Beer Recipe: “Cantankerous Leprechaun” Dry Stout

This beer was originally supposed to be named “World’s Tallest Leprechaun” after the shirt my brother-in-law got me on his honeymoon to Ireland.  If you’re not yet chuckling, picture a 6’5/ 2 m tall man wearing a tiny green jacket.  I decided to rename it after having one of the more difficult brew days in a while.

I got cocky with this batch.  I have never had a stuck sparge on my system, even with high levels of wheat.  I thought I could push the envelope with flaked barley—twice the recommended maximum of 20% of the grist—and not have to worry about adding rice hulls, so long as I used a protein rest*.  Well, pride cometh before the fall, and I ended up with an oddly soupy brick.  I resorted to scooping up a few quarts/ liters of grain at a time in a strainer and just squeezing out the water, ending up a gallon/ 4 L short.

Thinking my troubles were finally over after adding and squeezing back out another gallon, I lit up my kettle burner, only to have the wort foam up for the entire 60 minute boil.  (This is what led to my previous post, using a fan to control foam.)  Oh, and I only overshot my gravity by 11 points, with a personal-record breaking 91% mash efficiency.  Guess I squeezed through the strainer a bit vigorously.  Fortunately, all that flaked barley and high mash temp led to a very low attenuation, so the alcohol level wasn’t too much higher than what I wanted- I have been trying to make a point of brewing more sessionable beers.

* [2014.08.23 UPDATE: Probably what I really wanted was a beta glucan rest, which is at a slightly lower temperature, not a protein rest.  Live and learn.]

Batch Size: 5 gal/ 18.9 L

4 lb/  1.81 kg     Pale ale malt (Briess)
3 lb/ 1.36 kg      Flaked barley
1 lb/ 0.453 kg    Roast barley (Crisp)
6 oz/ 170 g         Biscuit malt (Dingemans)

1.4 oz/ 40 g        Kent Golding, 6.47%, 60 min, 35 IBU
Total IBU:           35 (Tinseth)

1 pkt                     Safale US-05

1 tsp                  Hydrated irish moss (10 min)
30 sec               pure oxygen, 0.5 micron stone, 1 hour after pitching

Target CO2:     1.5 vol

OG:                    1.052 (91% mash eff; target 1.041, 72% eff)
FG:                    1.022 (58% apparent atten.)
ABV:                  4.25% after conditioning

Mash temp:         125.5F/ 51.9C, 25 min, protein rest (target 125F/ 51.7C)
                           147F/ 63.9C, 10 min, accidental rest (target 152F/ 66.7C)
                           155F/ 68.3C, 50 min, sacc. rest
Multi-infusion mash, single (batch) sparge
Boil time:              60 min

Calculated Profile:

Calcium 76.8 Sulfate 119.4 Hardness 216
Magnesium 5.8 Chloride 59.2 Alkalinity 123
Sodium 135.3 Bicarbonate 148.3 RA 64

I was pretty happy with this water profile, save for the sodium content, which is just how my water is served up.  I adjusted the sulfate to chloride ratio for a crisper finish (higher sulfates), and left the carbonate level fairly high to balance the dark malt.  I added the sparge calcium additions directly to the kettle instead of the sparge water.  (See my water treatment posts here.)

Fermentation Temperature: I pitched at 63F/17.2C and fermented in a 74F ambient.  It got a little warmer than I would have liked, but not so warm that I am concerned with the Cal Ale yeast doing bad things.  I used a lamp to keep the cabinet warm near the end to help the yeast clean up.

Tasting Notes:

dry stout

Its still a little flat…

Appearance: Dark black with just the edges letting enough light through to be brown when held to a light, brilliantly clear

Aroma: not too much here, maybe a touch of esters from the warmer ferment

Taste: this beer is definitely too young- not in terms of off-flavors or yeast bite, but it has yet to fully carbonate, making for a slightly sweeter beer; comparable to a much smoother Guinness, with nice roast on the back of the tongue; finishes dry even with the residual priming sugar; no overt hop presence, with the bitterness blending into the roast- could probably go higher on the bittering charge, though had I hit my targeted OG 11 points lower, the bitterness level would probably be fine

Mouthfeel: very silky and smooth; carbonation is nearly non-existent, though this will come up (a little) soon; even so, it doesn’t scream out for more CO2; seems like a much more substantial beer than it is, like a high gravity stout, but without the alcohol

Overall: This beer goes down way too easy.  It’s quite delicious as is, and I can’t wait for it to full carb up and dry out that last little bit.  I have two minor complaints: (1) there isn’t much flavor until the roast kicks in after you swallow, and (2) I detect just a slight bit of esters that a cooler ferment would probably solve.  For all the trouble it put me through, it at least had the decency to turn out pretty well.  I will definitely have to alter this recipe next time though, so I can brew it without a strainer.

– Dennis,
Life, Fermented


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

3 Responses to Beer Recipe: “Cantankerous Leprechaun” Dry Stout

  1. Sui Generis says:

    I am oddly happy to know I’m not the only one whose had to resort to a strainer! My love of wheat beers has led me to reach for the collander more times than I’m willing to admit.

    Seeing a stout makes me look forward to the fall…not that we’ve really had a summer this year!

    • Dennis says:

      Indeed! Made me feel kind of dirty just squeezing wort through a strainer, like I was upsetting the beer gods somehow…
      I am actually just really late for March with this I guess. But I generally try to keep a nice malty or roasty beer around for all seasons. Mainly I just brew around the heat, and figured I could get away with a low gravity stout in the summer.
      – Dennis

  2. Pingback: The Wonderful Team Readership Award: And the Winners Are… | Head Over Beers

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