Session Stout 2020

I like session beers! I like stouts! Let’s do another one!

This recipe is a minor modification of a previous session stout. The main malt change was to swap in Vienna malt for Maris Otter, and use full-octane chocolate (350 SRM) versus the pale chocolate (225 SRM) that I used last time. Because this isn’t really a hop-centered beer, I switched the hops over to just a small charge of Magnum at the beginning of the boil. I also decided to swap flaked oats for flaked barley, because why not?

Session Stout 2020

  • 6.25 lb. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 lb. flaked oats (Quaker Old Fashioned Oats)
  • 0.75 lb. roasted barley (Briess)
  • 0.5 lb. chocolate malt (Briess)
  • 0.25 lb. black malt – 2-row (Briess)
  • 0.125 lb. rice hulls
  • 0.60 oz. Magnum hop pellets (13.2% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)

Target Parameters

  • 1.041 s.g, 1.011 f.g., 3.9% abv, 31 IBU, 35 SRM
  • Infusion mash, 156°, no sparge
  • Claremont tap water, with Campden tablet to remove chloramine


  • I mashed in with 7.25 gallons of water at 161°, to hit a mash temperature of 156°. I started recirculating after 10 minutes, for a total of 60 minutes in the mash. I neglected to do a mash-out–oops!
  • After draining the grain basket, I had 6.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.033, for 67% mash efficiency. For this batch, I’m still trying to dial in my efficiencies on the Anvil, so I was a touch on the lower side of what I intended.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort, before transferring it to the fermenter.
  • Starting gravity was 1.038, a little lower than targeted (1.041). Oh well! I brewed this beer on 7 November 2020, and fermented at around 66°.
  • I kegged the beer on 22 November 2020, hitting 1.017 final gravity. This equates to only 2.8% abv! As is usual these days, I used keg conditioning to carbonate this batch. It took 2.7 ounces of corn sugar in 1 cup of water. After 2 weeks, I topped up the CO2 level with force carbonation.


  • Appearance
    • Pours with a beautiful and highly persistent deep tan head; the beer itself is clear and deep brown, almost black.
  • Aroma
    • Coffee aroma with a touch of chocolate; no hops to speak of; very clean character overall.
  • Flavor
    • Coffee and roast malt notes predominate; not much for “maltiness” otherwise. Moderate, very clean bitterness.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Very light bodied, pretty dry on the finish with a lingering but not unpleasant bitterness. Moderate level of carbonation.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Absolutely! For what it is–a dry, relatively light session beer–it’s pretty darned satisfying. The background malt body is a little light, but that’s OK. I expected a little more sweetness given the higher finishing gravity. Not sure what’s up with that.
  • Overall
    • 7/10