Brew Day: Subway Series Stout (American Stout)

At the risk of losing craft beer street cred, I will admit I am a Leinenkugel’s fan. I’ll suck down Summer Shandy on a hot summer day, but some of my favorite beers by Leinie’s are some of their beers that aren’t as well known in these parts. Lienenkugel’s Original, for my money, is as good as any American-style lager. Their Canoe Paddler Kölsch won gold at the Great American Beer Festival and the Red Lager is excellent, but my favorite by Leinie’s is the Creamy Dark.

I toured the brewery while visiting my girlfriend’s family in Wisconsin; I could see that they are a traditional American brewery. Without getting into the “craft vs. crafty” debate, almost all of their beers are made using traditional American methods. That means lots of Cluster hops, high protein 6-row barley that is indigenous to the United States and needs to be lightened, not cheapened by adding corn or rice. Leinie’s uses local Wisconsin corn and, in their wheat beers, Wisconsin honey. I know … I saw the sacks of grain and buckets of honey that some guy dumps in the boil kettle by hand. The corn, in particular, is likely what gives the Creamy Dark it’s creaminess. The Creamy Dark is a schwarzbier, a black lager. At the moment, I don’t have the ability to ferment at lager temperatures.

Another dark beer I had been planning to make was an American stout. I judged the stout category at the Boston Homebrew Competition, and the American stouts were my favorite. Established style guidelines aside, wouldn’t using some traditional American ingredients lead to a truly American stout?

My original stout recipe called for just a touch of flaked oats to add some body. If I add enough corn to give the beer discernible creaminess, it would lighten the body. My solution is to include equal parts flaked oats and flaked maize. I don’t know if it will work, but part of the fun of homebrewing is experimentation. With all that unmalted grain I had to use 6-row as my base malt. It’s high enough in proteins to convert the starch in the adjuncts to fermentable sugars. I’ll be using my BIAB setup to brew this two-gallon batch.

Subway Series Stout
American Stout
All Grain (2.10 gal) ABV: 6.94 %
OG: 1.072 SG FG: 1.020 SG
IBUs: 66.9 IBUs Color: 39.6 SRM (stand

4.0 oz – Carafa I
Mash addition (4.0%) – 337.0 SRM
8.0 oz – Roasted Barley
Mash addition (8.0%) – 300.0 SRM
1 lb – Oats, Flaked
Mash addition (16.0%) – 1.0 SRM
8.0 oz – Carared
Mash addition (8.0%) – 20.0 SRM
3 lb – Pale Malt (6 Row) US
Mash addition (48.0%) – 2.0 SRM
1 lb – Corn, Flaked
Mash addition (16.0%) – 1.3 SRM

0.40 oz – Chinook hops
Boil 60 min (58.5 IBUs)
0.20 oz – Glacier hops
Boil 10 min (2.5 IBUs)
0.20 oz – Chinook hops
Boil 10 min (5.8 IBUs)
0.13 tsp – Irish Moss
Boil 10 min

Vermont Ale
The Yeast Bay #4000

I ordered the Chinook, 6-row, corn, and oats. The Glacier, and other malts I had lying around. The Vermont Ale yeast may or may not be the yeast The Alchemist uses in Heady Topper. Either way I used it in Northern Brewer’s American Wheat kit and the samples from bottling day were excellent. It attenuates enough for a hoppy beer, and the samples from the American Wheat had a delicious peach flavor. I will repitch yeast slurry from that into this beer. If the attenuation improves after a generation like The Yeast Bay suggest and the beer has an even higher alcohol content, even better!


Measuring out my 6-row base malt.


The grain is waiting for its upcoming bath in 160 degree water.

Letting the grain drain back into the kettle.

Measuring the first hop addition.


Chilling the wort after the boil. After about 20-30 minutes it will be cool enough to add the yeast.


Transferring the wort to the primary fermenter. For two gallon batches I use Party Pig mim-kegs.


I use this application to determine how much yeast to add or pitch. I put in about 1/4 cup of yeast I harvested from my last batch.


The bung and airlock are in place. Time for the yeast to do it’s job!

All in all it was a successful brew day. I didn’t finish with as much wort as I had hoped to I topped off with some water. Once I added the top-up water my starting gravity was right where BeerSmith had projected. I need to adjust my settings in BeerSmith so next time I don’t have to top off with more water. The beer came out lighter than I expected. If I do this again I might adjust the roasted malts a little bit. The wort tasted sweet and roasty. The Chinook hops gave the beer the citrus I was going for with the hop profile.

I will give the beer 2-3 weeks in the primary since it is a relatively large beer. That will give the yeast enough time to convert all those fermentable sugars to alcohol, and also clean up other chemical byproducts from fermentation. In about 4-6 weeks the beer should be ready to drink. When we crack open the first bottle I’ll be sure to post some tasting notes.

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