I’ve been slacking on posting, not brewing: summer brought in a rad heather ale for which I’ve completely lost the recipe, two different batches of plum wine more or less based on the September 23rd Massacre. One of the two carboys of that batch contains 32 lbs of plums and 14 lbs of sugar. #@!$%!# phenomenal.
More recently I’ve gotten this cyser-stout thing in the bucket. I don’t know if this is a thing that people do and I just wasn’t able to find any record of it, or if it’s just a freestyle clusterfuck from beginning to end, but I’ve been wanting to make a hybrid cider-beer for a couple of years now. I’ve had some really excellent hopped ciders but I wanted more of a roasted-apple flavor, so I rigged up a modestly hoppy stout recipe. This recipe is exceptionally well-suited to a partial malt technique; it’s got the fermentables of a full 5-gal batch but keeping the liquid volume down is crucial to leave room for the 3 gallons of cider.
Here’s the stout recipe:
9 lb DME light 1 lb caramel malt 1 lb carafa/black 2oz Warrior hops (60 min) 1 oz Amarillo hops (15 min) 1 oz Cascade/Chinook/Centennial (your choice) (5 min)
Do the usual with mashing and sparging the black/carafa, then top up to about 2.5 gallons for the boil and, again, conduct yourself in the appropriate and accustomed manner for 60 minutes. Rejoice. Strain the wort into your fermenter, save a few tablespoons for a brandywort, and the stout portion of your cyser stout is complete. Alternately, you can top it off with cold water and make a totally acceptable basic stout with the yeast of your choice.
If, on the other hand, you want to kick out the same jam I did, you top it off with 3 gallons of no-preservative cider, cool, and pitch. I’m lucky enough to live pretty close to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula–these same orchards grow heirloom apples for some of Washington’s best damn cideries and what do you know, they’ll sell that stuff to anybody who walks up. (Thanks Annaka!) Trader Joes also sells an excellent preservative-free spiced cider. I used two gallons of orchard cider and one TJ. I wish I could remember what yeasts I used, but the specifics escape me at this point: a packet of dry ale yeast and a packet of dry wine yeast. Not champagne yeast. Use whatever you like best, this recipe’s all over the place anyway. I trust you.
Let me know how it turns out if you try this. It’s been fermenting for a couple of weeks and probably still has another to go before bottling day. The airlock smells amazing.