From the HBD Archive
From: Marty Albini <martya@hpsdl39>
Subject: "Sweet Darkness" stout
Date: 1989-11-07 16:38:39 GMT

A while back Doug Roberts posted his recipe for a clone of Mackeson's
Triple Stout. For those unfamiliar with this fine brew (which "looks good,
tastes good, and by golly, it does you good", to quote some old advertising
hype) it is an English milk stout. This is a variety of high gravity
bittersweet ales, usuaally very dark. Mackeson's is generally regarded as the
archetype. This is in contrast with dry stouts, of which Guinness is the best
known example, which do not have a sweet palate at all, and can be quite

At any rate, I set out to copy this beer, and Doug kindly supplied the
following recipe:

"Sweet Darkness"
7# of Australian Light Syrup (From Great Fermentations in Seattle)
1# Chocolate, cracked
1 1/2# Black Patent, not cracked
12 oz crystal, cracked
12 oz lactose (Again, from Great Fermentations: a good supply house)
2 oz Kent Goldings whole hops
1 tsp salt
1 tsp citric acid
2 1/2 tsp nutrient (Yep, Great Fermentations)

I brought the wort to a boil (water & syrup to make about 3 gallons),
then added the crystal. I boiled for about 10 minutes, then added the
hops. Boiled for about 5 minutes, turned the heat off & added the
chocolate & black patent in a grain bag and let it steep for about 10
minutes. I then sparged the grain bag with ~2 gallons of boiling
water. Finally, I added the lactose.

The start S.G. was 1.057, which translates to a potential alcohol of
7.8 percent. The end S.G. was 1.022 prior to kegging, (I use those 5
gallon stainless steel kegs that they use to distribute coke syrup to
snack bars) six weeks after the boil. The 1.022 S.G. meant a residual
of 3.0%, for an alcohol content of 4.8% I primed with 3/4# of light
dry malt extract disolved in a couple cups of the (heated) wort. After
aging about three months, it was as wonderfully smooth, dark and sweet
as the real Mackeson.

Maybe better.

I deviated from this, of course. I was nervous about boiling grains,
so I steeped in grain bags (btw, you'll need LOTS of grain bags to make this!)
and could only find a six pound container of Australian extract, so I used a
pound of dry PME. Consequently, my gravity came out to 1.060. I also skipped
the citric acid.

Well, last night I tried it. It's only been in the keg about five
days, but I got impatient. I had a bottle of The Original to compare against,
and conducted a blind tasting on a handy subject (my wife).

She picked out the clone right away by color. Mac's is
bottom-of-the-well black, with a beige head; this brew was dark brown with an
off-white head. Very similar aromas, and head retention was also about even.
Mac's has a good bit more body, about the same sweet foretaste, and a LOT more
black patent "burnt coffee" bite in the aftertaste. Doug's recipe is, IMHO,
better balanced between bitter and sweet, and doesn't have the "nasty" quality
of the original. It's still somewhat raw, being less than a week old, so it
should mellow even more, but it's quite drinkable now.

Overall, a resounding success.

One or two things I'll do differently next time. For all the black
patent malt in the recipe, there wasn't much effect. I think I'll drop down to
a half pound, but crushed. It's definitely sweet enough, but could use more
body, so I might add some dextrin once I figure out how much I need. I might
add just a touch of roasted barley as well. OK, three things.

A large "thank you" to Doug for posting the recipe. I reccommend it to
anyone who likes their coffee strong, with cream and sugar. Or just likes good
________________________________________________Marty Albini___________
"To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks."
phone : (619) 592-4177
UUCP : {hplabs|nosc|hpfcla|ucsd}!hp-sdd!martya
Internet : (or,
CSNET : martya%hp-sdd@hplabs.csnet
US mail : Hewlett-Packard Co., 16399 W. Bernardo Drive,
San Diego CA 92127-1899 USA

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