Saturday, 1 November 2014

BIAB #11 - Black Forest Stout 2 (Re-brew)

Just under a year ago I designed my first all-grain beer recipe, a Black Forest Stout. My skills were still pretty green and despite ending up with a perfectly drinkable beer, it fell short of what I had in mind. However, one surprising thing that came out of it was the unexpected attention it received. Jim from Beers Manchester took a shine to it, as did Steve from The Beer O’Clock Show which resulted in me sending them both a bottle by way of thanks for the support. As if to mark the anniversary of this brew, Steve invited me to participate in their occasional homebrew special podcasts and suggested that I re-brew the stout to feature on the show. I wouldn't normally repeat a brew as there’s a wealth of beers out there I’d like to explore, but as my brewing skills have come a long way since those early days, I liked the idea of attempting to produce the beer I was aiming for originally. I was planning on making it bigger in every way possible - up the ABV, increase body and head retention, use real cacao nibs and double the amount of cherries. My vision was to brew a luxurious, rich, dessert beer.

Having already researched, planned and prepared what seemed to be a decent recipe, I decided to change it at the last minute, all because I had sampled an excellent chocolate stout at the Homebrew Camp. Instead of adding cacao nibs I put a couple of milk chocolate bars in there! Bad move! It resulted in a messy wort, full of debris and a nasty looking film caking the surface (I obviously didn't consider the amount of fat that would be in the chocolate!). Also, worried that there wasn't enough cherry flavour coming through, I threw some more cherries in during the conditioning and also the remaining kirsch during bottling. This was an even BIGGER mistake! The result was an severely alcohol heavy beer (we’re talking barley wine territory) that was extremely overcarbed, these things were dangerous! Whilst dumping them down the drain, one particular bottled decided it was time to redecorate the kitchen! This shit got everywhere! The rest were opened in safety, under water in a bucket. So I shall not be doing a full write-up of this disaster, instead I shall be re-brewing in the next week or so, this time sticking closely to my original recipe and definitely not changing things at the last minute! Important lessons have been learnt!