Well, Mac’s Brewing is back in full operation again (and I gotta tell you, it feels pretty good), with two brews currently fermenting. I brewed Mac’s Chocolate Hazelnut Stout on Wednesday February 6, 2013. It’s in the primary fermenter right now, sitting next to Mac’s Bourbon Barrel Stout.
Mac’s Chocolate Hazelnut is another huge stout. It’s the same recipe as Mac’s Black Forest Stout (BFS), but instead of adding cherries to the fermenter, I will add Hazelnut flavoring to the keg (or bottles). As with the bourbon barrel stout, I altered my mash temperature in order to produce a more fermentable wort. The final gravity on BFS was fairly high, so I decided to brew it to ferment down a little further. BFS had more than enough body and flavor, so a lower final gravity should still leave plenty of body/flavor, and not dry out the beer.
I mashed at 150° F, compared to BFS, which mashed at 155° F. My original gravity, after a 60 minute boil, was 1.086. That was the same gravity reading as the BFS, but after adding the cherries to the Black Forest, the gravity was 1.088. Black Forest fermented down to a terminal gravity of 1.020, so I anticipate the Chocolate Hazelnut should end up around 1.015 (really just a guess at this point – actually, I’m hoping it will end up at that gravity). I’ll know a little more when I rack it to the secondary fermenter net week. At any rate, no matter what the final gravity, or the ultimate alcohol content, this should be a very tasty and flavorful beer.
Well, so what about Mac’s Bourbon Barrel Stout? As alluded to in the previous newsletter, the bourbon stout was already 79% attenuated when racked to the secondary fermenter on January 23rd. It has continued to slowly ferment since then, which is a very good sign that the fermentation is healthy and proceeding as expected. It has really slowed down in the last 5 days, and I think it will be ready for conditioning on the bourbon soaked oak cubes within a week. We shall see!
I plan to brew again in about two weeks. This next endeavor will be a hybrid beer, similar to an Oktoberfest recipe, but brewed as an ale, rather than a lager. That won’t require months of aging, so it should be ready to consume about 2 months after brew day. I’m not sure what I’ll brew after that, but I will probably turn my attention toward some warm weather beers, like IPA’s and hefeweizens. I’ve never brewed an American style pale ale, so maybe I’ll put on my creative thinking cap and devise a recipe for that. Who knows, maybe some other style will come to mind; the possibilities are almost endless . . . . . suggestions, anyone?
That’s all the news I have (time for) now. Remember the ancient Egyptian proverb, “The mouth of a perfectly happy man is filled with beer.” CHEERS!