This is my fourth time attempting a breakfast stout. The first was one of my favourites of the beers I’ve brewed (though my standards may have been lower back then). At the time, I thought it was an original idea. Being from Ontario and living in Montreal at the time, I’d never seen the like, since we don’t get Founders in Canada and F&M Brewery hadn’t yet released their Oatmeal Coffee Stout.
But, inspired by St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout and Mill Street Coffee Porter, I decided that I could combine the two to create a “breakfast” beer. Taking it one step further, I added a little rauchmalt to signify cigarettes, and with the idea of actually drinking it with breakfast, I made a point of keeping the alcohol content under 4%.
The beer was as delicious as it sounds. As soon as it was gone I brewed a slightly tweaked version of the same recipe, and found myself with my first infected batch. It smelled like compost, though it didn’t taste as bad as it smelled. I never poured it out – my sometimes brewing partner Joe and I eventually did drink it all, though it took about a year.
For my third attempt I again followed a similar recipe, but switched from using brewed coffee to adding coarsely-ground coffee directly to the fermenter. I let the beer sit on 100g of beans for 5 days and the beer turned out rancid. The nose smacked you in the face with intense, overbearing coffee and the flavour was extremely tannic and astringent. It’s the only time I’ve ever poured out a batch.
Clearly this old recipe was bad luck, so for this fourth attempted I started from scratch, abandoning the low-alcohol and rauchmalt ideas in favour of making a rich, full-bodied oatmeal coffee stout. The beer is fermenting away as we speak.
Now living in Melbourne, where coffee is taken very, very seriously, I will be using the coffee I drink every day, locally blended and roasted at Wide Open Road here in Brunswick. I don’t know where the name “Bathysphere” comes from, but I do appreciate that it makes for a good alliterative name for the beer:
Bathysphere Breakfast Beer (23 litres)
- 4kg 2-row
- 500g oats
- 500g roasted barley
- 350g chocolate malt
- 200g dark crystal
- 20g fuggles FWH
- 20g fuggles @ 30
- 20g fuggles @ 10
- 20g fuggles @ 0
- 100g cold-brewed cracked coffee beans (at bottling)
- 100g raw sugar (priming)
Planning to bottle on Sunday – updates forthcoming.
Update #1 (December 2) – The beer is now bottled after 11 days in the fermenter. Before adding the coffee, the dominant flavour was dark chocolate, and it was more dry then I expected – maybe mashed too low. After adding the coffee, which really didn’t look like a lot, the dominant flavour was coffee! Too dominant! I imagine it’s going to mellow over the remainder of the year and taste quite nice in January, but we’ll have to wait and see.