Author Topic: Carafa in a Stout?  (Read 3053 times)

Offline BrodyR

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Carafa in a Stout?
« on: July 31, 2015, 04:12:17 PM »
Since I now have a nitro tap I was planning on doing a Guinness clone but have been thinking about going in a different direction. I recently got to hear Randy Mosher speak and bought his book Mastering Homebrew. In it he mentions how, despite the names, if you want a smooth chocolate flavor from a dark malt Carafa or Chocolate Wheat is a much better choice than Chocolate malt or Roasted Barley.

My thought was to keep the Guinness inspired theme but sub Flaked Oats for the Flaked Barley and use Carafa III instead of Roasted Barley, maybe a little lactose too (Marris Otter as base, Irish Ale yeast). When I entered the recipe in beersmith a few questions came up:

1) Beersmith recommends no more than 5% Carafa III - I was planning on using 10+%. Do you think this will cause any issues I'm nit aware of?

2) I know the dehusked special version is supposed to be a lot smoother and sometimes used for Black IPAs. Think this would be a better call or would the dehusked leave too little 'stout' flavor.

3) Is Carafa just a bad idea overall if I'm going for a stout character?

Offline denny

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2015, 04:23:01 PM »
1)  why do you care what Beersmith says?  It's a tool to help you brew the way you want to.  it's not instructions about how to brew

2)  frankly, for a stout, I wouldn't use carafa at all.  Too little of the flavor you're looking for in a stout

3) yes.
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Offline BrodyR

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2015, 04:42:37 PM »
1)  why do you care what Beersmith says?  It's a tool to help you brew the way you want to.  it's not instructions about how to brew

2)  frankly, for a stout, I wouldn't use carafa at all.  Too little of the flavor you're looking for in a stout

3) yes.

Haha, appreciate the blunt advice Denny. A follow up question then. I'd love a real black color - I've heard Guinness uses Roasted Barley but I've only ever seen that at 300l. Think 10% 500l Black Barley would make a nice brew?

I should clarify that my goals are to brew a stout that's black, with a decent bit of roast/chocolate flavor, and smooth/creamy (hence the oats).

Being mostly a pale beer brewer I'm trying to get a handle on how to brew a solid stout.

Offline denny

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 05:25:26 PM »
1)  why do you care what Beersmith says?  It's a tool to help you brew the way you want to.  it's not instructions about how to brew

2)  frankly, for a stout, I wouldn't use carafa at all.  Too little of the flavor you're looking for in a stout

3) yes.

Haha, appreciate the blunt advice Denny. A follow up question then. I'd love a real black color - I've heard Guinness uses Roasted Barley but I've only ever seen that at 300l. Think 10% 500l Black Barley would make a nice brew?

I should clarify that my goals are to brew a stout that's black, with a decent bit of roast/chocolate flavor, and smooth/creamy (hence the oats).

Being mostly a pale beer brewer I'm trying to get a handle on how to brew a solid stout.

If you want a Guinness clone, you should stick with the Guinness formula...70% pale, 20% flaked, 10% roasted.  I wouldn't recommend using 10% black, unless you're into licking ashtrays!  :)
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 05:28:59 PM »
If you want a Guinness clone, you should stick with the Guinness formula...70% pale, 20% flaked, 10% roasted.

Yep, simple and good !
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Offline beersk

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2015, 05:37:03 PM »
1)  why do you care what Beersmith says?  It's a tool to help you brew the way you want to.  it's not instructions about how to brew

2)  frankly, for a stout, I wouldn't use carafa at all.  Too little of the flavor you're looking for in a stout

3) yes.

Haha, appreciate the blunt advice Denny. A follow up question then. I'd love a real black color - I've heard Guinness uses Roasted Barley but I've only ever seen that at 300l. Think 10% 500l Black Barley would make a nice brew?

I should clarify that my goals are to brew a stout that's black, with a decent bit of roast/chocolate flavor, and smooth/creamy (hence the oats).

Being mostly a pale beer brewer I'm trying to get a handle on how to brew a solid stout.

If you want a Guinness clone, you should stick with the Guinness formula...70% pale, 20% flaked, 10% roasted.  I wouldn't recommend using 10% black, unless you're into licking ashtrays!  :)
Ha, what if I am? (I'm not...)  I tend to get kind of an ashy flavor in roasted beers sometimes, I always wonder what causes that. Could it be the malt? pH?

Personally, I'd use Carafa in a stout just to keep it dark and smooth. You'll still get roasted flavors, just not the burnt acrid flavors.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2015, 05:53:30 PM »
  I tend to get kind of an ashy flavor in roasted beers sometimes, I always wonder what causes that. Could it be the malt? pH?

Most often pH IMO. You can mash a stout or porter at 5.3 and find the roast character harsh or acrid, but mash the exact same beer at 5.5-5.6 pH and find the roast much mellower and enjoyable. The high acidity of black malts gets softened enough to be pleasant at the higher pH. Try it sometime !
Jon H.

Offline BrodyR

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2015, 05:56:54 PM »
  I tend to get kind of an ashy flavor in roasted beers sometimes, I always wonder what causes that. Could it be the malt? pH?

Most often pH IMO. You can mash a stout or porter at 5.3 and find the roast character harsh or acrid, but mash the exact same beer at 5.5-5.6 pH and find the roast much mellower and enjoyable. The high acidity of black malts gets softened enough to be pleasant at the higher pH. Try it sometime !

Nice: pH I was going to talk about next: 5.5 sounds like a good target. Water wise what's good Sulfate/Chloride levels for a stout?

I think I'll brew two beers, a Guinness one and one with the Caraffa III + Oats that I'll age on cocoa (maybe coffee too) in a hope to get a smooth chocolate flavor.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2015, 06:00:53 PM »
  I tend to get kind of an ashy flavor in roasted beers sometimes, I always wonder what causes that. Could it be the malt? pH?

Most often pH IMO. You can mash a stout or porter at 5.3 and find the roast character harsh or acrid, but mash the exact same beer at 5.5-5.6 pH and find the roast much mellower and enjoyable. The high acidity of black malts gets softened enough to be pleasant at the higher pH. Try it sometime !

Nice: pH I was going to talk about next: 5.5 sounds like a good target. Water wise what's good Sulfate/Chloride levels for a stout?

I think I'll brew two beers, a Guinness one and one with the Caraffa III + Oats that I'll age on cocoa (maybe coffee too) in a hope to get a smooth chocolate flavor.


I like to start with Black Balanced or Black Malty in Brunwater and make subtle changes on following batches if need be. Both sound great !
Jon H.

Offline blatz

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 06:42:00 PM »
Crisp Roasted Barley is ~500L and I believe Simpson's is even higher than that.

i usually use Crisp.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2015, 06:45:46 PM »
BTW - I get a smooth chocolate flavor in my brown ale by using Simpsons Chocolate Malt and a healthy dose of flaked oats.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2015, 01:14:05 PM »
I have to agree 100% with Denny here (can we rename him Beer Yoda?). For a stout, you want roast character. For a porter, you will want more of a chocolate flavor. For a schwarzbier, you want more of the flavor you will get from using carafa (mildly chocolate, if at all).

And from personal experience, I brew a schwarzbier as one of Yellowhammer's flagships. And when I brewed a porter with crafa because I didn't make cholcolate malt, everyone complained that it tasted too much like my schwarzbier!

Doesn't mean you can't do it, but just know what to expect when you do! It will still be a delicious beer if you sub carafa, but it may not be "stout like" if it isn't roasty enough. For me, roasted barley is what makes a stout. Not carafa or chocolate.)

All that said, the secret for my tastes to a stout is a healthy portion of dark munich.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2015, 03:18:53 PM »
If you want chocolate I think the midnight wheat or chocolate wheat is about as close to a chocolate flavor as a grain gets but you'll lose the roasted character you want in a stout. If you want to get chocolate in your stout IMO you should add cocoa rather than look for your grain.
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Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2015, 04:12:41 PM »
Blackprinz gives a more mellow roasted character. Last year I did an experiment with different dark roasted grains to see what's a good choice for making black versions of pale color beers. I used some Blackprinz on a best bitter and it came out tasting like a very smooth stout.
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Re: Carafa in a Stout?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2015, 10:01:48 PM »
  I tend to get kind of an ashy flavor in roasted beers sometimes, I always wonder what causes that. Could it be the malt? pH?

Most often pH IMO. You can mash a stout or porter at 5.3 and find the roast character harsh or acrid, but mash the exact same beer at 5.5-5.6 pH and find the roast much mellower and enjoyable. The high acidity of black malts gets softened enough to be pleasant at the higher pH. Try it sometime !
On these beers, the pH must be getting too low on me. I usually add some baking soda to raise the pH, but maybe not enough. Wouldn't Guinness be ashy then since they mash low? Or is the function of their sour mashing process the differing factor there? Definitely don't care for that ashy flavor I get sometimes. Ick.
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Jesse