Brew Day: Milk of the Poppy Stout

Click here to read about the results of this brew.
Click here to see a time lapse photo of the fermentation.

imageWhat better time to brew a stout than around the Christmas holiday? I took a week and a half off of work and made sure I had all the ingredients in house for a high gravity cream stout. I chose to go with Wyeast 1084 (and Irish Ale yeast), and used a 2.5L starter to make sure there were plenty of yeast to eat up the sugars in this one. This stout features caramel and chocolate malt, some roasted barley (which should give a bit of a coffee like finish), and milk sugar (lactose) for mouthfeel and a sweet taste. Although the ingredients have some complexity, they cost about $42 total which means about $0.75 per beer!

imageThe brew day went pretty smooth and I can pretty close to hitting my numbers, and had an almost 80% efficiency. The recipe is based on NCBeernut’s Deception Stout recipe on the Home Brew Talk recipe database. I used Beersmith2 (recipe formulating software) to come up with my numbers, and my original gravity (OG) was estimated at 1.064 and I measured 1.061 after the 60 minute (or 1 hour – whichever came first) boil – which I’m happy with.  In the photo to the right I have ‘mashed’ the grains for an hour at 152 degrees, and am draining the wort (unfermented beer) from the mash tun, which I will then boil.  The picture below shows the beer just before the ‘hot break’ of the boil.

imageThis one has been fermenting for 5 days, and the first two were pretty aggressive. I plan to let it go for a month before kegging, and I’m considering splitting the 5 gallons into several batches: one I may secondary with some espresso beans and the other I may add some chocolate syrup to the keg and/or bottles. Based on my ingredients, this will come out at about 6.6%, which is a little high for the sweet stout category.

imageI should be drinking this one by the beginning of February!  If it turns out well, I’ll publish the recipe here.  In the meantime, I’m looking at brewing a second batch of my NoVA Robust Porter which is one of my favorite homebrews to date (I’ll post that recipe in the near future), along with an IPA for Beth.

Here’s the recipe (you will want to brew it); happy New Year!

Keep in mind the following: Lactose gets added at 10 minutes left in the boil, and I added the yeast nutrient 5 minutes (but follow your nutrients directions if you use it).  You will likely want a yeast starter (at least 2L but check with Mr. Malty) for this one.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 60 min 31.5 IBUs 28.9 SRM 1.057 1.012 5.9 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %


Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 7 lbs 60.87
White Wheat Malt 1.5 lbs 13.04
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 1 lbs 8.7
Chocolate Malt 12 oz 6.52
Roasted Barley 8 oz 4.35
Milk Sugar (Lactose) 12 oz 6.52


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Magnum 0.75 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 14


Name Amount Time Use Type
Whirlfloc Tablet 1.00 Items 10 min Boil Fining
Yeast Nutrient 1.00 tsp 5 min Boil Other


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Irish Ale (1084) Wyeast Labs 73% 62°F - 72°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min


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