Stout you tasty bitch you. You have your own day! Rich, chocolaty, coffee, sweet, dark and thick all come to mind when I think of you. Stout you have been done by many and mastered by few but what does it mean to be you?
You come in Dry, Oatmeal, Sweet, Aged, Imperial and you are the beefed up son of the porter. Brewers also like to flavor you with fruit, chocolate, coffee, or bourbon. Stout you have soul.
Stout I love you. From your creamy foam down to your deep dark soul, cheers to you Stout!
Yeah I just wrote a love letter to Stouts.
Now if you want to brew a Stout here are some tips. Stouts come in many different styles so you first have to decide on a style. My experience comes in the form of a sweet style stout. But it is not to hard to brew whatever tickles your fancy. First I will start with the common thread in all stouts. Color is the main one, a dark black is found in most stouts. Then the nice thick head, which is promoted by the darkness of the grain, carapils, oatmeal, and flaked barley.
Then comes the variety of styles within the style, BJCP style guidelines cover six styles dry, oatmeal, sweet, foreign, imperial and American. Once you have the style you are going after then you need to decided your grain and hop bill.
Hop bill should be pretty simple nice light hops and not to many unless you are going after an imperial or American where you can begin to push up the IBUs and maybe add a dry hop. Grain bill you need to decide your dark malts and the ratio of them. Chocolate, black, and roasted are the most common. Not sure on what you should pick? Smell and taste the grain to get a feel of their flavor. Use a recipe calculator to make sure your are getting the SRM you need out of your grains. I would add some crystal malt to gain some sweetness and body. Oats and flaked barley are often found in stouts as well.
Yeast I would go with American 1 not a lot flavor added, but Irish and London can be used as well.
Stout is a wide deep style and very complex. You can do a lot with the style so I encourage creativity when brewing yours. It is a style where you can find a niche to stand out from the crowd if you do your buddies will be patting you on the back and the ladies will be knocking down your door.