After our well received Imperial Coffee Stout (a collaboration with The Grind Cafe, Kelham Island), we’ve been itching to get another stout brewed to make a matching pair. Myself and Director Mark are both fans of stouts and enjoy the challenges of brewing them; selecting the right quantities of the different highly kilned dark malts (and roast barley), balancing the hop bitterness against these and adding minerals to the soft Sheffield water to make it more akin to the water of famous stout brewing areas such as Dublin and London.
After talking about it for a while, we decided we’d like to do a milk stout, a style of beer that has been brewed since the early 20th century but has seen some great examples made by craft brewers in recent years. A milk stout is named as such due to the inclusion of lactose, a sugar derived from milk than cannot be fermented by beer yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae), and because of this it adds sweetness and body to the beer.
As with our Imperial Coffee Stout, we decided to add something a little extra. After throwing a few ideas around and running a few trials, we settled on some natural hazelnut essence as it complimented the roasted coffee flavours derived from the brown and chocolate malts used in the mash, much like the experience of adding hazelnut syrup to a roasty, aromatic Americano.
We started off by using a base of the famous Maris Otter pale malt and added oats, roast barley, chocolate, brown and crystal malts to give the beer the enticing black colour and flavours of roasted coffee, chocolate, hints of caramel and a slick smooth body from the oats and lactose. As for the hops; we’ve kept the bitterness low (around 30IBU) and used some Slovenia Bobek hops at the end of the boil to add some earthy and herbal notes that compliment the malt flavours. We then ferment it with our house English ale yeast strain which ferments cleanly at lower temperatures allowing the malt, hops and natural hazelnut essence to come together in perfect harmony.
We’re happy with how the beer has turned out; flavorsome and complex, but not overwhelming. We’ll be packaging it into both cask and bottle over the next couple of weeks (cask available early February, and bottles toward the middle).