Brew Day – Breakfast is served all day in Boston!

The Publick House, a local business I frequent near my residence, is a perfect place to grab a more-than-slightly overpriced pint. 9 dollars for a 11oz. pour can get discouraging very quickly, especially when one is on a budget. I rationalize it by calling each glass an “inspiration” for my next homebrew endeavor. However, in my opinion Publick House carries the most unique and widest selection of beers in Boston. One brewery out of Michigan in particular, Founders Brewing (BA link), has consistently made an impression on my palate. I thoroughly enjoy both their scotch ale, Dirty Bastard and their IPA, which is loaded with “an abundance” of centennial hops – hence Centennial IPA.

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Founders brews a seasonal beer that is intense and bold, yet balanced and genius in construction. Including flaked oats, bittersweet and unsweetend chocolate, and two separate coffee additions, Founders Breakfast Stout is truly a meal in a glass. I love this beer. I’m a sucker for stouts, but one this good is really rare.
I had Founders Breakfast Stout in mind for my next homebrew for some time. My last beer, which I brewed in September, was a 3.5%ABV session ale. It was a Scottish 70/- or a Scottish Heavy – mild yet full of malty goodness. I love consuming more than one beer in a session with minimum consequences, but I wanted to brew something bigger, something that would suffice for dinner when I don’t want to heat up something that is collecting frost in my freezer. The Breakfast Stout definitely meets these requirements.
At first I wasn’t 100% set on brewing the Breakfast Stout. I considered a Russian Imperial Stout after downing a bottle of Dragonslayer by Middle Ages Brewing in Syracuse, NY (for those not aware of this brewery, shame on you). Also on deck was a Irish Dry Stout, as Ashley and I drink more Murphy’s than water at the moment. Ultimately the Dry Stout was placed on the back burner and The Founders won out. It might have had something to do with a couple of bottles finding their way into a mix-a-six I created.
I searched the interwebs for a while to come across a killer recipe. Recipe formulation for me is still at an early stage, I tend to slightly modify already tried and true recipes to my needs. I consulted some of my homebrew literature in my home library (Brewing Classic Styles and Designing Great Beers) for info about Stouts, Double Stouts, and Imperial Stouts. However it was here on a thread over at my usual wealth of information homebrewtalk.com that won me over.
I decided to make some slight changes to this recipe; I switched the base malt from American 2-row to Maris Otter and upped the IBUs. MO is a quality British base malt, which will give my beer a maltier nuttier taste and slightly darken the color – found in British “real ale”. I don’t know if color is an issue in this stout however. Also, the thread on HBT debates the IBUs stated by Founders and a clone recipe printed in an issue of BYO, from where the original recipe on the forum was adapted. I put the recipe into my brewing software, and determined that at 30IBUs the grain to bitterness ratio was kinda low; 0.33. The Founders website boasts 60IBUs, which is about 0.66 GU:BU. The idea behind the grain to bitterness ratio is that the more grain and malt character a beer has, the more hop character may be needed to create a balanced beer. I’ve read that the closer that this ratio is to 1.0 the better. I changed the first hop edition from 0.5oz of Nugget at 60 min. to 1.0oz Nugget. We’ll see how this turns out.
Breakfast Stout Recipe:
Batch Size (Gallons): 6
Original Gravity: 1.085
Final Gravity: 1.022
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 56
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Color: 47SRM
Mashed at 155F for 60 mins. 1.33 qt/lb.
16 lbs. Maris Otter
1 lbs American Chocolate Malt
.75 lbs Roasted Barley
9 oz American Black Patent
7 oz Crystal Malt 120°L
22 oz Oats Flaked
1.0 oz Nugget (Whole, 13.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
.5 oz Mt. Hood (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 30 min.
.5 oz Mt. Hood (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 2 min.
2 oz Ground Sumatran coffee at flameout
2 oz Ground Kona coffee cold brewed, added at bottling
2.5 oz Dark bittersweet baker’s chocolate at 15 mins.
1.5 oz Unsweetened chocolate baking nibs at 15 mins.
2 pkg. DCL Yeast Safale S-04 Top Quality Ale Yeast
Fermented at 65˚F

The brew day went unchallenged, although it seemed longer than I had hoped. I started about 11:00am on Saturday and was cleaning up around 5:00pm. I have a 10 gallon mash tun, but I was not sure that the 20+ pounds of grain and the almost 7 gallons of strike water were all going to fit into it! Got a little nervous I must say. Also depicted here is the vorlauf, or first runnings. Making sure what leaves the MLT is nice clean, particle-free wort. Black as night, everything is going to plan! laughs diabolically

I had to reward myself with some fruit of a previous effort after I came to a boil. Scottish Heavy = yum. I added the 4oz of baker’s chocolate with 15 minutes left in the boil and the kitchen filled with cocoa sweetness aroma. At a few minutes after flameout I added 2oz of ground Peet’s Arabian Mocha Sanani. At this point I became very excited because the wort really smelled like coffee. Amazing. There will be another coffee addition at bottling. I’ll brew up 2 more ounces in a few cups of water and add it into the bottles bucket. I used my wort chiller to cool down to 65˚F and pitched two packets of SafAle-04 dry english yeast. Hopefully this will impart a few more esters in this brew than other American yeast strains (WLP001, SafAle-05, etc). I pitched at about 5:00pm and was seeing airlock activity around 10:30pm – hooray for proper pitching rates! I will continue to ferment this monster at 65˚F for the next 10 days or so in my fermentation fridge, and I am still debating to whether to secondary this beer. I will definitely keep everyone updated and hopefully this will break my fast soon enough!
Cheers!
-Mike

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