Hoppy Brown Belgian Stout

Back in July I made my second beer using the Grainfather system. Not one to back away from going overboard a little, I decided to do a take on a stout and add a bit of Belgian flare. The idea was simple. Make a good stout, pull back on the grain bitterness a bit, and the use a golden Belgian ale yeast. The hops too needed to complement the yeast.

Choosing the grains was the easy part: pale, crystal, chocolate, and roasted barley. Yeah, but what kind of pale? American? English? Belgian? Being the Belgian influence needed to be recognized, the pilsner malt would be good. SRM of 2, so nice and pale. The amount? 12 pounds.

Deciding on the SRM level of the crystal was next. Using BeerSmith helped. A compromise here to keep the beer from getting too dark and too toasted: 40L at 12 ounces. Just a touch.

A regular chocolate malt was chosen at 350 SRM and the roasted barley at 300. For now, the debittered malt was skipped. After, this is a stout base, not a dark Abbey ale.

The total malt bill looks like so:

  • 12 lbs – Pilsner 2 row Belgian malt (2 SRM)
  • 12 oz – Crystal Malt 40L
  • 12 oz – Chocolate malt (350 SRM)
  • 4 oz – Roasted Barley (300 SRM)

Now for the hops

As we are already playing around with the yeast and target taste profile on the malts, why not the hops too. Usually a stout as very little, if any, hop flavor, but yeah, why not? For bittering, Northern Brewer is a good one. Here the alphas were at 8.5% and boiled for 60 min. Ahtanum has hints of grapefruit and other citrus flavors and dark fruits are wanted, so in go 2 ounces at whirlpool time. Alphas here were 6%, but with no boil time, they will impart no bitterness. Only hop pellets were used.

  • 1 oz – Northern Brewer (8.5%)
  • 2 oz – Ahtanum (6%)

The yeast was to be Belgian Golden Ale WLP570 from White Labs. The store was out of it though, so Wyeast 1388 was substituted. This is not an exact one for one swap, but it should be close enough for the first go.

Stepping the mash

Aiming for a better mouth feel this time, a I decided on a step mash. Strike water as 120 F and the mash started at 113 after dough in. The Grainfather is a recirculating system, so no water is added to increase the mash temperatures.

  • 113 F @ 20 min
  • 127 F @ 20 min
  • 140 F @ 40 min (mash switch setting)
  • 158 F @ 20 min (mash switch setting)
  • Mash out at 168 F for 10 min

Sparge water temperature was 170 F and enough to collect 6 gallons for boiling. The expectation is to lose 1 gallon during boiling.

The results were quite good. Give it a try with your system.

Happy brewing!