Peppermint Chocolate Stout

>> Sunday, November 10, 2013

Trying to keep the pipeline going, so today I'm brewing a beer that I'm hoping will be a wintertime pleaser, a Peppermint Chocolate Stout. This recipe is based on Andes Mint Chocolate Stout posted on by modernlifeisANDY.

I've been wanting to try a mint chocolate stout and this one kind of jumped out at me when I was perusing the recipe database on HBT. Mint and chocolate are an awesome combination in things like candy and ice cream. I'm hoping it will turn out to be a great combination in this beer too. I've never had a mint chocolate stout, so I'm kind of going in blind on this one. I figure I'm either going to love it or hate it. On the up side, the recipe has quite a few good reviews on HBT so I'm hoping for the best.

Here's the recipe as I'm making it

8# Crisp Maris Otter
1# Flaked Barley
8 oz Weyermann Carafa II
8 oz Briess Caramel 40L
8 oz Dingemans Chocolate
2.0 oz EK Goldings (60 min)
10 Celestial Seasonings Peppermint tea bags (10 min)
4 oz Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa powder (5 min)
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast in 1L starter
1t Vanilla extract at kegging (or to taste)

Mash at 156F for 60 minutes. Ferment at 62F.

Brewing Notes
I wanted to note, the purpose of the vanilla extract is to help bring out the chocolate notes. You don't want to add so much that it turns into a vanilla peppermint chocolate stout, so I'm going to start off with 1 teaspoon and go from there.

Update 12/4/2013
I kegged this last weekend. I ended up going with 2 teaspoons of Watkins pure vanilla into about 4.8 gallons of beer. That amount seemed to enhance the chocolate notes without standing out. The peppermint was noticeable in the flavor and aroma. Looking forward to trying it after it's carbed.

Update 1/6/2014
This has been in the keg for a little while now. It's not my favorite beer, but it's not horrible. The peppermint is a bit strong. It definitely benefits from warmer serving temps as the chocolate notes have a tendency to disappear when it's too cold. Unfortunately the weather is pretty cold right now and so is my garage (where the kegerator is located). I think I'll probably end up bottling a lot of this and cellar it.

Update 4/21/14
I found out over the weekend that this beer placed first in the first round of the NHC (Denver) for category 21. I'm crossing my fingers that it does well in the finals. I think this really turned into a great beer after it got a little bit of age on it. As I mentioned before, the peppermint was a little strong when it was young but it developed nicely. This isn't a style I can drink pint after pint, but it's pretty delicious as a dessert beer.