Author Topic: Making a stout kit better  (Read 640 times)

Offline brewmonk

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Making a stout kit better
« on: May 06, 2011, 06:35:36 AM »
I have a few questions since I'm still new to homebrewing.
I wanted to do something rather easy this time (so easy I have to ask questions, right?  ::) ), and was just wanting to do a stout kit, but maybe taking it up another notch ("imperialize" it maybe?).  I was thinking of steeping some black patent malt and chocolate malt, maybe crystal too, for more body and complexity, as well as a bit of extra DME to bump the body and alcohol up a bit, and maybe get a better yeast than a standard kit packet of yeast.  (edit: when I mean stout kit, I mean a simple hopped-stout-extract-in-a-can kit with a packet of yeast)
So:
Which malt(s) and how much would be good to steep, since I hear you can easily go overboard with black patent malt?
And not wanting to waste a kit packet of yeast, could you use the kit packet of yeast AND add something like an American Ale yeast?  Or would mixing yeast do funny things?
Would I need to add extra hops if adding extra DME?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 06:39:52 AM by brewmonk »
Br. Francis
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Making a stout kit better
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2011, 07:40:44 AM »
Not that this directly answers your questions, but if you're steeping the grains and adding extra DME and hops, why not just skip the pre-hopped can?  You're not saving any steps at this point by using the pre-hopped can and no one will be able to accurately tell you what's in it.

That said, and not having my recipes in front of me, I think I typically do the black patent and roast barley at around 1/4 lb for 5 gallons.  I wouldn't go over 1/2 lb of either.

Chocolate malt or dark crystal is definitely a good idea to include.  If you're scrapping the stout kit, you could steep more, but if not 1/2 lb ought to be enough to add what you're looking for.

If you're going imperial, definitely add more hops.  I typically make stouts with Irish ale yeast and use Fuggles and East Kent Golding as my basic hop additions.

I would definitely go for a liquid Irish or American ale yeast (depending on what you're looking to brew).  But don't toss the yeast packet with the kit.  I like to keep dry yeast around for emergencies, such as spur-of-the-moment brewing (doesn't happen so much anymore with kids) or when fermentation doesn't seem to take off correctly.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Making a stout kit better
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2011, 10:43:31 AM »
I agree with not using the hopped stout kit as long as you're going to go with the extra effort.  Better to build it around light extract if you're going to add your own dark grains.   I use 14 oz of black barley per 5 gallons of Irish stout, and for something like a RIS I think you're fine with up to maybe 2 lbs of black barley or black patent combined.   Another 1/2 to 1 pound or so of chocolate malt for complexity.  A pound of dark crystal if you want that flavor.  If you like dry yeast, S-04 or US-05 works well in stout, and Wyeast 1084 is great if you prefer liquid yeast.

But if you want to use the stout kit (as you might if you already have it) then I would probably just bump it up with DME.  I might increase the flavor with some dark grains, but it really depends on the kit you're using.  Maybe use half of the dark grains above as a guess.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Pinski

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Re: Making a stout kit better
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2011, 11:11:29 AM »
Like I said in the dark beet sugar candi post. The Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout kit makes a great beer if you like the idea of a kit. I ramped it up for 6.5 gallons, you could do something similar for a more "imperial" version at 5 gallons.
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Offline brewmonk

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Re: Making a stout kit better
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2011, 11:31:49 AM »
Not that this directly answers your questions, but if you're steeping the grains and adding extra DME and hops, why not just skip the pre-hopped can?  You're not saving any steps at this point by using the pre-hopped can and no one will be able to accurately tell you what's in it.
I agree with not using the hopped stout kit as long as you're going to go with the extra effort.  Better to build it around light extract if you're going to add your own dark grains.
Yeah, I guess y'all do have a point.  If I'm going to do everything else, I might as well just go with a real recipe.  It would certainly be more fulfilling and probably taste better.  I'll have to see how much effort I want to put into it, since time might be a factor for me for a few months, but I do want to get something going. (yes, I'm hooked  ;D ).
Thanks for the advice though.  If not done this time, it will be used in the future.  :)
Br. Francis
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