What a difference a little dark roasted barley can make! I was experimenting with new recipes for the future brewery when I hit upon the idea of brewing nearly identical beers with the only difference being the yeast: one ale, one lager. Each one of these beers had 7.5 lbs. Pearl malt and .5 lbs 20L crystal malt. At the last second, I decided to put 4 oz. of dark roasted barley into the ale. As you can see from the photograph, it came out nearly black!
In both of these brews I used yeasts I had not used before. For the lager I used a Saflager dry yeast. It worked much faster that the liquid culture from White Labs that I used several years ago. I only hope the end result tastes as good.
For the ale, I used a Wyeast Thames Vally liquid culture. I activated the culture the night before. Once pitched, it started a bit slow, which seems typical for Wyeast products,but then worked vigorously. After about eight days, I transferred the ale to a secondary fermenter. I tasted a small sample. It had a distinct chocolate aroma and flavor. I think this brew will be a good one!