I have a bit of an emergency on my hands. I am brewing beer for a wedding and my batch of stout bottle bombed on me. The whole batch is ruined and the wedding is 3 weeks away. Does anyone have a quick stout recipe that will be bottled and done in that much time? Or suggestions on what to look for in a recipe if it is even possible.
For your immediate crisis, I am not sure this is salvageable. Why? Because you need at least several days to fully attenuate (ferment) your beer, and a minimum two weeks to bottle condition it (ideally three weeks plus 24 hrs. in the fridge). There will be little time for the yeast to clean up "green beer" flavors and aromas.
If you want to try, what I recommend is going to the LHBS today and brewing a mild ale tonight. A mild ale is a very low gravity beer that used to be popular in England, and it can be very dark. So it can seem similar to a stout. They can be brewed very quickly. They are often served from casks, which means they are usually only lightly carbonated. Milds are also meant to be brewed quick and are tolerant of fruity esters you may get from high fermentation temps.
A very quaffable brew. @jsled's recipe is probably also a good one due to its low gravity.
This is a clone of an award-winning recipe (Dry Dock's SS Minnow Mild, 2008 GABF silver medal). I am replacing the brown malt with Crystal 65L because IMO brown malt needs long-term conditioning before it mellows. You may wish to substitute it back. I also substituted the London Ale yeast with Nottingham dry yeast so you don't have to make a starter.
Dry Dock's SS Minnow Mild clone recipe
FG expected around 1.008
4.000 lbs. Light DME
0.625 lbs English Medium Crystal malt 0.375 lbs Briess Caramel 120L malt 0.1875 lbs English Chocolate Malt malt 0.1875 lbs Crystal 65L malt
Hops 1 oz East Kent Goldings (45 min)
Danstar Nottingham dry yeast
Whirlfloc (1/4 tablet) (5 min. left in boil), or use Irish moss per label directions
Collect 2.5 gallons of good water in your kettle. Good water means not chlorinated. Use RO water (fill your own jugs at grocery store) if you have to.
Steep the specialty grains for 20 min. at 170°F. Bring to a boil, remove kettle from heat, and add LME. Restart the boil. Watch out for boilovers -- you don't need to compound problems. It is a 1 hour boil, and hops go in with 45 minutes left.
Meanwhile boil and cool some water. Rehydrate your yeast: take 110 ml (110 grams by weight) of your cool water in a small sanitized container, bring it up to 90°F +/- 2 degrees in the microwave. Sprinkle your yeast onto the water and let sit for 20 minutes. Then stir it up with a sanitized fork or something until it is creamy. Yeast is ready to pitch.
Cool wort after one hour boil to 67°F or as close as you can get, add to fermenter, top off with good water to exactly 5 gallons. Now shake the living bejesus out of it. I mean like five minutes of heart-thumping rocking. Now pitch yeast.
Try to ferment it in the 68 to 72°F range. If fermentation is not done in 72 hours (see the expected FG), you may need to warm it up to as high as high 70s due to shortage of time. This is a higher temp than I would normally ferment at.
The Whirlfloc is crucial for clarity because you have no time for particulates to settle.
For bottling: Prime accurately, use table sugar boiled in water, mix sugar water in very well, bottle, and bottle condition/keep in the low-70s °F until 24 hours before serving time. Chill for 24 hours.
Pretty much any stout recipe can be turned around in that amount of time. I'd shoot for a gravity around 1.040, something in the 4-5% abv range, ferment for a week with properly-rehydrated dry yeast, then bottle and let condition for 2 weeks.
As for the recipe, I like something like (for a 5gl batch):
- 50% pilsner (3 lbs)
- 20% dark munich (1.25lbs)
- 8% flaked oats (0.5lbs)
- 8% roasted barley (0.5lbs)
- 8% sugar (half corn, half turbinado) (0.5lb total)
- 3% black patent (0.2lbs)
- 2% carapils (0.12lbs)
- ~20 IBU bittering (~0.5oz Magnum)
- ~0.5oz Fuggles @ 10 minutes
Why did your last batch turn into bottle-bombs, do you think?
For your "exploded" beer, you must have had an underattenuated batch. FG of 1.020 is not acceptable, unless you brewed a RIS, and I doubt you did. The yeast must have stalled because of e.g. cold conditions, or you might have guessed he fermentation is over just because the airlock stopped bubbling (and it may stop bubbling long before the real fermentation is over!)
(I recently bottled underattenuated beer, then realized it soon enough to be able to put it back to the fermenter. Will do some krauzening to remove possible oxidation.)
Anyway, as for now, your focus is on pitching more yeast. I'd pitch double the normal rate. Just don't forget to aerate the beer properly. Add a small amount of yeast nutrient. The beer may get overly dry, so increase the share of carapils/oats.