CRAFT BREW FEATURE OF THE MONTH
West Coast Stout
West Coast Stout
By Pete Ricks

Things just seem bigger out West. Bigger malt. Bigger hops. Bigger Beers. Many beer consumers in this country don't realize it since they seem to be preoccupied with a few paltry carbs, but there is a hop revolution taking place in California and other areas of the new brewing culture. I think it was the professional brewers in California that started this hopolution several years back and it only seems to grow a little bit more each year as the upper bounds of hop decency are tested and rewritten. As homebrewers, it is fun to try and emulate these hoppy beers, although I have found it difficult to replicate them as most homebrewers do not have access to some of the hop infusion and filtration methods that professional brewers enjoy. Still, we can try! This article is about a thick, nasty, dark beer called West Coast Stout. Some of you may have had the first iteration of this beer at the 2004 Homebrewers Conference in Las Vegas. Judging by the empty keg, some of you actually liked it which is more than I can say for most people. Most beer drinkers do not have the sophisticated taste for beers that push the malt, hop, and alcohol thresholds to their limits. WCS #1 was a fine, malty, 9% ABV Imperial Stout with a Pro Mash IBU calculated at 90. When compared to the 90 - 100 IBU professional beers served at the conference, the 90 IBU of my stout started to seem more like 30. Yes, we needed a hop infusion for version two!

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