An accidentally smacked pouch of 1056 American Ale yeast afforded me another brew day this past weekend. After all, why let good yeast go bad? I put in a small order at Midwest for some more dark grains for stouts and brown ales, and also a pound of dry malt extract for making yeast starters. I make the 1 liter starter on Thursday, and on Saturday evening I brewed the stout.

This is what gives the stout that little extra oomph. Three ounces each of roasted cacao nibs, 71% dark chocolate, and freshly roasted, coarsely ground Sumatra. This was added to the boil right at flame out, and stirred vigorously to melt the chocolate and infuse as much flavor as possible before cooling the wort. After primary fermentation, I’ll add another couple ounces of coffee and cacao nibs in secondary.

The wort is thick, very dark, and smells great. I actually scaled the gravity back by 10 points to make it not so strong. The first batch was around 8.5%, and this time around I am shooting for around 7.5%.

It’s currently bubbling away in primary at about once a second, with a nice thick, chocolaty krausen.

I got my judging sheets back from the Upper Mississippi Mash-out last week. I didn’t place, but the beer did make it to the second round of judging in its category, and the scores given were a 34/50 and 37/50. The aroma seemed to be the part drawing the most criticism, but honestly, when the beer warms up to the mid 50 degree point, a lot more comes out. I’m not sure what temperature it was served at, but both judges seemed to think that the aroma was lacking and that it could have used a bit more malt presence in it…which I agree with. I mashed pretty low the first time, and the beer fermented out a bit dryer than I would have liked.  This time around, I mashed a little higher, and also added another half pound of oats (2lbs total). All in all, it was great to receive the score sheets back with some honest feedback. Maybe if this batch turns out well, I’ll enter it again. Who knows?