Without a doubt, Guinness is one of the world’s most recognizable beers. Not only is it one of the most recognizable, it has almost, single-handedly, eradicated almost every other beer in it’s style to become what seems to be the only apparent example of a Dry Irish Stout.
Guinness’s brewing history dates back to the early days of Porter, whereby the story of Porter and Stout are inextricably linked. Stout originally referred to a stronger version of Porter. The term “Stout Porter” would have been synonymous with the brown beers, letting the consumer know of the relative higher gravity to which it was brewed. In it’s heyday, Porter would have been brewed with mostly, if not all, brown malt. With the advent of “Black Patent Malt” in 1817, brewers then had another option for making the highly popular beer. What they found was that they were able to use a grist of mostly pale malt and enough patent malt to get the same colour. Pale malt has a much higher efficiency than brown malt does, so they could use less grain, thus lowering their production costs. When roasted barley came on the scene, brewers had yet another option to use when brewing their porters and as such, the divergence of porter and stout began.
Another wedge driven between the two beers is the water. Most of the world’s beer styles developed because of the natural chemistry of the water with which it was first brewed. The water of Dublin is higher in bicarbonates than London, making it quite alkaline. This gives the brewers of Dublin the ability, nay, the necessity, to increase the percentage of darker, more acidic, roasted grains in order to achieve the proper pH in the mash. Something I also learned from watching a video from Brewing TV, it was illegal in England at the time to use unmalted grain for brewing. The government used to tax malt and therefore required brewers to use only malted grains. In comparison the brewers in Ireland didn’t have this restriction. Combine all these factors with a couple hundred years of brewing evolution, and you have the stout we know and love today.
The history is rather vague and we only have access to a certain amount of information, but from what I’ve researched, this makes the most sense to me.
As stated, Guinness is undoubtedly the premier maker of dry Irish Stout. It is the dream of many a homebrewer to concoct one of these magnificent brews and serve it to their friends with chest proudly upwards. Unfortunately, Guinness does not allow us to peer into the darkness so easily, as it proves to be one of the more elusive beers to brew. They understandably guard their process closely, as letting people in on their secrets could slowly chip away at their world domination.
We may never know how to exactly pull off a proper Guinness Stout, but I will attempt to shine a light into the abyss.
First thing we need to look at is the water. Dublin’s water has without a doubt a significant effect on the resulting beer. We don’t exactly know if, or how Guinness treats their water, so we will have to guess at that. A good starting point is to adjust your water to a referenced mineral breakdown of Dublin water. I will use the values from Bru’n Water which has proven to be a fantastic reference tool for calculating water adjustments. The following values are what it suggests for the Dublin profile:
- Calcium: 120 ppm
- Magnesium: 4 ppm
- Sodium: 12 ppm
- Sulphate: 55 ppm
- Chloride: 19 ppm
- Bicarbonate: 315 ppm
Now if you’re not at the point where you’re adjusting your water, do not despair. If you’ve been brewing good beers up until now, just go with it, I’m sure it will be fine.
NOTE: For experiment’s sake, this batch will use my existing water profile, without any adjustments, to use as a ‘baseline’. In the subsequent batches, I will add the salts to see exactly what impact they have on the resulting beer.
As for the grist, I’m going to assume they would use a premium English malt such as Maris Otter. We know roasted barley is the proper ingredient to use for that dark, roasted, bitterness that is synonymous with Guinness stout. A trick I’m going to employ is something I read in Jamil Zainasheff’s – Brewing Classic Styles. He says, the only way to get that true stout flavour and colour is to crush the roasted barley as much as possible, ideally to a fine dust in a coffee grinder. Jamil hasn’t led me astray yet, so I’ll try his suggestion. From reading Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels, along with Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher, flaked barley is used to give Guinness that smooth, creamy mouth feel. (Another trick Guinness uses to achieve this, is by using a special tap that utilizes a CO2/nitrogen mix to produce smaller bubbles in the beer, giving it a rich creamy head and smooth texture, as opposed to the sometimes harsher pure CO2.)
Guinness is a dry stout, so you don’t want any residual sugars left when fermentation is finished. Some recipes will have crystal malt in them. Crystal malts add unfermentable sugars to the wort, which is fine for other types of stout, but it’s not what we want in a dry Irish Stout. An Irish ale yeast such as Whitelabs #WLP004, or Wyeast #1084, will ferment with a low level of esters, but you will need to control your fermentation in order for them to fully attenuate. Another trick from Jamil is to use a neutral, more attenuative strain like Whitelabs California Ale #WLP001 , Wyeast American Ale #1056, or Safale US-05 to ensure it finishes dry.
One elusive element of Guinness, is what people often refer to as the ‘twang’. Porters in the early days were commonly left to age up to a year or more, developing a pleasing sourness due to the likely inoculation of Brettanomyces bacteria that would have undoubtedly been present in the large wooden vats it was stored in. Brewers and pub owners would regularly mix this aged (stale) beer with younger and fresher (mild) beer. One reason would be to improve the taste of the beer, and secondly, it takes an enormous amount of space and an enormous amount of investment to store and age huge vats of beer. So if they could mix some in with a younger, less aged beer and get pleasing results, all the better for the bottom line.
Apparently this is a technique that Guinness uses to this day. We as home brewers may have a tricky time replicating this, but I’ve read about a couple different ways to emulate it. First, is to make a sour mash. Set aside a small amount of unfermented wort from your mash (say 1/2 gallon). Add some freshly crushed grain to it and leave it out on the counter to sour. (The lactic bacteria naturally present in the grain will get this process going) Be sure to cover it with a paper towel or cloth. It may develop a bit of ‘scum’ on the top after a few days, but you can just skim this off, and when ready, boil it for 15 mins to sterilize it. Then it can be added to your fermentor to get the desired level of sourness. The second option, which I find would probably be much easier, is to add a small amount of acid malt to the mash to give it the desired acidic twang.
NOTE: Again, I’m just going to go with Jamil’s basic dry stout recipe this time around and introduce some changes in the next batch.
I’m going to employ a double infusion mash to give me two steps. The first step will be at 122°F for a short 15 minute protein rest to allow the flaked barley to become less viscous and make it easier for sparging. Then with the second infusion, I will bring the mash up to a saccharification rest at 152°F, which should provide us with a largely fermentable wort.
Here is what I’ve come up with based on Jamil’s recipe for a dry Irish stout:nd Storage
Hoptomology’s Guiness Irish Stout Clone – All Grain
|Type: All Grain||Brewer: Hoptomology|
|Equipment: 7.5 Gallon Stainless Steel Pot + 5 Gallon Coleman Cooler Mash Tun|
|Est Original Gravity: 1.042 SG||Measured Original Gravity:|
|Est Final Gravity: 1.009 SG||Measured Final Gravity:|
|Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.3 %||Actual Alcohol by Vol:|
|Bitterness: 41.0 IBUs||Bitterness Ratio: 0.976|
|Est Color: 28.8 SRM||Calories: 0.0 kcal/12oz|
|Total Grains Used: 7 lbs 9.6 oz||Total Hops Used: 1.748 oz|
|Mash Style: Double Infusion, Medium Body|
|Brewhouse Efficiency: 81.00 %|
|Sparging: Fly sparge with 2.49 gal water at 168.0 F to achieve 6.16 gal|
|Boil Size: 6.16 gal||Boil Time: 60 min|
|End of Boil Volume: 5.46 gal||Estimated pre-boil gravity: 1.036 SG|
|Batch Size (into fermenter): 5.00 gal||Measured pre-boil Gravity:|
|Final Bottling Volume: 4.80 gal|
|Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage|
|Primary Fermentation: 10.00 days at 68.0 F|
|Secondary Fermentation: 0.00 days at 0.0 F|
Carbonation and Storage
|Carbonation Type: Keg||Volumes of CO2: 1.8|
|Pressure/Weight: 4.66 PSI||Age Beer for: 3.00 days|
|Keg/Bottling Temperature: 40.0 F||Storage Temperature: 34.0 F|
|Taste Rating: 0.0 / 50|
|Other: *** CRUSH RAOSTED BARLEY TO A FINE POWDER USING A COFFEE GRINDERDownload Recipe: Hoptomology’s Guiness Irish Stout Clone – All Grain|
|www.hoptomology.com – A little about life, a lot about beer.|
Read the review here: Reviewing my Guinness Irish Stout…