Saint Bridget’s Stout

A lot has happened since Nookie Day. We realized that a 40 beer yield does not translate into lots of beer for everyone. I’m down to my last four bottles of Nookie after our “release party” bacchanal and giving out samples to friends and coworkers. It’s cool though, since the reviews have been pretty good so far. I gave a bottle to DJ and John over at Little’s liquor store, my local beer purveyor, hoping for some constructive feedback. They liked it so much, that they put it on their “Wall of Fame,” which is made up of beers they love, but can’t sell. It’s pretty flattering for the Nookie to be lumped among New Glarus and Bell’s. Our empty bottle now sits next to Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale behind the register. Since I’m the beer-buying equivalent of what casinos call a “whale,” I hope they just weren’t being nice, but I think they genuinely liked the beer.

Last Saturday, we reconvened at Jeff and Heather’s place for more hot brewing action. Actually, we decided to pregame/strategize at Hops and Pie, a pizza joint and tap room that is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Denver. Heather and Meg came along as well. We filled up on some tasty artisan pizza and some of their incredible rotating selection of draft beer. I had a Maori King imperial saison from Funkwerks, a new Fort Collins brewery. Jeff had a Stone Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter, and Liles ponied up for a Stone Vertical Epic 06.06.06. Just what we needed for inspiration.

We went back to Jeff’s place and racked our API Lepirt into secondary after a three-week primary fermentation. We took a hydrometer reading and had a taste of the fermented wort. The final gravity came out to 1.020, which looks to be on target. It tasted kind of boozy, which is a good sign. We may decide to dry hop this one as well.

Next, we got started on our latest batch, Saint Bridget’s Stout. My coworker Bridget donated two carboys to the cause, since she hadn’t used them in about ten years. So, we’re naming this batch after her. We are using Northern Brewer’s Big Honkin’ Stout as the basis for this brew and will add cacao nibs in the secondary fermentation period to give it a dark chocolate flavor. The kit came with 1.5 pounds of specialty grains including:

– 0.5 lbs Simpsons Roast Barley
– 0.5 lbs Simpsons Black Malt
– 0.25 lbs Weyermann Carafa III
– 0.25 Briess Caramel 120

We steeped these grains slow and steady for about 20 minutes, since we wanted to get the most out of them. By the time we hit temperature, it already looked like a stout. Once it got up to a boil, we cut the heat and added 3.15 pounds of Dark Malt Syrup, then 2 ounces of Willamette hops. With 15 minutes left in the boil we added another 6 pounds of dark syrup and an ounce of Cascade hops. Then, with one minute left in the boil, we added another ounce of Cascade and a few ounces of corn sugar (not in the recipe) to boost the alcohol content a bit.

We cooled the wort, then aerated and pitched the yeast. No major problems this time, although the specific gravity was a little lower that the 1.068 we expected, even with the additional sugar. We’ll have to see how that goes.

Well, I don’t have pictures to post this time, since our blog photographer took the day off and the pics on my phone are not that great. Maybe next time . . .

Next up: bottling the Farmhouse Eleven.

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