Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Brewday: Buckwheat Honey Stout

Ok time for a break from the meat fest. I've got two beers going right now and first up is one of my all-time favorites.

Every brewery starts out with a Flagship Beer. It's the beer they are known for. That they produce a lot of. That's associated with the brand and is the main breadwinner of their line. I think most homebrewers eventually develop the same thing, a favorite beer that they brew time and again, tweaking and improving it each time. For me, it's probably this beer. My Buckwheat Honey Stout.

The first brew was somewhere around five years ago, for it was the first beer I brewed after moving to Miami. I'd found some weird, jet black Buckwheat Honey at Robert Is Here and bought it on a whim. St. Patrick's day was coming up and I decided to brew a stout for it. For kicks, I threw the buckwheat honey in. The result was an awesome stout, similar to a Dry Stout but with a certain something that can only be described as Buckwheat Honeyiness. We tapped it on St. Patty's and though we intended to go to a party later the beer soon was responsible for one of my favorite homebrewing quotes. On the phone to the party host, "We broke into the homebrew and can't make it!"

Over the years I tweaked the recipe here and there. I even made a Braggot version of it that was very, very strange. The hardest thing to get right was transitioning from Extract to All Grain, and this batch is still part of that ongoing process. So I'll post the original extract recipe below as well. Added buckwheat groats for the first time. Not sure if they gave any noticeable extract, but they had a nice nutty odor after toasting. Probably needed a cereal mash that I didn't bother with, I'm not sure what the gelatinization temp of buckwheat is. If it is 180, like I suspect it might be, then yeah, it may need a cereal mash next time.

Also, water modification is pretty important as this is a big dark beer. I seem to have got a handle on my mash chemistry using this water. As with all dark beers, if you've got soft water don't forget the chalk!

When it's done I'm going to put some on Nitro, which should be outstanding.


5.25 Gallon All Grain
Est O.G. 1.063
Act O.G. 1.062
Est F.G. 1.016
Act F.G. probably 1.016-1.018
30+ SRM
50 IBU
ABV 5.75% - 6%
  • 8 lbs Pale Malt
  • 1 lb Flaked Barley
  • 10 oz Roasted Barley
  • 6 oz Black Patent
  • 4 oz Crystal 80
  • 1 lb Toasted Organic Buckwheat Groats. Toasted at 350 for 20 minutes, then ground through the grain mill.
  • 1 lb Buckwheat Honey
  • 1.25 oz Nugget @ 12% AA for 60 minutes
Mash grains at 154. Mineral Addition to the mash for Seattle Tolt Watershed: 12 gm Chalk, 1 gm Gypsum, 3 gm baking soda, 1 gm kosher salt. 90 minute boil. Hops at 60. Whirlfloc at 15. Honey in the last minute or two, stirring so it doesn't just sink the bottom. Yeast this time was about 600 ml of thick Saf-04 English Yeast saved in a flask from my Winter Ale. Took off like a shot. In the past I've used both Irish Ale and American Ale strains. House is about 65 right now, so that's the fermentation temp. (Probably 66-68 inside the carboy, it's wrapped in a towel to keep light out and heat in.)

Extract Version

7 lbs Amber Liquid Malt Extract (or 6.6lbs depending on what brand you use, sometimes it comes in 3.3 lb cans)
2 lbs Dark Dry Malt Extract
10 oz Roasted Barley
6 oz Black Patent
1 lb Buckwheat Honey
1 oz Magnum at 14% AA for 60 minutes.

UPDATE 2/5/10
Tapped on Nitro at a homebrew stout-fest. Excellent. Crowd Favorite. Quite Happy. Bottles not carbonated yet though, not sure why. House is a bit cold I guess. If they don't carbonate soon though I'll miss three big competitions. >:(


David Iwaniec said...

I love this beer

Russell Hews Everett said...

Me too! It's come out excellent on Nitro.

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