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Brew #12: Classic Milk Stout

It was time to make another stout. This time a milk stout. This beer gets its name from the addition of the milk sugar, Lactose into the brew. It is sweet, creamy and chocolatey. We were pretty excited to give this one a go!


Check out our last attempt at brewing a stout beer- Black is Beautiful.



Milk stout recipe

Method: All-grain BIAB

Batch size: 10 litres

Brewhouse efficiency: 63%


Estimated OG: 1.055

Estimated FG: 1.012

Estimated ABV: 4.9%

Estimated IBU (Tinseth): 22

Estimated EBC: 69.5


Malt:

1.92 kg Maris Otter malt (6 EBC)

200 g Simpson Crystal Medium (175 EBC)

200 g Chocolate malt (950 EBC)

200 g Flaked barley (3 EBC)


Hops/additions: 90 min hop boil

  • 60 mins, 16 g Fuggles (4.7% AA)

  • 15 mins, 227 g Lactose sugar


Yeast:

Fermentis US-04 Safale American (1 pkg)


Finings:

1/2 tsp Irish Moss at 15 mins remaining of the hop boil


Directions:

Mash at 65°C, mash out to 75°C

Fermentation 14 days: 20°C

Carbonation: 2 CO2-vol



Brew day - 05/09/20

For this brew day I selected another beauty from Unity Brewing. A lovely Pilsner called Dayspring. It was lush as usual! I would expect nothing less from Unity Brewing!


The grain bill was a mix of 4 grains. I did a fair bit of research to figure out what grains I wanted to add in this milk stout recipe. I ended up going with pilsner for a base malt with chocolate malt, caramel malt and flaked barley as speciality malts. However, on the internet I found a lot of people used roasted barley, oats or Munich caramel malts so it appears quite a few variations exist and to a certain extent anything goes for a milk stout.


We mashed the 4 grains in 8 litres of water at 66 °C for 1 hour, before mashing out to 76 °C and sparging for 10 mins in 7 litres of water. Basically our usual brewing set up.


This brew had only 1 hop addition at 60 mins used for bittering, so this beer is most definitely not about the hops.


Milk stouts get their name from the addition of the milk sugar, lactose. This sugar adds sweetness to the beer without adding alcohol because it cannot be fermented by the yeast. I read that you want your milk stout to be sweet but not overwhelmingly sweet. We went for around 9% lactose sugar which should add sweetness while still being balanced.


The lactose was added at 15 mins left in the boil.


The wort was cooled and a hydrometer reading was taken. The first reading was at 1.066 but we were aiming for around 1.056 so we had to add quite a large amount of water to dilute it down. I almost regret this addition because while I wanted a lower ABV beer, the initial beer before dilution was creamy with a lot of foam and this was lost after dilution, so hopefully the final beer is not too thin.


Overall, it is clear that our brewhouse efficiency is much higher than the 63% that we use to estimate and calculate our brews on Brewfather. I am going to try upping the brewhouse efficiency in our future recipe designs and see if this helps us avoid having to dilute the beers so much at the end.


The wort was then cooled and pitched with the Fermentis Safale US-04 yeast. The wort was then left in the fermentor for 14 days for the yeast to do its job.



Bottling day - 19/09/20

We bottled and labelled 25 bottles of our milk stout in bottles sized between 330 and 500 ml. They were carbonated quite lightly to only 2 CO2-vol. I was pretty excited by this brew at the point. It was definitely better than our last attempt at brewing a stout.



Beer day - 03/10/20


Verdict

Overall this was a fine brew. It was most definitely a milk stout and hit all the key flavour marks that are associated with the style. However, it was a tad thin probably due to the dilution. It was a chocolatey delight with loads of roasted flavours, and while in no way was it bad stout it was not particularly exciting. As a lover of dark beers I was expecting more.


2 Month update: The stout is getting better every day. The chocolatey flavours are getting stronger and there are even some mild coffee notes coming through. Overall I think this is one that will keep improving with time. According to the internet stouts age well so we will keep checking this beer periodically. Either way I think we will keep working on brewing a great stout.


Tasting notes:

Colour: Black

Clarity: Opaque

Carbonation: Thick creamy head, with light body

Smell: Chocolatey and roasted notes

Taste: Chocolate and coffee notes

Alcohol level: 4.5%

Perceived alcohol level: Light

Desirable: Yes

Would I pay money for it?: Yes

Rating: 3/5


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