightly salty, that really brought out the liquorice notes and a great snappy finish.. I had to make this beer!
This is the beer that we are launching with. It won a gold medal at the soba NHC in 2012 and a bronze medal in 2013 (under-pitched that version and it struggled to clean itself up during fermentation). So Why a stout like this instead of the trusty pale ale or IPA? Well firstly I'm not sure how the beer is going to sell, I have no idea about that end of the business just yet and I don't want a pale hoppy beer sitting on the shelf for 6 months before someone buys it and decides its shit, writing off our beer on the spot. A strong dark beer will only improve as time goes by (as long as its properly brewed). Second is that there just aren't enough of these beers on the shelf. Its what Im always looking for and its one of my favourite styles and this venture is primarily about me sharing my interests with a greater audience.
This version handles some hefty late hopping rather well and Ive experimented with most of the notable New Zealand varieties. From Motueka and Southern Cross, to Cascade and Kohatu. Every combo seems to work well and its the kind of beer that has layers of unfolding flavours and smells which age gracefully and only seem to get better. Im giving this brew a combination of Styrian Goldings, Riwaka and Southern Cross at flameout. To be honest I don't think it resembles Emersons stout any more but its inspired by the skills of the brewers down the coast.
5KG Gladfiled Ale Malt
500g Gladfield Vienna
400g Weyerman Chocolate Malt 1175 EBC
400g Weyerman Roasted Barley 591 EBC
300g Thomas Fawcett Medium Crystal 150 EBC
150g Bairds Pale Chocolate 950 EBC
150g Briess Special Roast 98.5 EBC
80g Thomas Fawcett Dark Crystal 288 EBC
20g Southern Cross Boil 60 mins 38.9 IBU
80g Styrian Goldings Steep 20 min 9.3 IBU
15g Riwaka Steep 20 min 1.7 IBU
15g Southern Cross Step 20 min 4.2 IBU
2.4g Yeast nutrient
0.8g Koppafloc kettle finings
22g Safale US-05 dry yeast
12/04/2014 - Milled grains and mashed in with 22L of water at 70C for a 60 minute rest at 64C. Sparged with 20L of 5.5 PH adjusted water slowly for 40 minutes. Boiled for 30 minutes then added the first hop addition. Boiled for a further 60 minutes added nutrients and finings then killed the heat and aded the steeping hops. Left to stand for 20 minutes. Chilled, added pure oxygen at a rate of 1L per minute for two minutes (Used extra because of the high gravity). Added yeast and left to ferment at 19C
This style requires some attention to your water. Make sure to adjust the PH of the mash to 5.2 I use Calcium Hydroxide to buffer some of the acidity in the roasted malts which would otherwise drop my PH to well below 4.5 This also means that I can add calcium ions without additional chloride or sufate ions (I like to keep the latter on the low side for this beer at about 30ppm). Also a touch of Sodium Bicrabonate to further buffer this drop and add sodium ions. You really want at least 20 to 25ppm of sodium in a beer like this to make all the flavours pop and get that liquorice thing happening.