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a stout without black malt?

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  • a stout without black malt?

    Curious if anyone has done this or what your thoughts are. For me black malt had been a mandatory piece to any stout. However the more I read historical references I see that Black malt wasnt around 200 years ago, but they were most definatly making stouts. So, what did they use (brown malt?) and is it worth it to make a historically accurate beer, crushing my prior beliefs and foundations, and running the risk it might suck.

    Im thinking Russian Imperial, 20 Plato starting grav, 60 IBUs, 80% pale, 4-5% roasted, 2-3% brown, some flaked for body, etc.

    "Uncle" Frank
    Frank Fermino
    Brewer I, Redhook, Portsmouth, NH
    Writer, Yankee Brew News, New England
    Wise-ass, Everywhere, Always

  • #2
    Uncle Frankenberry,
    F' black malt, many a stout have been made without it.

    Understand and respect brewing history but be fearless and dedicated to be original.
    Mike Roy
    Franklins Restaurant, Brewery & General Store
    5123 Baltimore Ave
    Hyattsville,MD 20781


    • #3
      According to Ray Daniels in "Designing Great Beers", the Stout was probably derived from the Porter styles some time in the mid 1700's when laborers would ask for a Stout Porter, differentiating it from the milder offerings within the style. It could therefore be well argued that Black Malt was not part of the grain bill, but rest assured some heavily roasted barley was.

      Commercial examples of brews actually called Stout didn't appear until the early 1800's where the malt bill did call for 50/50 Brown malt to Pale malts.

      Personally I like 1.8% dark roasted rye (500L), 3.5% Victory, Brown, Special B and Chocolate malt and 84.2% Maris Otter Pale in my Stout!

      God, but I love to brew beer!!

      Have Fun and Cheers!!

      Last edited by Scott M; 01-27-2010, 01:08 AM.


      • #4
        I know that black/roast barley is the traditional colouring agent for Irish stouts. They also use something called stout malt which we used to get from Minch-Norton down in Athy (while I was living in Dublin for 5 years). It is a slightly more colourful version of pale ale malt.

        The use of black malt in stouts/porters is not traditional at all. But that doesn't mean it can't work well.

        My stout grain bill looks like this:

        8% Roast barley (fawcett's)
        8% malted oats (fawcett's)
        6.5% crystal (70-80 L) (baird's)
        Balance: Marris Otter Pale Ale (fawcett's)


        Liam McKenna


        • #5
          The history of stout and porter is one of those subjects where the more I learn the less I know.

          See these graphs: Whitbread's porter and stout grain bills, 1880-1914:

          You see that brown malt came into fashion, went out, came in, etc. The 1880 version uses brown malt alone, so it certainly has been done. The only problem with that is, no one is quite sure what brown malt was, exactly. Kilning might well have varied considerably in different regions, different periods, etc.

          There is so much variation in the grain bills over such a short time, it strikes me as an effort to compensate for significant variations in the raw materials. That is, I'm guessing it was probably done in the name of end product consistency, counterintuitive as that might seem.

          Anyway, there is no question that brown malt has been used exclusively in the past. The trick is figuring out what it actually was. I have to guess that today's brown malt is a lot lighter than the brown malt of yesteryear, simply because when it is completely replaced by black malt, the amount used is less, of course, but still significant. Thus the beers made with brown malt must have been pretty dark.

          You could experiment by combining varying ratios of what is called brown malt today and low-colour chocolate (aka pale chocolate), until you get something you really like the taste of.


          • #6
            Kilned Coffee Malt (thomas fawcett) is kind of fun to use as well...
            Hutch Kugeman
            Head Brewer
            Brooklyn Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America
            Hyde Park, NY


            • #7
              here and here describe a 'stout' malt in pretty good detail.

              The greencore product is the one I remember. Huge enzymatic power in all regards.


              Last edited by liammckenna; 01-27-2010, 10:16 AM.
              Liam McKenna


              • #8
                Just to clarify: I think it's safe to say that no one is suggesting using stout malt exclusively. You would get something like a light lager. Stout malt is a blond diastatic malt, around 2-4 EBC.

                You still need some type of roasted malt: that's what makes it stout or porter. It just doesn't have to be patent or RB. Stout malt provides extra diastatic power to deal with the high levels of low or non-diastatic ingredients often added, like flaked barley or oats, crystal, chocolate, patent, RB, etc., and still enjoy thorough and speedy saccharification.


                • #9
                  Regarding the Whitbread graphs mentioned above, more great info can be found here (the original source of the graphs):
                  Also some great history here:

                  As far as I'm concerned, these two blog sites are an absolute must read for anyone truly interested in brewing history.
                  The authors have done a great deal of good and substantiated research, and present some surprising revelations and corrections to misinformation that most of us have accepted as fact for a long time.


                  • #10
                    As has been already stated, there have been plenty of Stouts brewed without black malt. Whitbread stopped using black malt in the 1920's, using instead a combination of brown and chocolate malt.

                    I've a few more tables of Porter and Stout grists for Whitbread:


                    and Truman:


                    There were certainly commercial beers called Stout before 1800. Though these weren't necessarily dark beers.


                    • #11
                      my basic dark malts

                      All good info. Especially the links. I however dont typically put chocolate in my stout so the recipe will require even more renovations. For me, at least in the past, Roasted + Black = STOUT; Roasted + Chocolate = PORTER. So replacing the Black with Brown will require more of that malt for coloration purpose I guess. My best Dry Irish stout also didnt use any Crystal but for an Imperial I may re-think that too. Who knows at this point, I might get crazy and use oats and that Kiln coffee malt someone mentioned too.
                      "Uncle" Frank
                      Frank Fermino
                      Brewer I, Redhook, Portsmouth, NH
                      Writer, Yankee Brew News, New England
                      Wise-ass, Everywhere, Always


                      • #12
                        No black

                        The most award winning Dry Irish Stout made in America uses no Black

                        but the idea of beer brew what you like...if other people like it... neat

                        if you make money off it...hey hey even better

                        so if you want to use black...go ahead (there are a bunch out there i like)
                        if you want to not use black still just fine (again a bunch i like)