BIAB#4: Salamander

Due to unplanned busy lives there has been a bit of a gap between brews, but we were finally able to get together for BIAB#4 last week.  It was Jono’s turn to select a style and work up a recipe and he went for doing another stout.

Avid followers of the blog (i.e. approximately no one) may remember that our first brew was an Irish Dry Stout.  The end result was fine, we were quite happy with it all things considered.  Sharing with others – including our local homebrew club – did tend to lead to the feedback that it was perhaps too dry, too roasty and just lacking a richer dimension of flavour.  In fact, some of those very clever palates at the club meeting were able to spot straightaway that we had used (too much) black malt.  We now know that 8% of the malt bill is way too much!  (We are new to this after all)

Anyway, not to be deterred, Jono got us right back on that stout-flavoured horse with the following recipe (for 10 litres):


  • 1630g   Concerto Pale Malt  (68%)
  • 190g     Flaked Oats  (8%)
  • 120g     Chocolate Malt  (5%)
  • 120g     Crystal Malt  (5%)
  • 120g     Flaked Barley  (5%)
  • 100g     Peated Malt  (4%)
  • 100g     Roasted Barley  (4%)
  • 25g       Black Malt  (1%)


  • 10g       Fuggles @ 60m
  • 6g         Green Bullet @ 60m
  • 10g       Fuggles @ 20m
  • 6g         Green Bullet @ 20m


  • OG:     1048
  • FG:      1012 (intended)
  • ABV:    4.9%
  • IBU:     57
  • SRM:   38

But more complex malts and righting the Black Malt wrongs of our previous attempt was not really adventurous enough for our Jono.  In addition, the contents of the bowl below were added with 10 minutes of the boil remaining:


Specifically, this was a 10 minute addition of:

  • 2          Dried Chilli Peppers
  • 2          Cinnamon sticks
  • 150g    Cocoa Powder
  • 60g      Coffee Grounds
  • 50g      Lactose
  • 25g      Cocoa Nibs

As you can see below, along with the hops and wort chiller, that little lot took up a fair bit of space in the ‘kettle’:


From there on in it was all pretty standard and straightforward.  Chilling took a little longer than usual, I don’t know why, at which point we got a little complacent eating tasty cheese and pitched the Mangrove Jacks British Ale Yeast at a bit cool.  Maybe 15C.  We were using a yeast starter for the first time, though, moved it somewhere a little warmer and fermentation was well underway 20 hours later (first opportunity I had to check).

The original plan was to add the following to secondary:

  • 2          Dried Chilli Peppers
  • 2          Cinnamon Sticks
  • 100g    Cocoa Nibs
  • 60g      Coffee Grounds
  • 2          Vanilla Pods

That is all very much subject to change following tasting after 10 days or so, though.  Initital tasting of the wort once chilled was overwhelmingly of coffee and bitterness, with very little chilli.  As such, we may well up the sweet and spicy addition and hold off on the coffee.  We’ll see.

Will try and remember to update progress on this one for anyone interested.



6 thoughts on “BIAB#4: Salamander

  1. Jon Smart

    Like the sound of this one!

    If you’re looking to up the chili kick, rather than add more, try leaving the original amount of chili in for longer than the planned 10 min.

    Dried chilis tend to drop most of their heat slowly as they start to rehydrate and the liquid permeates the seeds, which hold most of the heat. Good luck finishing it off.


    1. bagboilbeer Post author

      Thanks for the tip on the dried chillis, Jon. The next chilli addition will sit in the beer for maybe a week, so hopefully that will really bring the spice to life.

      There was definitely a hint of chilli even from the 10 minute addition (we did also steep the bag while cooling and also poured the wort through the bag when transferring to FV to extract maximum flavour), but it was very gentle. Very much hoping the ‘dry chilli-ing’ it will get soon will make the heat more prominent.

      Thanks for the comment and the advice. It’s appreciated.


  2. Jimmy

    Finally had a chance to drink this over the weekend. Can definitely taste the chilli right from the initial hit (anchos by any chance?). Also get a very strong floraliness on the nose (as well as the initial taste), which I assume come from the vanilla (Kat was able to taste the vanilla more than me, I mostly just got the aroma).

    Overall the beer was extremely smooth, while being very roasty, but at the same time having little to no bitterness. At first I thought it was maybe a little too roasty, but I actually think some of what I was attributing to roastiness was actually the chillies. Once that clicked with me I quite enjoyed the level of “roast”. Reminded me a lot of my own chilli porter (I should have given you a bottle of that as well to compare).

    Very good, went well with my spicy turkey chilli. Looking forward to having the rest of the beers you gave me 🙂


    1. bagboilbeer Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jimmy. It’s appreciated and I’m delighted you enjoyed it.

      Jono supplied the (dried) chillies, so unsure on their provenance. Pretty much all that flavour came from chillies in secondary, though. Found we got very little from dried chillies in the boil.

      Is it cool if I ask a couple of questions? As you know, the last few I’ve seen have gushed pretty dramatically… did yours? Been wondering about the cause of it, but I’m not able to taste any hint of infection. I don’t suppose you did? Beginning to think/hope it might just have been some reaction between one of the extras (cocoa perhaps) and the yeast in this warm weather.

      Very much looking forward to trying your beers soon too. They are safely stowed away for our next brew day. (Maybe not all of them that day, but we’ll see how we go!)

      Thanks again. See you in a couple of weeks hopefully. Cheers!


      1. Jimmy

        Yeah, it was fairly explody. Thankfully it was in a flippy top bottle, so I just kept venting it and closing it back up for an hour or so 🙂

        No infection as far as I could tell, had no off flavours, all very pleasant. Might have not been done fermenting at the time of bottling maybe? or priming sugar miscalculation…I know I was once weighing 300g+ of sugar for a beer, looking at the bowl thinking ‘this doesn’t look right’, recalculated it and got 85g the second time! Must have got gallons to liters confused at some stage 🙂

        Also a brief warning; the average ABV of the beers I gave you is something like 8.3%, so drink responsibly, let me know if you taste any difference between 1.1 and 1.2 🙂


  3. bagboilbeer Post author

    Sorry that you got the full gush Salamander experience… it sounds like you handled it expertly! Both not finished fermenting and too much priming sugar had crossed my mind too. Probably never work out exactly what happened, but will go back to basics, take bottle conditioning a bit more seriously over the next couple of brews and hopefully iron it all out that way.

    And thanks for the warning on the beers. I always drink responsibly, don’t you know. Well, most of the time anyway. Ok then, at least on evenings when I’m doing anything important like brewing.

    I will certainly compare 1.1 and 1.2 closely and let you know if we taste much difference. Having really loved that beer last month, I’m very much looking forward to sampling it again.



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