Did I ever tell you about the time that I brewed a Dry Irish Stout and the color came out more brown than black? If not, let me type it up here. Even though the beer missed on color, I planned a way to fix it so that when it poured from my tap it looked like a stout.
Because I am always trying to brew with different ingredients, I picked up a lighter colored roasted barley than I would normally. The Briess Light Roasted Barley coming in at 300° Lovibond caught my eye. I wanted to use it to see what flavors it would bring to the beer (more on that later).
I milled the grain in a food processor until it was a powder. Then, I top mashed it. I added it to my mash tun with 15 minutes to go in my hour of mashing. With this procedure, I was pushing to get the color into the range where I wanted it to be. After primary fermentation, I could see it was a dark brown in the carboy. In the glass, it was a lighter shade after I pulled a small sample from it.
Instead of shrugging it off, I thought of a way to darken the color without affecting the flavor too much.
Enter Midnight Wheat
De-bittered dark malts are used in other beer styles like black lagers (Schwarzbiers) or black IPAs. Midnight wheat malt is one of those types of malt and I have been wanting to use it for a while. Reading the description, I knew it would be the perfect addition to darken my stout.
I took a half gallon of spring water and heated it to 160°F and added a small amount of milled Midnight Wheat malt in a muslin bag. After I steeped it for 5 minutes, the liquid was black as night. I boiled it for 15 minutes and allowed it to cool for a little bit. Once it was cool enough to handle, I added it to my keg. After that, I racked my stout into the keg and carbonated it.
After a couple of days, I drew off a small sample from the tap. The black gold was flowing and I knew I had done it.
How Did It Taste?
The stout itself was a gloriously smooth beer with coffee and chocolate notes. One person said it tasted like coffee ice cream in a glass. I am not sure how much the Midnight wheat affect the flavor, but I was happy with the results. I do know how much it affected the color and I am glad I used it.