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Molasses Stout

When fall comes around, it is time for home brewers to put their minds to brewing strong, dark, warming ales to get through the winter.  To that end, we have come up with an inexpensive, simple, and mineral-rich recipe for five gallons of Molasses Stout.  This beer takes longer than normal to ferment out, as it is a strong ale, so make sure to give it a full six to eight weeks for fermentation before being bottled or kegged.

This ale turns out to be around 8% alcohol, with a rich flavor that has an added mineral taste from the iron in the molasses that goes quite well with the dark and medium roasted flavors provided by the flavoring malts.  This Ale may end up slightly less bitter than your typical stout, especially if the fermentation process is at all rushed.

HomeBrewing.com Brewer's Note
The first time I made this beer, I was working at a bakery, with plenty of molasses lying around – that’s where I got the idea to make a molasses stout.  I left the beer to ferment for four weeks, and then bottled the beer for a camping trip.  I did not add any priming sugar, and the result was that the beer became highly carbonated by the end of the fifth week of its existence – almost too carbonated.  If we had not have drunk the beer as fast as we did, some of the bottles very well may have exploded.  On the plus side, this beer carbonates itself nicely. I would recommend kegging or bottling at five to six weeks for a nice, even, natural carbonation over two more weeks.  But one should always sample the sweetness of an ale before bottling or kegging to ensure that it is not too sweet – especially when bottling in glass bottles.

Molasses Stout Recipe

Ingredients for 5 Gallon Extract Batch:

    Sugars
  • 5 gallons fresh spring, filtered, or glacier/snow melt water
  • 5 ½ lbs. dark malt extract
  • 4 ½ lbs. molasses

    Flavoring Malts
  • ¼ lb. Crystal 120 L malt
  • ½ lb. Chocolate malt
  • ½ lb. Cara Munich Malt
  • ¼ lb. Roasted Barley

    Hops
  • 1 oz. New Zealand Hallertaur hop pellets - (bittering)
    ½ oz. New Zealand Pacific Gem hop pellets - (flavoring)
    ¼ oz. Fuggle dried loose-leaf hops - (aroma)

    Yeast
  • Nottingham Ale yeast or other basic ale yeast

Directions for brewing:

First, allow your flavoring malts to soak in 3 gallons of your heated spring water for 20 minutes. Do not boil these grains, as this can destroy some of the more subtle mashing processes.  Best not to exceed 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Next, strain the flavoring malts or take out the grain bag, and add the rest of your water to the kettle, and bring the whole liquid to a boil.

Now, turn off the burner and add your malt extract and molasses, stirring the wort thoroughly to ensure that the sugars do not get burned on the bottom of the kettle.  Once the sugars have been thoroughly dissolved, bring the wort to a rolling boil and add the bittering hops and boil the wort for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.  Then add the flavoring hops for 15 more minutes, and after that add the aroma hops and boil for five more minutes and then turn the burner off and cool the wort to room temperature or 75 degrees, whichever is hotter

Now you can transfer the wort into your cleaned and sanitized fermentation vessel, prime the yeast and stir the wort with vigor.  Now plant the yeast in the beer and store in a cool, dark room for one week, taking care to check on the airlock every day to ensure that the foam has not come up through the airlock.  If you are using a blowoff assembly you won't have to worry about any airlocks.

After this first week is a good time to transfer your beer to a secondary fermentation vessel for the next two weeks, and we recommend a tertiary fermentation vessel after the third week.  Two more weeks, and the beer may be ready to bottle or ferment.  Always check that the beer has cleared somewhat or stabilized before bottling or kegging.

Published: October 26, 2010

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