Back in March, with Brew Riot and a Lone Star Circuit Stout competition looming on the horizon, we grabbed an American Stout recipe from Brewing Classic Styles and went to work. I used some salvaged Warrior hops for bittering to push the recipe to 69 IBU and we whirlpooled some Centennial for aroma and flavor and fermented it all with a White Labs California Ale yeast.
Now I titled this “Awful American Stout” because when it was time to bottle and ship the contest entries the stout was not a good stout. The hops were still very strong and there wasn’t even a hint of the roasty character which makes a stout, well, a stout. At the time we had a pretty tasty ‘Cascadian Ale’, but a horrible stout.
I had committed us to a contest at the Backcountry Brewery in Rowlett and is was time to drop off the two gallons of beer for them to judge. I wasn’t sure what I was going to take and I gave the stout another try. I’ll be damned if the hops hadn’t lost their luster and faded into a complementary role. The lack of hop “shine” also allowed to roast to come through. Now we had a pretty damned good American Stout with a nice balance between the hops and the roast. So I bottled up a case of bombers and dropped it off for the contest.
A brewing buddy, Adam Salter, reported back that there were tasting notes and I should be sure and pick them up.