Over the past few years, I’ve been seeing more and more Blonde Stouts being brewed, and I finally got the chance to brew one myself. If you are not familiar with this style, it is an ale with the color of an IPA that has the characteristics of a Stout. The first time I tried one was at one of our Homebrew for Hunger events about four years ago. My brain and taste buds were on totally different pages that day. Traditionally, stouts have an opaque black color to them with notes of chocolate and a “roasty” taste. This blonde stout was the complete opposite. It had notes of vanilla, chocolate, and a slight coffee taste.
Designing this beer was quite fun because I had to find substitutions for the roasted barley, chocolate malts, and the black patent malt. The grain bill includes Maris Otter, Crystal 10 (Caramel 10), and Flaked barley. I chose these as our grain bill to keep the color light and add a little mouth feel with the flaked barley. I chose to use coca nibs in the primary fermenter to get that chocolate flavor we were missing by excluding the chocolate malt from the grain bill. In order to get those roasted flavors we were missing, I used 4 shots of espresso. You could do a cold brew if you wanted to also. Last but not least I took two vanilla beans and soaked them in some bourbon for three weeks to extract the vanilla flavor, then added the bourbon tincture to our beer at kegging time.
Our Blonde Stout finished with an ABV of 8.5% with an SRM around 4 (which is close to the color of a Pale Ale). The notes of roast, chocolate, and coffee were present by adding the adjuncts that we used. Out of all of the beers I have brewed in my lifetime, this one was the most mind altering brew that I have made, simply because the color of the beer tricks you into not thinking it could taste like a stout.
5 Gallon Recipe:
Willamette – 1oz (60 min boil)
Safale S-04 – 1 pack
- Add 4oz of cacao (cocoa) nibs at the same time as pitching your yeast.
- Soak 2 vanilla beans in 1 cup of fine Bourbon for 3 weeks (add at bottling or kegging time)
- 4 shots of espresso (add at bottling or kegging time)