Dry Irish Stout
- Adding that sour Guinness 'twang'
- Notes / Process
- Pictures / Videos
"I just wanted to let you know I brewed up a 5gal batch of your dry Irish stout recipe and it came out awesome!!! Nobody can tell the difference between the Guinness and your Irish Stout! Thanks for all that you do! You are making a difference out there! Also the Electric Hop Candy NEIPA, the barrel aged bourbon RIS. All hits and I continue to use your recipes and make everyone knows where they come from! Let me know how to donate. Thanks again!" - Salvatore A.
"It is extremely tasty!" - Jerz
"I brewed this recipe scaled down to 5 gallons last month and am now enjoying it very much." - gilroy437
"This one came out perfect!" - jonymac
"I love this hobby and I love this beer ! ! ! This is the first stout in my new nitrogen tap system and it took a couple of days to get it balanced. BUT. LAST NIGHT I got the perfect pour and it tasted SOOO good and silky smooth..." - David_H
"In the last few months I have brewed 250 litres of 5 different types of beer (4 from your recipe list) for my sons wedding. This Guinness clone was the first to go. Australians are not normally stout drinkers but this recipe hit the mark. It is the closest recipe to the original and will be one of my regulars from now on. I look forward to trying your more or your recipes, they are constantly very good. Thanks" - whistledown
"Brewed 10 gallons at the end of April. Just tapped the first keg. Looks and tastes fantastic. Bought a nitro set up for my kegerator just for this. Thanks for the awesome recipe! (video of the first pour)" - TimothyLauzon
Dry Stout is a very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale. The most famous example being Guinness which is an Irish variety that was the main inspiration for our recipe. This is a sharp (not to be mistaken with harsh), dry beer with a bittersweet coffee / chocolate finish.
Many who have never tried the style make the mistake of assuming it's a heavy beer based on the appearance alone. A Dry Irish Stout is in fact a light-bodied beer. The dryness coupled with the low levels of alcohol and carbonation make it an easy beer to drink by the pint.
The dry roasted character comes from the highly kilned roasted barley (500L) and moderately high levels of bitterness, while the flaked barley (1.4-1.5L) provides the slick/creamy mouthfeel.
Roasted barley (500L) imparts the coffee like flavour and aroma found in Dry Stouts
Flaked barley (1.4-1.5L) adds protein for body and head retention
Try and use the recommended White Labs WLP004 Irish Red Ale or Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeasts. While something like Fermentis Safale US-05 (Chico) yeast can be substituted and works well, it's just not the same as it's a bit too clean fermenting and lacks some of the complexity.
Adding that sour Guinness 'twang'
While not required for a Dry Irish Stout, a true Guinness will use a small percentage (rumoured to be 3%) of soured beer for a slightly sour 'twang' in the finish product. If you do want to try this, the following options are available:
- Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus or White Labs WLP677 Lactobacillus Delbrueckii. This will develop the sourness, but can take time (sometimes months). You can also simply leave the 3% of beer out on the counter and let it go sour for a few weeks from whatever bacteria it picks up in the air. (Make sure to boil for 10 minutes before adding back in). This natural method of souring is likely what Guinness used to do traditionally. A similar option that some may find easier is to purchase commercial Guinness a few weeks ahead of the brew day, sour it by leaving it out in a bowl, and then freeze it. Thaw it the night before brew day and add to the boil 10 minutes from the end. After primary fermentation, put 3% (2.4 cups per 5 gallons) of the beer into a separate jug and pitch bacteria meant for producing sour beers such as
- A simpler solution is to add 88% lactic acid to the beer after fermentation is done, before kegging. This is said to be what Guinness does today because it's cheaper, easier, and more efficient than relying on bacteria. All is takes is around 3-4 ml of acid per 5 gallons of beer. Go sparingly adding 0.5 ml at a time with a syringe (without needle) until the taste is to your liking. You can also use this method to do a trial run to see if you like the results: Once the beer is kegged and on tap, add one to two drops with an eye dropper to a 16 oz glass of beer and see what you think. One drop per 16 oz is equivalent to 2 ml in 5 gallons. Careful not to overdo it!
- The last option is to replace 3% of the base malt (the Maris Otter (2.5-4L) and flaked barley (1.4-1.5L)) with acidulated (sour) malt (1.7-2.8L). This will of course affect your mash pH as well so careful to not have it go too low.
Now all this said, don't think that you have to choose one of these three options. We typically do not and while that slight 'twang' may be missing we still love the resulting beer. If we feel it's required, a single drop of 88% lactic acid (option 2) in a pint glass before you pour is the simplest way and doesn't affect the entire batch.
Brew up a batch and let us know how you like it!
Dry Irish Stout
Size: 12 US gallons (post-boil @ 68F)
Mash Efficiency: 95%
Calories: 145 kcal per 12 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.044 (style range: 1.036 - 1.050)
Final Gravity: 1.011 (style range: 1.007 - 1.011)
Colour: 26.7 SRM (style range: 25 - 40)
Alcohol: 4.2% ABV (style range: 4% - 5%)
Bitterness: 40 IBU (style range: 30 - 45)
12 lb British Maris Otter malt (2.5-4L) (69.6%)
3.5 lb Flaked barkey (1.4-1.5L) (20.3%)
1.75 lb Roasted barley (500L) (10.1%) - added at end of mash*
4 oz UK East Kent Goldings hops (6.4%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min [40 IBU]
1 Whirlfloc tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast or White Labs WLP004 Irish Red Ale yeast
(~373 billion cells [3-4 fresh packs] or an equivalent starter)
*Add the roasted barley (500L) after the 90 minute mash rest is complete. This avoids lowering the mash pH too far and reduces the chance of astringency which can occur from over-steeping highly roasted grains. Once the 90 minute mash is over, stop the mash pump, add the roasted barley, and give it a good stir to mix it into the existing grain bed. You need to stir well as otherwise the fine layer of powdery roasted barley on top may stop the flow. Start the mash pump again and continue with your mashout. The wort will be cloudy again but it will clear as the grain bed rises to mashout temperature and you hold for ~10 minutes.
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Notes / Process
- Add 500mg potassium metabisulfite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine / chloramine (if required).
- Water treated with brewing salts to our Balanced flavour profile: Ca=50, Mg=10, Na=16, Cl=70, SO4=70. (Hit minimums on Ca and Mg, keep the Cl:SO4 ratio low and equal. Do not favour flavour / maltiness or bitterness / dryness. For balanced beers). For more information on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustment guide.
- The flaked barley (1.4-1.5L) does not need to be milled as it has already been rolled flat and toasted. Add it to the mash as is.
- roasted barley (500L) in your normal grain mill, to get the best colour and flavour use a good quality burr (not blade) coffee grinder to get an extremely fine grind, almost like dust. To accomplish this we use a Gaggia burr grinder. While you can mill the
- 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness.
- Single infusion mash at 148F for 90-120 mins.
- Raise to 168F mashout temperature and hold for 10 mins.
- ~90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water (measured at mash temperature). Collect 13.9 gallons.
- Boil for 90 minutes, adding Whirlfloc and hops per schedule. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
- Cool the wort quickly to 66F (we use a one-pass convoluted counterflow chiller to quickly lock in hop flavour and aroma) and transfer to fermenter.
- Aerate or oxygenate the chilled wort to a level of 8-10 ppm dissolved oxygen. For more information refer to our Aerating / Oxygenating Wort guide.
- Pitch yeast and ferment at 66-68F (wort temperature). We use modified stainless fermenting buckets in wine fridges.
- Ferment until approximately 5 points from final gravity and then raise the temperature to 70-72F until finished. In our case we simply turn off the fermenting fridges and allow the beer to naturally rise to room temperature. Assume fermentation is done if the gravity does not change over ~3 days.
- Before packaging you may optionally rack to a brite tank (we use 5 gallon glass carboys) that has been purged with CO2 to avoid oxygen pickup, add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and allow to clear for 2-3 days. In most cases we recommend skipping this step as the less you handle the beer and potentially expose it to oxygen, the better.
- Package as you would normally. We rack to kegs that have first been purged with CO2 and then chill to near freezing while carbonating at the same time in a 6-keg conditioning fridge. After ~1-2 weeks at serving pressure the kegs will be carbonated and ready to serve. In a hurry? Feel free to raise the CO2 pressure temporarily to 30-40 PSI to carbonate fast over a 24 period, and then turn back down to serving pressure.
- This beer is best served on a stout faucet pushed by a nitrogen/CO2 blend to get a nice creamy head and close to flat beer, exactly how Guinness is served on tap. One inexpensive way to mimic this is to use a syringe (without needle). Pour the beer as you would normally and then suck up a syringe full and force it back into the beer, hard. Repeat 2-3 times and you'll knock most of the CO2 out of solution leaving a nearly flat beer with a creamy head. Not quite the same texture, but similar to a nitro pour. We tried this for years before finally adding a real nitrogen/CO2 serving setup to our basement bar.
For detailed brewing instructions, see our Brew Day Step by Step guide.
Questions? Visit our Dry Irish Stout forum thread.
Pictures / Videos
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A Gaggia burr grinder is used in our brewery to mill the roasted barley super-fine for the best colour and flavour
Guinness Dry Irish Stout at various stages of settling out