After completing nearly 300 brews you would think that there isn’t a lot that I haven’t brewed already…but you would be wrong. There are quite a few beer styles I am yet to brew but the one style that I suddenly got an itch to make was a milk stout. I love drinking milk stout but I don’t come across it quite that often.
In putting together an order from a brewery wholesaler I glanced through all the departments to see if there were any ingredients that jumped out as being needed. And that is when I was reminded that I hadn’t yet done a milk stout when I saw “Lactose 25kg”. Obviously the itch got more urgent when the sack arrived.
At this point I needed a recipe. You might wonder where I get my recipe ideas from. Unlike some who may trawl the internet for other’s recipes and gamble on the suitability or competence of the recipes you may find, I simply start with malt bill and go from there. It takes a 100 or so brews I think brewing with a lot of different kinds of malt – from memory I think I have almost every UK malt type available in my malt store and a lot of the European ones too – before a brewer starts to really know what to expect from their malt creations, not to mention a lot more understanding of how their yeast chews through these malts and how the malts work with the yeast chemical compounds they create. Experimentation has always been my watchword and learn from what you do at all times. By never following in anyone’s footsteps you are guaranteed to go your own way and find your own things out – and also have the hardest learning curve too. But you can’t have one without the other!
I wanted a really malty sweet stout. Milk stouts should be luxurious. Like the satisfaction you remember from when you were on your mother’s teat!
So I wanted a high final gravity and I wanted it to have lots of body and a really malty backdrop like malted milk biscuits. I am fortunate that my yeast is not too attenuative so it generally produces a malty finish anyway so I didn’t need to use THAT much lactose for body. (Lactose doesn’t ferment out with brewers yeast so all of it stays in the beer at the end – that’s what makes the beer sweet).
To achieve the maltiness I had to rein back on the roast barley because that can really dominate other flavours. In its place have gone a lot of European malts which give toasty malty biscuit notes.
Once the malt bill was decided a thought is cast to hop. Well hop in a stout is not quite so important. But I definitely didn’t want a hop that was going to take over the beer. The malt had to shine through. But I did want a hop element. So I went for a hop that gives a spicy, woody backdrop as if maybe a drop of cinnamon or nutmeg had fallen into the milk in this milk stout. In order to push past all the other flavour a good quantity of those hops were used.
First taste out of the fermenter was gratifying and you should expect to see this beer in Trackside in a week or so. Any pub wishing to order this limited supply cask can contact me on 07976 263344. There will be bottles of this and maybe a minikeg or 2…Look out for it by name:
Cookies & Milk Stout 4.6%abv
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