Close Park Stout

Inspired by the Queen's Park Stout, but with some changes. The Saaz is out of character, but I'm really curious to see what it's like. In any case, it's a stout. Named after the Close Park.


Batch size: 5 gallons Target gravity: Aiming for 1.050 - 1.055

Grain bill:

  • 7 lb Gambrinus ESB
  • 1 lb Roasted barley
  • 1 lb Barley flakes
  • 1 lb Crystal 120


  • 1.5 oz Northern Brewer (7%) @ 60 mins
  • 1 oz Saaz (3%) @ 15 minutes

Yeast: Wyeast 1056 harvested from Tandoori IPA


February 9, 2010: 1 pint starter w/just under 1/4 cup liquid malt extract. Pitched Tuesday; didn't show much signs of activity at first, but by Thursday (February 11) it was definitely going. Up to a 2 quart starter; 1.5 quarts/litres water with 3 oz/85 gm of liquid malt extract. That probably made it low -- I figure about 1.025 at most -- but that was all the LME I had left.

Brew Day

February 12, 2010: Pre's birthday! Brought 7 gallons of water to 165F/74C and mashed; ended up at 155F/68C, which is about right...unlike the Belgian, I'm aiming at something strictly middle-of-the-road rather than dry and drinkable.

Mashing lasted a few hours, as this was done (as usual) while helping to take care of the kids. Final temp was closer to 150F. Collected about 5.5 gallons of wort.

I started the boil just before stories at bedtime, so I think I set it a little high...I ended up losing a gallon of wort. Ouch! Gravity was 1.060. That's more than I was aiming for; I briefly considered boiling up another gallon of water and bringing it down to about 1.050 or so, but fuck it.

Another change in the recipe: originally I was going to add 0.5 oz Goldings at 15 minutes, but I decided to skip it so I could get a beter idea of what the Saaz were like. Final volume including starter was 4.5 gallons.

Pitched at 9pm; by 2am it was bubbling nicely, and by the morning even more so. Yay! The hydrometer sample was nice and sweet; it'll be interesting to see the difference the crystal makes in this.


March 7, 2010: FG 1.012, so about 6.6% ABV. Final yield around 15 litres. The hydrometer sample was very tasty -- milder in taste and bitterness than the Queen's Park Stout, probably because of the crystal. Can't really tast the Saaz, but I'm not sure I'd know what to look for. Ass't tasters report a chocolate sort of flavour; now that they've mentioned it I can see what they mean.


March 22, 2010: Not bad! My wife said it was good, but she wanted more intense flavour.

May 22, 2010: Smooth, lightly flavoured. Carbonation lower than expected...strange. My wife is coming to like this a lot. I think it's good, but I want more intense flavour too.

August 27, 2010: Last bottle, 5.5 months later. It's lovely: sweet, though perhaps because I'm drinking it a little warmer than I usually would. This has matured very, very nicely: it's smooth, it's good. The head disappears quickly, but I don't really care about that.

I was surprised by my IBU calculations: 44, and I don't really taste it. My wife says: The bitterness is there, but it's at the back and is the last thing to come through. The first impression is creaminess; the creaminess distracts you and leads you astray. (Not in a bad way!)

I really have to leave my beers for longer...and brew this again.

September 19, 2010: Trying an Alaskan Stout, and wow, it's good. Two interesting things: a) oatmeal, and b) only 28 IBU. That mmight indicate a different direction for this.