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Root Beer Stout

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 28 February 2017 at 10:33
Root Beer Stout

On 15 February 2015, I brewed a 1-gallon batch of Root Beer Stout, using a pre-packaged mix from Hop Hero.

I will say this right up front: I have never used a mix from Hop Hero before, and my wife had accidentally thrown away the instructions, so I went ahead with the brew using the method that I always use for brewing. By the time I was into the mash, I was concerned that I might have inadvertently screwed a couple of things up; however, I am confident that - in the end - I will have very decent, very drinkable beer. Any faults with this brew will be mine alone, and not the fault of Hop Hero’s product or instructions. Or, everything could be just fine in the end, with no measurable differences. More on this later.

Here is Hop Hero’s website: http://hophero.com/

Here is the link to the Root Beer Stout: http://hophero.com/recipe-kits/all-grain/hop-hero-recipes/1-gallon-recipe/root-beer-stout.html

Here is the description of Root Beer Stout, from Hop Hero:

Quote

This Stout is perfectly balanced with a nice flavorful classic Root Beer soda flavor. The dark roasted malts combined nicely with the richness of the Root Beer, creating a refreshing stout that goes fast at parties! It's also awesome poured over a some vanilla ice cream!


The instructions included several useful stats, but as I said they were accidentally thrown away; however, the website provides these stats:

•ABV - 6%
•IBUs - 20

The contents of the pre-packaged mix include:

•A bag of milled pre-mixed grains for the stout; about 3.4 pounds
•0.23 oz of Magnum hops (12.5 AA), to be added at 60 minutes
•0.25 oz of Willamette hops (5 AA) to be added at 5 minutes
•A sealed packet of Safale 04 yeast
•A sealed packet of Root Beer extract, to be added 7 days into fermentation

First impressions: I really like this guy’s enthusiasm, his creativity with the various recipes and the helpful tone of the website. There is definitely something for everyone there, including some grains and equipment, as well as his own all-grain starter kits for various-sized batches of beer. Along with the Root Beer Stout, I purchased an American Cream Ale for my dad, and the Irish Stout for my son. I’m looking forward to seeing how all three turn out.

As far as the brew itself, I believe it went fairly well, all things considered. Lacking the instructions, I went with what I was familiar with and followed the procedure shown in this video from Brooklyn Brew Shop:

https://vimeo.com/11354805

The only real issue that I encountered was during the sparge; because of the amount of gains (about 3.4 pounds), I had some trouble recirculating the runnings through the strainer; however, I didn’t spill any, and although the going was slow, we got there. The rest of the brew was without incident, and I ended up with just a little over a gallon of wort. I pitched the S04 as usual, and noticed this morning that fermentation is indeed beginning. Success! (I hope….)

Per my usual procedure, I’ll remove the blowoff tube at BrewDay+3, and replace it with an airlock. On BrewDay+7, I will add the Root Beer Extract.

As always, comments, feedback, suggestions etc. are always appreciated.

More as it happens, etc. &c….

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2017 at 10:35
Quote 20 February 2017 -

The stout is looking good so far; I switched out the blow-off tube for an airlock today. Fermentation was very active for the first couple of days, then slowed down considerably; this seems to be about the norm when using this yeast.


Quote 24 February 2017 -

I took a peek at this beer last night, and it looks as though everything is on schedule.

The stout is looking nice and dark, but not "muddy." It smelled good, as well, with some definite character that was certainly reminiscent of root beer, but not actually like it.

Because 7 days had passed, I added the root beer extract that came with the mix. It had no sweetness to it, but definitely smelled like root beer, and basically tasted like root beer would with all of the sugar taken out. The real effect, however, was on how the beer smelled; it immediately pumped up the "root-beeriness" of the stout, and I'll be looking forward to seeing how this ends up. Because of the residual sweetness that I expect the beer to have, I am guessing that we're actually going to end up with something that is quite "root-beer-ish."

I'll most likely bottle it the first weekend in March - maybe the weekend after; at that time, I'll probably have a little left over for a sample, and we can get an idea of what we're ending up with.
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Here is the label that I put together for this beer -

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2017 at 10:38
Here are some additional stats, provided by Hop Hero, who was kind enough to send the instructions that I had lost:

OG - 1061
FG - 1.015
ABV - 6%
IBUs - 38 (this is in conflict with the amount shown on the website - might be the SRM?)
Mash Efficiency (using method outlined in instructions) - 68%

I'd like to have this stout ready in time for sampling on Saint Patrick's Day, so I will try to bottle it this weekend. I may or may not achieve this goal...we'll see.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 March 2017 at 09:40
Quote 4 March 2017 -

I put this beer in to cold crash Saturday evening, 4 March 2017. It's probably not necessary with this stout, but I do like to compact the sediment down in order to get that last little bit out of the fermenter.

I will try to bottle it tonight or tomorrow, and will hopefully get a wee sample at that time.


Quote 9 March 2017 -

I bottled this beer last night, 8 March 2017, and I believe that I am on to something pretty good with it.

The beer looked really nice, with a deep, dark, almost thick-looking colour that reminded me of melted chocolate or coffee. I couldn't tell how "clear" it was, but it didn't appear cloudy or muddy, so I think we did well, there

The aroma was really nice - there were the expected roasty notes that I've come to appreciate in the stouts that I've brewed, along with a chocolate- and vanilla-like thing that was really nice and well-balanced. The Magnum and Willamette hops were, I think, a really nice choice that blended right into the character of the beer with no competition that I could detect. The main impressions I got were easily reminiscent of root beer, but I must stress that I am not good at coming up with these types of descriptors; mainly, it simply smelled really good!

This pre-packaged mix came with a sealed package of priming sugar; I didn't weigh the amount, but my #2 son, who had brewed one of Hop Hero's mixes before (an Irish Stout) said it seemed to be just right, so I didn't question it. I dissolved the sugar in about 1/3 cup of heated water and proceeded to bottle the beer.

I was just able to get 9 bottles from this batch, with about a half-cup left over for sampling. There was indeed a definite character of root beer, with a mild, roasty, chocolaty-coffee-like flavor that had some other things going on. As with the aroma, there seemed to be a hint of vanilla and other notes that did indeed add up to root beer. It was smooth, it was very drinkable, and I was pretty impressed with it. I sure liked what I tasted, and can't wait to see how it finishes up. Carbonation, bottle conditioning, and simple time will be the final determining factors, but it certainly made a very good first impression.

In two or three weeks, we'll see what we have....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 April 2017 at 08:49
I sampled this finished beer for the first time this past Saturday, 1 April 2017, and it was very good!

I made the mistake of serving it fairly cold, so it took a little time for the flavours to make themselves known to me. At first, all I tasted was a good, roasty stout, with some chocolaty notes; however, as the beer warmed up a bit, the root beer and vanilla flavours really started to become apparent, blending in with the sharper tones to smooth everything out and provide a nice, balanced, very root-beer-like experience.

The appearance was beautiful - very dark, like a nice coffee, with no muddiness at all. Thee could have been a little more head to it, but that could very well develop over time, and the very cold temperature that I served it at might have something to do with it, as well.

In all, I am impressed with this, and thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of you who are thinking about trying it, you will probably not be disappointed.
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Here's a photo, from 1 April 2017:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2017 at 15:59
I tried another one of these over the weekend; this time, I let the beer sit out and "warm up" (bad choice of words) to about 50 degrees or so before serving. I think it was a good choice and the beer seemed a little more like it should be because of it.

There's a definite chocolate and vanilla aspect to this beer, along with a roastiness works very well. These elements provide a solid base for the small addition of the root beer extract during the fermentation... put it all together, and you do indeed get a very definite root beer quality that seems to develop even more a you drink the beer.

Good stuff - highly recommended!
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