Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Barista (Mocha Stout) -- Tasting Notes

** Update:  This one received a score of 35.5 at the Philly NHC competition in the 21A category.  Both judges said that they would "pay for this beer".  Both judges noticed poor head retention and some slight harshness (although they said it wasn't a bad quality in this beer).  One said it could be a bit drier.  I agree with all of their commentary.  **

Back in February, when I was going through a dark beer phase, I brewed up an American Stout with both chocolate nibs and cold, french-pressed coffee added after primary fermentation.  I really wanted to get a nice, chewy stout that would have a balanced finish between chocolate and coffee.  It is a nice recipe, perhaps a bit out of season.  Will definitely brew again, maybe adding up to 8oz of cacao nibs and keeping the coffee as indicated in the recipe.  Tasting notes below:

A - Jet black, slight head formation but quickly disappates to a ring around the edges.  This is a common problem with my dark beers that I've yet to overcome.

S - Quite a bit of coffee on the nose with a bit of chocolate.  Almost smells like my coffee in the morning thats dosed with a dash of chocolate milk.  This is more or less what I was trying to accomplish.

T -  All coffee with a bit of residual sweetness.  Almost no chocolate, maybe a touch on the finish.

M - Quite thick.  Could probably benefit from a slight increase in carb volume, but it feels how a stout should, in my opinion.

O - I'd definitely brew this again, albeit with a few tweaks.  I'd definitely dial back the coffee a bit or spring for some better coffee.  For this batch, I just went ahead with the Peet's Major Dickinson blend.  Living in Philly, I'm surrounded by hipster coffee shops, so I should be able to do better than this.  Also, I'd probably up the dosing of cacao nibs by increasing to 7-8oz instead of the 5oz.  I get a bit of chocolate in the nose, but not at all the flavor I was seeking.  Also, I might mash a tad lower in the hopes of drying it out a bit more to remove some of the residual sweetness.  Definitely will brew this again though in the fall.

The Barista Mocha Stout
5.25 gallon batch -- 60 minute boil
Est OG: 1.069
Est FG: 1.017
Est ABV: 6.84%
IBU: 57.5
SRM: 46

13lb Maris Otter
1lb Chocolate Malt
8oz Carafa III
8oz Carafoam
8oz Caramel 80L
8oz Roasted Barley

1.5oz Magnum @ 60 min (57.5 IBU)

1500ml starter Denny's Favorite WY1450

5oz chocolate nibs in secondary
2oz coffee in 12oz water, cold-steeped overnight added to secondary

Mash @ 153f for 90 minutes


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