Sometimes you have to Bluff

With Cincy Beerfests celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Cincy Winter Beerfest, their team has been launching a series of collaboration beers. Like you used to gather with friends in the garage for a game of poker, we all sat around a table and wanted to fool you. We wanted to Bluff.

Introducing our White Mocha Stout — Bluff. This beer will be tapped in the taproom on Thursday, January 19th and available at Cincy Winter Beerfest.



We know what you’re thinking…

“A white stout? That’s not a thing. You people make absolutely no sense.”

When Evan and I sat down with the folks from Cincy Beerfest almost 2 months ago, and Matt Utter pitched his vision for the style of beer we would collaborate on with them, your question ran through my head, which I understand. But as we worked through the recipe creation and the brewing of this beer, we all became more and more intrigued and excited about the mind games a beer like this can play on you.

I am a big believer in the idea that when we eat or drink something, we are not only using our senses of taste and smell. The appearance of our food and drink have such an impact on our overall impression of what we are about to consume. It sets expectations. So when we had a chance to make a beer that could set up the expectation of a light-bodied blonde ale, and completely shatter that by delivering a full-bodied stout loaded with coffee and chocolate notes, we couldn’t pass it up.

The use of a British base malt combined with a high mash temperature at the beginning of the brewing process ensured we would end up with a full, malt-forward beer once fermentation was complete. This is straightforward, and how everybody else in the world makes stouts. The tricky part is what we did next.

In a normally formulated stout, the flavor and aroma of coffee and/or chocolate are derived from the judicious use of several varieties of dark roasted barley. The roasting process itself creates a lot of the same flavors that come from roasting coffee. Unfortunately in our case, the amount of grain required to impart the beer with these desired characteristics also makes it very dark. So, the biggest challenge in making a white stout is getting these flavors into the beer without any introduction of color.

A couple of small-scale experiments led us to the conclusion that we could get very similar notes of chocolate and coffee by using … wait for it …

chocolate and coffee.

The use of Braxton’s own Starter Cold Brew beans (dark roast) along with a significant addition of Cocoa Nibs after fermentation gave us all the flavor we were looking for with no significant effect on the color of the beer.

What we’re left with at the end is something that tastes and feels very much like a stout, in spite of the fact that appearances would lead you to believe you were drinking something as light and crisp as Storm. All of us here at Braxton, and at Cincy Beerfest are very happy with the end result, and we hope you are too.