Homebrewing Gingerbread Stout
After a few beers I gained the cojones to start an email string suggesting the PorchDrinking team start homebrewing together. I’m humble about a lot of things I do, but dammit, I make damn good beer. All of my best friends can attest to that… or maybe I just have really nice friends. Either way, I decided to invite the team to my house to brew on my MacGyver’d homebrew setup and this is how we got started Homebrewing Gingerbread Stout.
Over the course of our email string we decided that we wanted to brew a winter ale that we could share with friends or serve at a PorchDrinking holiday (maybe ugly sweater?) party. We ultimately narrowed down the finalists to a Chai Belgian Stout, Chocolate Cherry Stout and a Gingerbread Stout. Here’s how we got there and the method to our madness for Homebrewing Gingerbread Stout.
Goals for the Beer:
- Make a stout or stout-like beer to submit to the Mountain Sun/Southern Sun/Vine Street stout competition.
- Make something unique and holiday oriented.
- Make it a moderately-large beer by ABV standards. We want a winter warmer somewhere in the range of 7-9% ABV.
How we’re going to do it:
- Use fresh spices including fresh zested ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
- Use a sweeter, less roasty base stout style to avoid roasted coffee flavors overpowering the gingerbread spices. We ended up deciding on a milk stout base recipe.
- Replace normal roasted barley common to stouts with German Carafa malts. These malts are dehusked and debittered but still kilned long enough to give us the dark color we’re looking for.
- Use a significant quantity of Belgian Biscuit malt to build a nice bready, toast-like base malt flavor.
- Use flaked oats for a silky smooth mouth-feel… I mean, why the hell not?
We brewed 10 gallons of our Gingerbread Stout on Saturday November 10th. Look for Part 2 of this article to read more about the recipe and how the brew day went!