Take a walk on the dark side!

dark beer, how to brew it, know what you drink, stout -

Take a walk on the dark side!

Why not reading about beer while brewing? Grab one of our educational materials to read until you can grab a glass of beer! These articles will lead you through the path of making beer with useful brewing tips.

Probably you remember the cheesy anecdote about my granny who loved to sit back in her comfy chair at the end of the day in the company of her favourite dark beer that was either a Porter or a Stout. Maybe that is the basic reason why I love these beers today better than the other types. Around the time of my college years, my friends often found me with a novel in one hand and a beer in the other. I soon discovered that Stouts keep me awake and put me in a relaxing mood at the same time, working like a madeleine cookie in the novel titled In search of lost time by Marcel Proust. The protagonist's memory immediately started to flow after the first bites of Madeleine and so did mine, after the first sips of beer.

By the age of 21, I wasn't aware of how many types of beers exist, the light beer-dark beer opposition was the only distinction that seemed apparent to me. Although all of my friends loved this beverage, none of them had the knowledge of making it so I found myself in the library one day, browsing books on brewing. This self-education stood me in good stead, soon I started to figure out how to categorize and how to decide whether a drink is good or bad.

So in case of dark beverages, how can we differentiate Stouts from Porters?

Porters and Stouts are both dark beverages with a strong full-body experience although it's fair to point out what is the basic difference between them. Stouts made from malt or black patent malt that gives the beer an espresso-like character while in the case of Porters, the bigger amount of chocolate-, caramel- and/or brown malt usage gives the beverage its chocolate or coffee-like taste. It's good to remember, due to the expresso character you shouldn't consume more than 4-5 Stouts at one evening if you wouldn't like to stay awake until morning - such as strong coffees, Stouts prevent you from accidents like resting your eye on the overnight bus and waking up next day in a different city.

In the 18th and the first part of the 19th-century Stout was only the name of the stronger version of Porters. The recipes of these two types started to diverge in the second half of the 19th century: Stouts got less patent malt and more brown malt than Porters so the latter became weaker and the former became less dry and sweeter.

If you've ever wondered to the dark side of beer, you may have found that Stouts aren't that strong. Most of them are complex and low in alcohol. The dry versions and the sweeter styles are a kind of appetizing so bring some Stout with yourself if you've been invited to a dinner party, this beverage won't let you down and perfect for socializing.

Why we love this dark pleasure called Stout?

The beer's dark colour comes from the use of roasted barley - using that in a small amount gives the drink's deep colour, the nice flavour of espresso and bitter chocolate and it's also responsible for the drying sensation. The creamy texture is a result of the reduced carbon dioxide - it produces tinier bubbles that marks every sip of the pint.

Let's get familiar with Stouts and learn some tips how to brew them!

AMERICAN STOUT 
+ use winter barley and a sizeable portion of roasted barley (up to 20%)
+ SRM way above 40
+ sugar, brown sugar and molasses are advised
+ simple & easy: one-step mashing and fermentation at room temperature

OATMEAL STOUT
+ beside the usual ingredients (chocolate malt, roasted malt, caramel malt or smoked malt) add oats to the mixture (5-15%)
+ the beta-glucan content of oats makes heavier to drain or sparge the wort. Pro tip: set the mashing water to 40-42 C° and pout it to the malt. The beta glucan dissolves in 42 C°

RUSSIAN IMPERIAL STOUT
+OG 25 P° (it has to ferment until 1°P) - it can't be dry even if OG is so low (you can make it with a lot of Caramel malt and shift mashing to 72 C°)
+ you need slow yeast with strong fermentability
+ you can use any type of hops (from English to American) even cold
+ Chocolate and roasted barley are indispensable in the grain bill
+ When boiling: add dark chocolate or cocoa beans (you can add cocoa while the wort is cold)

COFFEE STOUT
+ add coffee after it's been boiled or add it while it's cold. 
+ avoid the trendy new wave coffees 
+ if you add minced coffee while the wort is cold make sure that you'll be able to separate it from the beer - the mashing bags of the Brewie+ or hop cages are both perfect for this task

MILK/ SWEET STOUT
+ lactose’s sweetening ability is a third of caster sugar - it affects lactose intolerant as milk. Pro tip: if you plan to drink 5-6 milk stouts take care of the consequences - most of us can't decompose lactose in large volumes!

IRISH STOUT
+ One-step mashing at 62 C°
+ Add hops such as Fuggle, East Kent, Targer and Challenger (aroma hops and bitter hops)
+ try this: add just aroma hops and bitter hops with max 5 IBU
+ base malt 80%
+ peeled barley and roasted peeled barley are also necessary
+ peeling is important because husks give bitterness for the beverage
+ GC or Irish moss is also needed
+ strive for simplicity
+ for testing your limits: brew Imperial Stout or Tropical Stout

TROPICAL STOUT
+ use all kinds of malt (between 10°L – 150°L ) for this beer like Maris Otter, Chocolate, Chocolate rye and Crystal malt. 
+ spec B and Spec W roasted barley can be useful
+ use more hops than you've used in your Irish Stout but use only English hops!
+ yeast can be fruity (higher fermentation temperature: between 20-24 °C).