River Crew Brewing


Stew’s Beer for Breakfast Stout

Start your day the beer lover’s way This is a dark but light-bodied brew with a nice toasty character and a sweet finish. Pairs perfectly with CoCo Puffs.

The Inspiration
Back when we were younger lads and drinking was of questionable legality, the crew engaged in the time-honored tradition of Senior Week.  Invading a friend’s beach house, we were fully prepared to take full advantage of all the perks that came with a free beach house and no parental supervision.

About mid-week, Stew decided our usual methods of drinking didn’t give him an early enough start on the day, and took matters into his own hands.  Instead of milk in his morning cereal, Stew decided to make his own breakfast of champions and use beer.  While the result won’t make the culinary hall of fame, it will go down in the book of legends.

Breakfast of Champions - It's Grrrrrrrrreeeat!

Breakfast of Champions - It's Grrrrrrrrreeeat!

The Beer
I knew I wanted to brew a stout, but I didn’t want to do just any old stout. After recalling the story above over some beers with the Crew, I knew it had to be a breakfast stout.  Plus winter was right around the corner, and a stout would be great to have on-hand.

I did some searching online and found a recipe for one on Northern Brewer.  But after reading it over, it looked like it was more of a porter than a stout, and some of the review agreed.

Looking to bump up the body and add a little more oomph to this recipe, I did what any brewer would have done – I doubled it.  I thought this would be the easiest, most effective way to pump up the OG and make this beer a Stout.

What makes a Breakfast Stout are the ingredients, and this one includes flaked oats and lactose – the sugar found only in milk, and the stuff that makes your tummy gurgle if you’re lactose intolerant.  The oatmeal’s intended to add some silkiness to the beer, and I toasted them a bit before I steeped them to give it a bit of a toasted quality.  The lactose is mainly unfermentable, meaning most of the sweetness will stay in the final product.  I’ve never brewed with either of these ingredients before, so it was going to be a learning experience.

And both show through in the final product.  It’s pretty close to the beer I wanted it to be.  Like it’s described above, it’s a dark, slightly toasty and very sweet beer.

Okay – so it’s a bit too sweet.  I may have overdone it with the 2 pounds of lactose.  But like I said, I never brewed with it before, so I definitely learned my lesson on this one.

But, people seem to like it.  I’ve had a few friends who aren’t beer people really like it.  And I had a fellow homebrew try it and say: “Well, you’ve got Guinness beat.”  Can’t beat that kind of praise.

When I brew this beer again, I’m definitely toning down the lactose.  I’ll probably half it, or maybe even less.  I might toast the oats a bit longer to get some more roasted flavor in there.  And, in probably my most ambitious move as a homebrewer, I plan on making a peanut butter version of this beer.

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