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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Belgian Imperial Stout - not tasting great, hoping for helpful feedback
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
julian81
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Default Belgian Imperial Stout - not tasting great, hoping for helpful feedback

So I brewed this pretty big "Belgian" Imperial Stout several months ago. Close to 6 months now.

Here's the recipe:

http://hopville.com/recipe/1059534/r...imperial-stout

The body is thinner than I'd prefer, not as viscous as I was hoping. I mashed at 156 (if i recall correctly...my detailed notes are at home. But it was either 156 or 158). Boil for 90 minutes. Chilled to and fermented at 65F.

After almost 6 months, it's not tasting any better. The aroma is predominantly banana bread, and doughy bananas - best way of describing it. The taste is harsh and hot. I'm not getting any mellow roast/chocolate or any of that nice prune/raisin/plum dark fruit flavor or aroma.

This is a pretty big let down, but in order not repeat the same mistake I'm looking for some feedback on what I might have done wrong, and how I can make this better next time around.

Thoughts?

Thanks guys,
Julian

edit: I will say that the unfermented wort tasted AMAZING. Best wort I've ever tasted. It was sweet, chocolately, and luscious. None of that is present in the final product.

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Old 05-16-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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Sounds like it was fermented too hot.

Let the yeast get too warm and banana is what you get.

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Old 05-16-2012, 10:38 PM   #3
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Well I kept it at 65F the whole time, although it was a VIOLENT fermentation with an incredible amount of blow off. I tape my probe to the side of the carboy. Clearly, this isn't actually reporting the right temp if this is what happened. Do you have a better way to get more of an accurate temp during fermentation? Is a thermowell more accurate at reading actual fermentation temps? Any other suggestions?

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Old 05-16-2012, 10:41 PM   #4
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65 F ambient (room) temp doesn't guarantee inside of the fermenter is 65. It can be 15 degrees higher, especially in a violent fermentation.

You have to cool the fermenter further, especially in the summer, with a swamp cooler or a cool basement floor.

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Old 05-16-2012, 10:50 PM   #5
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All my carboys are in my fermentation chamber (chest freezer with dual stage temp controller. ceramic space heater on the inside). If the probe reads above 65F it clicks on and cools it down by turning on the chest freezer.

But...from what you're saying, I might benefit from a thermowell to measure the internal temp, as opposed to the outside of the fermentor. Is this what you're saying?

I think I'm going to agree with you that it got too hot internally, which has been an issue for a few big brews of mine. I'm just not quite sure how to measure the internal temp, and have my chest freezer kick on in time if it gets past the set point of the controller. How do you do it? thermowell, or do you just see fermentation beginning and crank the temp down by 10-15 degrees in anticipation?

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Old 05-16-2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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does indeed sound like you might have let things get too hot in there - fusels & esters. belgians stouts are tricky, you want some contribution of the belgian yeast but not so much as to take over. certainly don't want that train to run away on you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by julian81 View Post
Is a thermowell more accurate at reading actual fermentation temps?
yup, get thee a thermowell.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcell View Post
does indeed sound like you might have let things get too hot in there - fusels & esters. belgians stouts are tricky, you want some contribution of the belgian yeast but not so much as to take over. certainly don't want that train to run away on you.


yup, get thee a thermowell.
OK thanks for the feedback. Yeah it does sound like fusels and esters for sure. This is the THIRD big beer I've done even with temperature control and I'm just shocked that others (local homebrewers) don't have these issues but I do...

I'm very curious how these recipes would turn out if I was using a thermowell.

Do you think the probe from a Ranco dual stage controller will fit down the thermowell?
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:06 PM   #8
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I would just get it colder to begin with. Get it down to 60 and maybe set the system to 60F. You sure have a nicer chamber than I do, you should be able to make it work.

Better to be too cool and then let it warm up a little.

Once a fermentation becomes "vigorous" it makes its own heat and is difficult to cool it down. you have to start cool and keep it there.

I have found that after a year stored warm, bananna goes away.

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Old 05-16-2012, 11:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezydemon3 View Post
I would just get it colder to begin with. Get it down to 60 and maybe set the system to 60F. You sure have a nicer chamber than I do, you should be able to make it work.

Better to be too cool and then let it warm up a little.

Once a fermentation becomes "vigorous" it makes its own heat and is difficult to cool it down. you have to start cool and keep it there.

I have found that after a year stored warm, bananna goes away.
Hrm, well I believe I started at 65 for these. If I went down 5 degrees to begin with, you're saying that would make all the difference? Hrm...I'm going to get a thermowell and check the temp from inside and see how that goes...or maybe do a combo of both.

As for the banana - that's not even that bad, it's definitely weird in a stout, but it's not *terrible*. The bad part is the fusels, and harshness. It's just not very palatable. I've tried aging that out for 6 months in the past and it just does not go away.

I'm thinking this stout is going to be an incredibly expensive stew base
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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Curious: I tape the probe to my glass fermentor as well and insulate it with about 6-10 layers worth of folded dish towel. What kind of insulation do you have over your probe?

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