Stout is all about grains. In our Extra Stout we use not only three different kinds of grains but also three different ways of treating them before we use them.
During the malting process at a maltster the grains are germinated in warm water and then dried. This breaks down the cell walls of the outer layer of the cereal grain, releases the starches inside and produces enzymes that will convert the starch into sugar during the mash. The drying temperature determines the flavor and color of the malt. For a base malt such as Maris Otter, a lower temperature is used (80°C) which keeps the malt pale, rich in enzymes and full of accessible sugars to convert into alcohol. At a higher temperature (100°C) the sugar is caramelised which creates a darker malt, stronger in flavor such as Caramunich.
Oat flakes are unmalted and are pressed at high temperature and pressure. During this process the starch is gelatinized (dissolved) but keeps the outer layer of the grain intact. This results in more beta-glucans, a chain of sugar just like starch but this is not broken down any further, which gives the beer more body.
The typical dark color and stout flavor comes from roasted barley. Just like a coffee bean the barley is roasted, unmalted, at 230°C. This creates the roasted flavor but contrary to a very dark malt results in less caramel or chocolatey flavor. By using unmalted roasted barley and only a little bit of caramelised malt our Extra Stout is relatively dry, quaffable and full of flavor.
Fuggle: Mint, floral, earthy.