Citrus Stout

I want to try a stout with orange and lemon; the plan is to make a small batch, split between two 1-gallon jugs, and try one with lemon peel and one with orange peel.


Grain bill:

  • 3.25 lbs pale malt
  • 0.5 lbs roasted barley
  • 0.5 lbs barley flakes


  • 0.5 oz Zeus (16%) @ 60 minutes


  • Windsor dry yeast

Extra stuff:

  • 0.5 oz lemon zest in one, 0.5 oz orange zest in the other @ 5 minutes

Brew Day

August 23 2009: I brought 7 quarts of water to 180F/82C and mashed in; after five minutes it was at 155F/68C, after 10 it was at 158F/70C, and after an hour it was back down to 155/68. I used a big (12 quart) spaghetti pot, which has maybe 2 quarts dead space below the collander that's part of it. I kept it insulated using a car windshield aluminized blanket thingy I found at a thrift store for $2. It works a treat!

I sparged with another 7 quarts; didn't record the temperature but it was probably around 180F/82C again. I took about 1 pint/450ml to caramelize on the stove while the sparging finished. I collected between 2.25 and 2.5 gallons (8.5 - 9.5 litres).

Gravity reading after sparging was 1.027, corrected for temperature...that's awful! By my calculations, that was about 40% efficiency. I checked again and got 1.030, which would put me at 43% efficiency...still awful. I tried a taste, and it was not very sweet at all...will have to check my notes about the first time I made this recipe.

Anyhow, brought it to a boil and threw the half ounce of Zeus in. I decided to put the zest in at flameout, as that would be simpler than splitting into two pots and continuing to boil.

I zested two lemons and two oranges while it was boiling. The Microplane grater does a wonderful job.

After an hour, I poured a gallon or so (3.8 litres) each into two different pots, one with lemon and one with orange. I re-used the collander to filter out the hops. Hot-side aeration be damned! Final volume was about 2.1 gallons/8 litres. I used cold tap water and a few reusable ice packs to bring the temperature down; with such small volumes, it didn't take long at all.

Final gravity was 1.050. Admittedly that was at 103F/40C -- so I had to correct for temperature. But still, that seems like a big jump.

My helpful assistant opened up the yeast packet and we re-hydrated; after that, we poured about half into each one. I finished about 4pm, but it wasn't until 9pm that they went down to the basement to sit in the storage room, covered by wet blankets, to ferment. Actually, fermentation had already started -- it was going quite nicely, though slowly, by that point. The next evening bubbles were coming out quite quickly, and the morning after that (so 36 hours, say) it looked like it had slowed right down again.

Post-mortem: I'm really not sure what went on with the efficiency. I stirred thoroughly after mash-in, and I'm pretty sure I stirred the sparge water pretty thoroughly too. There's the dead space in the mash tun; maybe that was part of the problem. And the crush at the LHBS is made with a re-used coffee grinder, which I'm not sure does the best job. Next batch I make, I'm definitely throwing in an extra pound or two of grain to account for this.


September 19, 2009: Bottling day! FG was 1.011, which puts this at 5.4% ABV. I got 6 Grolsch bottles of the lemon, 6 bottles of the orange, and 1 bottle of the two mixed together.

I used 40g of dextrose to bottle (20 for each gallon), which is the same ratio I always use (100g/5 gallon batch; works well for me). I thought briefly about using Cointreau in some of the orange, but a quick look at Radical Brewing was enough to discourage me; you need to measure the gravity of the liqueur, and my flask (that's not the right word...) is a little grim. Next time.

The aroma from the orange was wonderful -- orangey, chocolatey -- but the flavour was less fun...just orangey-bitter. After re-reading these notes, I'm thinking that might be the crappy efficiency/low OG I'm tasting. Maybe some maturing time will take care of that...since I've only got 13 bottles of the stuff, I plan on leaving this a while.

The aroma from the lemon was good too, but it reminded me a lot more of beer: malty, plus the lemon reminding me of Corona and such. There wasn't any of that left over to try, so I'll have to wait for that.


First tasted around two weeks after bottling., very strong lemon flavour. Not good lemon, either, but lemon like floor cleaner. Hm. The orange is different but no better; it's heavy on the orange peel bitterness which is overwhelming that of the stout itself. I'll stick this in the back and come back in a couple months.

January 2010: The lemon has come into its own, but it's still not great. The orange is just bitter, and is not very good. Both taste much more of citrus peel than their fruit flavours...which is about what you'd expect, I guess. The stout itself is quite decent, but I don't like the combination.