Life has been a bit chaotic the past several months between a very busy work schedule, helping raise our very active 15-month-old daughter, and once again battling poorly designed crib assembly instruction manuals as we eagerly expect our second daughter any day now. Not surprisingly, this blog has suffered.

While I haven’t been writing much, I have been able to carve out the occasional time to enjoy a beer or two, and I’ve also managed to brew a couple nice beers here and there including what I’m calling Freedom Stout, an homage to my wife who will soon be able to re-join me in the ranks of craft beer aficionados once we deliver our baby.

In the winter, I’m rarely able to get out into the garage for an all-grain brewing session, usually too cold with a detached garage, so I tend to do more extracts in the comfort of my kitchen. In thinking of Freedom Stout, I was inspired by my friend Eric’s (aka Bearded Brewer’s) Stout Chocula homebrew which he recently wrote about, as well as one of my perennial favorites Founders Breakfast Stout. I wanted to brew a more sessionable stout in the 5% ABV range that didn’t bowl you over with booze, but still gave you some of the nice roasty qualities along with some coffee and chocolate undertones. Think Guinness meets Surly Coffee Bender.

I decided to use Midwest Supplies’ Peace Coffee Java Stout recipe kit as a foundation (more out of convenience), making some personal tweaks and adjustments to get to the beer I wanted. I brewed the beer a few weeks ago, which I’d characterize as an oatmeal coffee chocolate stout, and kegged it last night. It really turned out fantastic. Here’s the recipe I went with for the 5 gallon batch:

From the Midwest Supplies Peace Coffee Java Stout kit:
   6 lbs. Dark LME
   8 oz. Chocolate Malt (steeped at 152 for 30 min)
   4 oz. Flaked Barley (steeped at 152 for 30 min)
   4 oz. Caramel 60L (steeped at 152 for 30 min)
   4 oz. Roasted Barley (steeped at 152 for 30 min)
   1/2 oz. Challenger pellet hops (in boil at 60 min)
   1 oz. Tettnang pellet hops (in boil at 5 min)
   4 oz. Peace Coffee whole beans (ground and cold-pressed in 48 oz. of water, added to secondary)

Stuff I added:
   8 oz. flaked oats (steeped at 152 for 30 min)
   2 oz. black patent (steeped at 152 for 30 min)
   4 oz. cocoa nibs (secondary)
   Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley

60 minute boil
O.G. 1.046
Fermented at 68 degrees F for 14 days
F.G. 1.010
Racked to secondary with cold-pressed coffee and cocoa nibs for 4 days (appeared to be a very minor refermentation in secondary, I’m guessing thanks to the cocoa nibs)