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Video Course: Brewing Flavorful Stouts Big and Small with Maplewood

Maplewood founder Adam Cieslak and brewers Roger Cuzelis and Adam Smith get under the hood of stouts ranging from session-strength to big and barrel-aged, discussing the mechanics of layering in flavor while keeping them balanced and drinkable.

Adam Cieslak , Roger Cuzelis , Adam Smith Feb 8, 2023 - 2 min read

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Chicago’s Maplewood Brewery & Distillery has earned a strong reputation among its peers for all its beers, including IPAs and lagers, but perhaps especially for its award-winning stout program. Whether it’s the mid-strength core beer Fat Pug, a milk stout of 5.9 percent ABV, or a higher-gravity entry in the Cuppa series—adjuncted and/or barrel-aged—Maplewood has a knack for building in loads of flavor without losing balance.

In this 98-minute video course, Maplewood’s founding brewer and CEO Adam Cieslak joins head brewer Roger Cuzelis and special projects lead Adam Smith to detail their approach to building these stouts, including:

  • desiging grists for stouts of varying strengths
  • different base malts for smaller or barrel-aged stouts
  • dialing in water and mash pH to buffer the acidity of dark malts
  • mash temperatures that balance big body with fermentability
  • long boils for stouts small and large
  • layering flavors into smaller stouts
  • balancing higher-gravity and barrel-aged stouts
  • adjusting base stout recipes to balance flavor adjuncts
  • aiming for very high starting gravities and getting more from a massive mash
  • adding malt extracts and sugars for even more gravity
  • managing fermentation to ensure adequate attenuation in big stouts
  • barrel-aging, from sourcing barrels to adjusting recipes to aging and blending
  • considerations for coffee, vanilla, and various other flavor adjuncts
  • ensuring flavor extraction from adjuncts

And more.

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