Well, the temperature has definitely dropped here in Toronto, and winter has arrived after much delay. At this time of year, a look in my beer cellar has me seeking out the darker side of the spectrum. In particular, a nice dark stout. That would do the trick nicely to warm up my cold bones. Just so happens I have the Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout clone myself and fellow homebrewers David Thompson and Peter Caira brewed back in November.
Question is, is it any good?
As you will recall from the original post, we tried out WhiteLabs’ Platinum Series Yorkshire Square yeast which we had hoped would bring out a complex yeast character reminiscent of Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. We also attempted to mimic the water from North Yorkshire (or at least our best estimate of it’s make up) with generous amount of chalk and gypsum.
This time around you won’t have to just rely on my opinion, Peter & David, both avid, award winning homebrewers in their own right, have given us their opinion on our collaboration brew.
Straight out of the gate it was evident that there was a massive yeast/chalky character. To me it was pretty overwhelming. My guess it’s from the water additions that we added to the boil and the unique character of the Yorkshire Square yeast. The original has a very subdued yeast presence compared to ours. There are so many factors affecting fermentation, that it would be incredibly difficult to get it exactly as Samuel Smith’s does; open fermentation in slate tubs, pitching rate, oxygenation rate, temperatures, etc. The reason I’m citing this is because yeast performance and the resulting flavour characteristics are dependent on these factors. Perhaps we aerated the wort too much, which brought out a greater amount of esters? Over pitched? Underpitched?
Another thing I noticed is that it’s not as full tasting as the original, and it lacks the rich, chocolatey flavour. There is a touch behind the chalky/yeast character, but it pales in comparison to Samuel Smith’s. I thought for sure with all those oats and minerals in the water that it would have a much bigger mouthfeel, but it doesn’t. Then again, we did mash low at 150F. Next time I’d like to mash higher and see how much it changes things. The head didn’t last as long as I’d hoped for either.
I have found that the estery quality has subdued a bit; gone is the initial slight banana notes, but has developed into a pleasant fruityness. It’s nice drinker for sure, but misses the rich chocolately notes of the real deal. Not sure how to quite account for that; use some brown malt or pale chocolate? Either way it’s fine beer.
Everyone who’s tried it says something like “this is mild for a stout / I could drink that all day” and in one case, a well-informed friend of mine asked if it was a schwarzbier! When I let a pint warm up a bit I get some faint notes of raisin or fig but very subdued. Roastiness is also in the background there but again, very subdued. Mouthfeel is nice – I like the level of carbonation and the oatmeal certainly smooths things out. Aroma is mostly roast/nut quality but again, subdued.
All in all I’d like to try this one again. I’d omit the water additions, bump up the mash temperature, and try a more standard yeast like White Labs 002 – English Ale. Perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh on my assessment of this beer, as David & Peter enjoyed it. Although I thought we had made an honorable attempt at cloning Samuel Smith’s Original based on what we knew, I don’t think we succeeded this time around.
Posted in Breweries, Brewing, How To, Recipes
Tagged all grain, English Brewing, homebrew, North Yorkshire, Old Tdcaster Brewery, Pale Ale Recipe, Samuel Smith's, single infusion, stout
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Oh Montreal, how I love thee.
Delicious food, friendly people, hip fashion, beautiful architecture, and of course, GREAT BEER.
This was my 3rd time visiting Montreal, and every time seems to get better and better. I’ve become much more obsessed with beer since my last visit, so I did some digging around to find out where we should go to sample some of Montreal’s amazing selection of beer…
245 Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC, H2X 1X7
We dropped into Benelux on our first night in town. We loved the beer and the outdoor patio so much, that we went back a second time the next night! It isn’t much to look at, decor wise, but it has a very friendly atmosphere, and the beers are impeccable. Every beer I tried, not just here, but also at the following 2 brewpubs, were incredibly clean. Very fresh and well cared for. I could tell that the draft lines are well kept and sanitized. I’m very sensitive to dirty draft lines and always feel like garbage the morning after, even if I only have 1 or 2 pints. Not so with Benelux, and I definitely had more than 1 or 2. My favourite was a Continue reading
If you’re anything like me, you’re always seeking out how to brew a better tasting beer. There seems to be endless possibilities and learning opportunities that can be had when brewing. Thankfully home brewers and craft brewers, by nature, like to experiment. Perpetually fiddling with recipes, equipment and the overall process is what we do.
A fellow home brewer tipped me off to a recipe he thought was amazing called “Lake Walk Pale Ale”. It showcases the famous Amarillo/Simcoe hop combination that I’ve read so much about. Unfortunately, up until recently, Simcoe hops have been very scarce around these parts. I’ve since scored a pound of them, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it. An interesting twist to the recipe is the use of ‘home-toasted’ malt. I had read about roasting your own grains in “Radical Brewing” and “Brewing Better Beer“, but hadn’t really thought much about until now. Since we are so incredibly fortunate to have access to a myriad of different malts from all over the globe, some would say, why bother roasting your own?
I say, why not? It’s something else to do that involves brewing!
You can achieve any number of roasts at home. Try roasting them dry, or try roasting them wet to get a caramel/crystal type malt. You can also play around with the temperature and the length to get flavours that you want. For example, Randy Mosher’s “Radical Brewing” outlines the following flavours you will get at various temperatures: Continue reading
Posted in Books, Brewing, How To, Recipes
Tagged ale, all grain, American Pale Ale, beer, DIY, grain, homebrew, how to, malt, Pale Ale Recipe
Well, the Stone Pale Ale that I brewed is in, and man, this is a seriously good beer. The flavours are very balanced, with a definite caramel flavour to it from the generous amounts of crystal malt (19%). The Ahtanum hops are a unique contribution. Even though I’m expecting the signature citrusy flavours associated with American hops, it’s flavours are slightly illusive, as they seem to really blend in well with the surrounding malt body. I’ve always remembered the saying that “if you can pick out one particular ingredient, then there’s too much of it”. They’re in there for sure, they just don’t jump out and hit you in the face. This beer is quite complex for having such a straight forward recipe.
One of the reasons, I think, is because of the water profile. I added some Epsom salt (0.55g per gallon) and Calcium Chloride (0.25g per gallon) to my water to match the profile stated in Stone’s book: The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance. Those levels are:
30ppm Ca / 85ppm SO4 / 12ppm Mg / 40ppm Na / 40ppm Cl
These numbers are not very far off my own water here from Lake Ontario, but the sulphate level is a bit higher at 85ppm as compared to mine of 28.6ppm. I’ve noticed that by using Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salt) as opposed to Calcium Sulphate (Gypsum), the resulting enhancement is slightly different. I’m not finding it as ‘harsh’ as I sometimes get with having too much gypsum in my beers. Maybe it’s just all in my head, because sulphate is sulphate, right? Maybe it’s the sulphate/chloride balance? I’m not sure. My point is, I think the water profile definitely made an impact on this beer in the form of added complexity.
The other interesting choice for this beer was Continue reading
Posted in Brew Reviews, Breweries, Brewing, Recipes
Tagged ale, all grain, American Pale Ale, beer, book reviews, homebrew, hops, Pale ale, Pale Ale Recipe, recipes, single infusion, Stone Brewing, Stone Brewing Co., Stone Pale Ale
After reading The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance, I got inspired by Greg & Steve’s passion for brewing. Their obsession with hops, and their unflinching drive to make beers that they love, is undeniable.
Stone released their first beer in July of 1996, 3 months before I finished a 5 year stint in Los Angeles. Man, did I miss out on some good beer! I hadn’t discovered brewing or even craft beer at that point. The only beer I knew how to put back was Corona. Things have certainly changed since then. Little did I know I was in the heart of the U.S. craft beer revolution there in California.
I’ve not yet had the good fortune of trying some of Stone’s beers. Beers like “Arrogant Bastard Ale“, Stone Smoked Porter or Stone Levitation Ale, but fortunately enough, some of these recipes are kindly included in the book. I’m planning a family vacation this fall down to Florida, where I’m determined to sample as much of these beers and other great U.S. craft brews as I can.
Being a big fan of your standard American Pale Ale, I was interested in brewing their first release, Stone Pale Ale. Particularly because it uses Ahtanum Hops, which I’ve never tried before. I went looking for some a few months back, but had no success, so I instead brewed it up using Amarillo instead of Ahtanum, and substituting Safale US-05 for the White Labs English Ale (WLP002) as suggested in the book. The beer still came out delicious and was a big hit around our neighbourhood. A couple weeks ago, I happened to be searching Continue reading
Posted in Books, Breweries, Brewing, How To, Recipes
Tagged ale, all grain, American Pale Ale, Arrogant Bastard Ale, beer, book reviews, brewing equipment, California, Craft Beer, homebrew, Pale Ale Recipe, Stone Brewing Co.