Beer Recipe: “Stormy Night” Session Stout

There are many things about spring and summer I love- everything turns green and colorful, the weather is nice (well, for a few weeks until it gets so bloody humid its just oppressive), and its great to finally get outside again.  The beer, however, seems to get far less interesting.  Summer pilsner this, light ale that.  Its understandable- no one wants to sit outside with condensation running down a glass of barleywine.  In an effort to come to a happy medium, I set out to brew something full bodied and flavorful, but clean, drinkable, and lowish alcohol.  I came up with this stout I’ve dubbed Stormy Night.  Corny, I know, but it named itself when the lights started to flicker as I was bottling.

Batch Size: 5 gal/ 18.9L

Malt:
8.5 lb/ 3.86 kg   Munich malt
12 oz/ 340 g     White Wheat
8 oz/ 227 g       Crystal 90
8 oz/ 227 g       Chocolate malt
8 oz/ 227 g       Roast Barley

Hops:
1 oz/ 28 g         Nugget, 13.3%, 60 min, 46.1 IBU
Total IBU:      46.1 (Tinseth)

Yeast:
2 pkt                Safale S-05 (0.9 pkt recommended)

Target CO2:   2.2 vol

Gravity:
OG:                 1.055 (71% mash eff; target 1.054, 70%)
FG:                  1.022
ABV:                4.75% after conditioning

Water:
Mash temp:          156.2F/ 69C (target 154F)
Mash thickness:  1.5 qt/lb/ 3.12 L/kg
Single infusion mash, single (batch) sparge
Boil time:              60 min

Calculated Profile:

Calcium 67.1 Sulfate 94.5 Hardness 168
Magnesium 0.1 Chloride 79.1 Alkalinity 109
Sodium 73.8 Bicarbonate 132.3 RA 61

I was pretty happy with this water profile, save for the sodium content, which is just how my water is served up.  The sulfate and chloride is pretty well balanced, and the RA was left relatively high because of the highly kilned malts.  (See my water treatment post here.)

Fermentation Temperature: 70F/ 21C ambient; pitched at 58F/ 14.4C; free rise to 73F/ 22.8C over 3 days; heater on to maintain temperature to finish

Tasting Notes:

stormy night session stout

Black as night.

Appearance: sparkling brown-black; pours with small lacy head

Aroma: light roast as it warms, but in general very clean

Taste: extremely smooth with light notes of vanilla up front, followed by roast and a bit of hop bitterness, but no hop flavor; yeast fermented clean

Mouthfeel: lowish but appropriate carbonation, pretty solid mouthfeel for such a low gravity stout; I’m glad I overshot my original mash temperature

Overall: This one isn’t going to win any medals for its complexity, but that was point.  It makes for a great clean and refreshing stout, bringing a fall and winter style into the summer months.  The low alcohol content and its easy drinking means it can be enjoyed on a warm day without overwhelming the palate.

– Dennis
Life, Fermented

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About Dennis
Home brewer, home chef, garage tinkerer. Author of Life Fermented blog.

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