Session Stout II

A little over a year ago, I brewed a batch of Irish stout based on a recipe in Jennifer Talley’s wonderful book, Brewing Session Beers. The result was pretty enjoyable, so I wanted to revisit the recipe. The main changes from the previous version was a different base malt (Maris Otter instead of American two-row) and using pale chocolate instead of full-on chocolate malt.

The end result was something that is almost there, but in need of a few last tweaks. I love it as a low-alcohol session beer, but feel it still needs a bit more body. I’ll certainly be coming back to this in the future!

Session Stout II

  • 6 lbs. Maris Otter Malt (Bairds)
  • 1 lb. flaked barley
  • 12 oz. roasted barley (Bairds)
  • 7.5 oz. pale chocolate malt (Crisp)
  • 4 oz. black barley (Briess)
  • 2 oz. rice hulls
  • 1 oz. Helga hop pellets (5.6% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1.09 oz. East Kent Goldings (6.0% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet
  • 1 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)

Target Parameters

  • 1.042 s.g, 1.009 f.g., 4.4% abv, 31 IBU, 42 SRM
  • Infusion mash with batch sparge
  • Water built from Claremont tap water with Campden tablet.


  • I mashed in with 166° strike water to hit a target temperature of 152°. After 60 minutes, I added 1.4 gallons of water at 185°, waited 10 minutes, vorlaufed and collected the first runnings. Next, I added 3.3 gallons of water at 185°, waited 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.25 gallons of water with a gravity of 1.035, for 71% efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, adding hops and finings per the schedule. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and cooled down to yeast pitching temperature (combination of cooling coil and time in fermentation chamber after transfer).
  • I transferred the beer to the fermenter and pitched the yeast. I brewed this beer on 4 December 2018, and fermented at 66°. Starting gravity was 1.042.
  • I kegged the beer on 4 Janaury 2019, when it had a final gravity of 1.014. This equates to a measured abv of 3.7%.

Tasting Notes

  • Aroma
    • Chocolatey, roasty, very clean
  • Appearance
    • Deep deep brown, black in the glass; very fine light brown head with excellent persistance; brilliantly clear
  • Flavor
    • Deceptively light flavor, that tilts towards the roasted side with a hint of chocolate. Not a terrible amount of malt backbone. The roastiness is balanced well against the hoppiness. Moderately bitter beer.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Dry, light-bodied beer, with moderately high carbonation as perceived in the mouth.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This is a pretty tasty, very drinkable beer. I feel like it is just a touch lighter on base malt character and mouthfeel than I like, although this is a pretty easy fix (a bit more base malt or perhaps use full octane chocolate malt instead of pale chocolate). The base recipe itself is pretty solid.
  • Overall
    • 6/10

1 thought on “Session Stout II

  1. I thought it was a great beer…
    No headaches from drinking several pints of that stuff.
    I’m guessing some more base malt like you said and slightly higher mashing temps would kick this beer up a notch!

    Liked by 1 person

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