Nick Carr on November 7, 2014 2 Comments History of Irish Dry Stouts Stouts are an off-shoot of the Porter family tree. The word “stout” was first used in 1677 to refer to a stronger version of the Porter style. The use of “stout” in the context of strength continued on through the 1800’s. Both stout ales and stout porters were known until the end of the 19th century. Daniel Wheeler’s invention of the malt kiln in 1817 opened up new doors in the brewing world and was undoubtedly one of the major factors in the birth of the stout. The whole color spectrum of roasted malt suddenly was available, and with it, each unique taste. Arthur Guinness, who in 1759 signed a 9,000 year lease on a defunct old brewery, and had been brewing Porters since the late 1700’s, was intrigued by the new roasting technology. He began to use the high roasted malts in his beers to create the coffee notes, now famed in the Guinness stouts. The early stouts brewed by Guinness and his competitors would have started out very similar to Porters of the day, and only over several decades would the more bitter, lighter bodied, but dryer Irish stout emerge. The old Guinness brewery at St. James Gate would first turn out their classic stout in 1840. Style Profile & Characteristics The guidelines for the Irish Dry Stout beer style are set by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Style Committee. The below details are a summary of what an Irish Dry Stout should represent. Quick Characteristics Color Range: 25–40 SRM Original Gravity: 1.036–1.050 Final Gravity: 1.007–1.011 IBU Range: 30–45 ABV Range: 4.0–5.0 Aroma: Expect Aromas of Coffee, Chocolate, Cocoa & Slight Graininess; Low Hoppiness (if any) Flavor: The Roast Shines! May Notice Acidic Sourness, Bittersweet Chocolate and Moderate-to-High Hop Bitterness with Coffee-like Finish Appearance: Ranges From Pitch Black to Deep, Rich Brown Mouthfeel: Smooth & Creamy; Medium to Medium-Full Mouthfeel with Low Carbonation Food Pairings: Salty & Fried Foods, Spicy Foods, Bold & Sweet Desserts Appearance: Color can run from an almost jet black to something slightly lighter, a deep rich brown. A creamy-soft, long-lasting tan to brown head is characteristic, and much expected. Aroma: Expect aromas of coffee coming from the roasted barely. It can have slight offerings of chocolate, cocoa, or very slight graininess present. Esters will be at the low end of medium but more often not present at all, the same with hop aroma. Mouthfeel: Usually mouthfeel runs smooth despite the high loads of hop bitterness and generous quantities of darker grain. It should have a medium to medium-full mouthfeel, low carbonation, with a creamy quality that is easy on the palate. Astringency might be present but in low quantities, never taking on any harsh qualities. Taste: Roast shines in this beer. May have some acidic sourness with possible bittersweet chocolate qualities through the palate to the dry coffee-like finish. Medium to high hop bitterness compliments the grainy sharpness. High creaminess plays the main balancing role, with slight fruitiness and low hop flavor possible additions in this beer that’s dark-malt heavy and should never hid that fact too well. Examples Of The Style Guinness Draught Stout (Guinness Ltd., Ireland) Brewed since 1840. Perhaps the best known example of the Irish Dry Stout style. Murphy’s Irish Stout (Murphy’s Brewery, Ireland) Another well-known and easily found example of this style. Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout (Third Street Aleworks, CA) Great American Beer Festival Winner, Gold, 2013. World Beer Cup winner, Bronze, 2014. Available on Tap only. The Bomb (Moon River Brewing, GA) World Beer Cup winner 2014. Available on Tap only The Pugilist (Societe Brewing Co., CA) World Beer Cup winner, Silver, 2014. Available on Tap in Southern CA. Seaside Stout (Pizza Port Solana Beach Brewing, CA) Great American Beer Festival Winner, Bronze, 2012. Available on Tap only. Entire Stout (Hop Back Brewery, UK) International Brewing Competition winner, Bronze, 2013. May have to order online. Minoh Beer Stout (Minoh Beer, Japan) International Brewing Competition winner, Bronze, 2013. May have to order online. *Note: There were other winners in these years but if the website did not show them available I did not include them. 10 Thoughts on Brewing Irish Stout Dry means less unfermentable, or complex sugars. Single and two- molecule sugars are easily fermented some complex sugars can be broken down to make fermentable simple sugars, but the more complex sugars in your mash the more unfermentable sugars you are likely to end up with. To avoid those unfermentables avoid crystal malts, caramel, Munich, Vienna, any Carapils, or dexrin malts. The base malt should be a high quality pale ale malt (Briess pale ale or Golden Promise, for example). To get the dark color and roasty, possibly chocolate qualities, pass all the mid color malts, and go straight for the dark stuff. Dark chocolate, high roast, and black patent, work well in a dry stout. Another option added to many dry stout recipes includes some unmalted adjuncts; corn, rice, or barley could be used at up to 20–30% of the mash. Flaked barley is probably the most common. For extract brewers it is best to look for liquid extracts that are marketed for Irish stouts. This, with some careful additions of dark malt (dry or liqiud) and some adjunct flakes (see above) will produce the needed complexity and dryness. Mash temperature is extremely important when making a dry stout. The right mash temperature converts more of those complex sugars you do not want in your finished beer into simple sugars that can be fermented out. A mash temperature of between 140°F and 150°F will give you the most beta-amylase activity (creates fermentable sugars). You want to avoid, as much as possible, peak alpha-amylase activity because this creates complex sugars that require more breaking down before they are fermentable. I usually try to keep a dry stout mash temperature at about 148°F (peak activity of beta-amylase). Then when I sparge I use boiling water to raise the mash temperature as quickly as possible through the alpha-amylase work range to a mash-out temperature of 172°F. Keeping the temperature here during sparge runoff slows alpha-amylase activity. Don’t push your temp above 176°F though, because you don’t want to denature the alpha amylase either. Traditionally soft hops were used for both bittering and flavor. You want to create a balance to the maltiness without having the hops show through too much. One option is Fuggles for bittering and East Kent Goldings for aroma and flavor. Other varietes will work, just make sure you stick with European varieties for more authenticity. Because you want everything fermented out the yeast needs to be a work horse of the first order and tradition would have it an Irish variety. Wyeast London ale yeast and Wyeast Irish ale would both be good examples. Sláinte!