Nov 152012

This beer started off life with me wanting to make an original beer. I have previously made an extract chocolate porter and wanted to make a stout version. I started off by taking a stout recipe and adding to it, you guessed it, chocolate and vanilla. The challenge in making this beer is keeping the taste nicely balanced and not making it too bitter with adding chocolate. I also had to consider how much vanilla to add and when to give a nice subtle vanilla flavour which did not overpower the beer. One of the reasons why I started all-grain brewing is that you can experiment and come up with some original beers. So for the chocolate I decided to use chocolate malt and cocoa powder. The coca powder used was low fat to prevent adding too much fat/oil into the beer which could mess with head retention. The cocoa powder would also add some bitterness into the beer so I decided to add some lactose to try and balance this out in the taste. I made my recipe on the brewpal app as follows.

OG 1.050
FG 1.011
5% ABV
34 IBU



4kg Marris Otter 77%
250g Amber Malt 4.9%
250g Flaked Barley 4.9%
200g Roasted Barley 3.9%
200g Crystal Malt 3.9%

25g Target Hops 1hr
25g Fuggles 10mins
100g Low Fat Cocoa Powder 10mins
50g Lactose 10mins
2 teaspoons Vanilla Paste 10mins
2 teaspoons Vanilla in primary
Irish moss 10mins
Yeast of choice (I used Thames Valley Ale yeast Wyeast 1275 with a starter)


So working out the mash I decided to go with a high mash temp to give a nice stout mouth-feel  so used a single infusion mash at a temp of 68°c for 90 mins. I heated up 13 litres of strike water up to around 86°c and added it to my mash tun. I then put the lid on and let the cooler heat up and the water cool slightly. When the temp reached 76°c I added my grain. Once the grain was mixed into the water and the temp had equalised I hit my target temp of 68°c. The grain was left to mash for 90 mins.

I then heated up 20 litres of sparge water to 77°c. The grain was then fly sparged and 26 litres of wort made it into the boiler. The wort was then boiled for an hour with the additions added at the required times (as above). After the hour was up the wort was cooled and added to my fermenter and the yeast starter added. I then added another 2 teaspoons of vanilla paste and the beer was left to ferment for 14 days. I then kegged the beer into my king keg and batch primed with 100g of dry malt extract.


When I was kegging this beer it smelled great and i could detect the vanilla. This got me worried, as I didn’t want to overpower the beer with vanilla, but rather have a nice subtle choc vanilla taste. Pouring this beer out of my keg into the glass I was pleased with the carbonation and the thick creamy white head that formed. The beer gave off a coffee vanilla aroma with hints of liquorice and chocolate. The hops could also be detected but again quite a subtle aroma, so far so good. The taste of this stout was great with a usual roasted coffee taste with a subtle after taste of chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla stood out more than the chocolate to be honest. I was worried that the lactose added might make the beer a bit sweet tasting but it turned out that it just countered the extra bitterness of the cocoa powder. I was really pleased with the outcome as the beer had ended up roughly how I wanted it to taste.


Jan 162012

Sorcerer’s Stout (Guinness clone?)

This is my own extract recipe for a stout which I hoped would resemble my favourite which is of course Guinness.

This recipe was made using the brewpal app which can be found on the apple app store.I also added two bottles of guinness which had been soured in an open bowl for 7 days. This is supposed to give that guinness twang to the brew, if it does we shall see!

OG 1.040

FG 1.010

ABV 4.0%


1kg Light dry malt extract £6.99

1.5kg Light liquid malt extract £10.25

0.5kg crystal malt £1.75

0.25kg Roasted Barley £1.75

0.25kg Chocolate Malt £1.75

113g of Goldings Hops £4.95

2 Bottles of “soured” Guinness

1 Pkt safeale Yeast £2.10

Irish Moss


Total cost £27.79 which works out at 70 pence a pint.


1. First heat up 2 gallons of water to 68 °c and add a tablespoon of Gypsum.

2. Add all grain mixed into bag and add to pot.

3. Steep grains for 30 mins.

4. Remove grain and add 1kg of dry malt extract, bring to boil.

5. Add 56g(2oz) of hops after hot break.

6. after 30 mins 2nd hop addition of 28g (1oz) of hops.

7. At 30 mins boil the soured guinness for 15 mins in a seperate pan.

8. At 45 mins take off heat and add the liquid malt extract, the boiled soured guinness and 1 tablespoon of Irish moss.

9. At flame out (60 mins) add 28g (1oz) of hops.

10. Cool pot in ice bath.

11 Add wort to sterilised fermenter and top up with water to 23l at 20 °c, pitch yeast.

12 Ferment and bottle or keg with 100g of light spray malt.

13. The hardest bit, let the brew age for a couple of weeks.



I love Guinness or any dry stout and hoped this beer would be close. Id Read on some different forums that the secret ingredient in Guinness is an extract which is soured Guinness, so thought I would try it out.
I bottled some of the beer as christmas presents to family members and kegged the rest for my self. The results were pretty good. The stout was carbonated just right, and by using malt extract to prime it with it gave the beer a similar mouthfeel, as I couldnt use nitrogen as Guinness does.

The taste was close to Guinness, but more like the original and not the draught. It did have the twang that I was after, and it is a cracking dry stout. I did taste this beer side by side with guinness and there was a noticeable difference, but they were very similar, and dare I say it the sorcerer’s stout was better!
Conclusion – a great stout , will definitely make again.

Aug 252011

Milestone Black Pearl Irish Stout.

Milestone is a craft brewery located in Newark, Nottinghamshire in the UK. They produce and distribute fine real ales have won many prestigious awards over the years.
The milestone brewery produces real ale beer kits that are modelled on ales that are brewed at the brewery. Milestone black pearl Irish stout can be bought in bottles from the brewery or you can make it yourself. This is kit is described as “Authentic Irish Stout. Dark & Mysterious” and is made with premium malted barley and hops. This a 3kg kit which makes 40 pints of the black stuff. The kit costs around £22, which works out at 55 pence a pint. The kit is made up of two cans of extract and a sachet of ale yeast.


This kit is extremely easy to make. The two cans of extract were warmed up in pans of hot boiled water (the heat was removed after the water had boiled).  After five mins the cans were opened with a sterilised can opener and the contents were empted into a sterilised fermenter.The cans were then topped up with hot boiled water and stirred to dissolve any remaining extract. The water/extract mixture was then poured into the fermenter. The mixture was then stirred and topped up with cold water to the 40 pint mark. The temperature of the wort was 22°c. The specific gravity was measured with my hydrometer and measured 1040. The yeast was then sprinkled onto the wort and the fermenter lid with air lock was put on. The wort smelled really malty as did the whole kitchen and I was looking forward to drinking this stout.

The fermentation of this brew was vigorous and a large foamy head formed quickly and was pressed against the lid of the fermenter. The airlock had to be removed and changed twice as the brew forced its way out!. After 5 days fermentation was over and the FG was 1010. The beer was then batch primed see here and syphoned into my keg. The beer was left to carbonate and condition for four weeks.

Taste and conclusion.

The waiting was killing me but I did wait the full four weeks before tasting. When I opened the tap on the keg and poured the first pint I chuckled to myself. The beer smelled like a class Irish stout, and poured like one too, pitch black with a storm of white as the beer settled. The head was thick and creamy, the beer had good carbonation. The taste was rich and smooth with a good body. There are hints of liquorish and chocolate in the taste mixed with the an authentic Irish stout taste. The head remained all the way to the bottom and I quickly poured another one. This kit is highly recommended and I have made FOUR batches of this beer. Want some authentic black stuff? Look no further.


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