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Old 07-16-2008, 04:37 PM   #1
oberon567
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Default Chocolate-Coffee-Raspberry Imperial Stout

So, I have been working on a summer ale recipe that I am going to brew this Friday (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=72570) and it occurred to me - Why can't I brew a heavy stout in the summer? I like big beers and have wanted to try a chocolate-espresso stout for a while, so I figured I would give it a go. And then I thought I would go one step further and add some raspberries. I looked through all the recipes on this site, and there are a number of chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, and chocolate coffee stouts, but none with the fruit addition. I know Snake River Zonker Stout is an Imperial Stout with all three, and I know Weyerbacher makes a Raspberry Imperial Stout as well. though I have tried neither. So I am working on getting a recipe down, and would love some advice.

What I picture is a big, heavy stout, black as oil. The kind of stout that makes an evening an evening. All of the flavors are there, apparent, but nothing overpowering, and the solid bitterness and malty delicicaies of the stout still make their way through. The coffee notes are probably what hit the nose first, and are probably first on the taste. The smooth chocolate finishes it out. The raspberries sparkle throughout, not overpowering but making themselves known.

I went through the chocolate and coffee stout recipes here as inspiration. Most had an IBU of approx. 50 - 60 so I decided to shoot for somewhere in that range. I do not want to doa partial mash so I got rid of all of the grains that would require it, like flaked barley or oats, munich malt, etc. Without further ado I will give the roughest draft of the recipe, and then some of my questions and concerns afterwords:

EDIT - This recipe has changed somewhat, keep reading through to see its current state, and when I actually brew it I will post a final recipe

Midnight Oil Imperial Stout
9.0 lbs. Dark DME
2.0 lbs. Crystal 80L steeped 30 mins at 150-160
1.0 lbs. Roasted barley steeped 30 mins at 150-160
1.0 lbs. Black Patent Malt steeped 30 mins at 150-160
1.0 lbs. Chocolate Malt steeped 30 mins at 150-160
1.0 oz. Chinook Pellet Hops 60 minutes
1.0 oz. Saaz Pellet Hops 15 minutes
1/2 c. baking cocoa at flameout
1/4 c. baking cocoa in Secondary
1 c. fresh raspberries, crushed in Secondary
24-32 oz. cold brewed espresso in Secondary
White Labs WLP004 Irish Stout Yeast

According to TastyBrew's Recipe Calculator, this should have approx. IBU 55, ABV 8.3, both of which seem to be in line with what I am going for. I will be doing a 3 gallon boil and then adding to make 5. I am most likely going to brew for 30 minutes with only 3 lbs. of the DME, to make sure the hos have a fighting chance, and I will add the additional 6 lbs. for the final 30 minutes.

OK, now questions:
(1.) I am worried about a little too much smokiness from 1 lb. Black Patent and 1 lb. Roasted Barley. Should this be a concern? Should I modify my steeping grains? I don't want to shy away from a traditional, heavy stout flavor, I just want to layer on top of it.
(2.) Do the amounts of chocolate, coffee and berries look about right? Like I said, I want them all to be very present, and it would be difficult to mask 9 lbs. of dark malt.
(3.) What could I expect the difference to be from boiling the cocoa for the full 60 like some recipes do as opposed to putting it in at flameout as opposed to putting it in the secondary? Similarly, what could I expect to be a difference between adding ground coffee at flameout or in the secondary as opposed to the cold-brewed coffee in the secondary?
(4.) Does anyone think blackberries might create a more interesting bouquet than the raspberries?
(5.) I am not entirely settled on the Saaz as my flavoring/aroma hop. The stouts I was using as my inspiration used Chinook, Saaz, Liberty and Fuggles as flavoring hops. Saaz has less of a citrus or fruitiness to it and more of an earthy spiciness, which I thought would be a stronger compliment to the berries.
(6.) I ferment in an Ale Pail (6.5 gallons) with an airlock. I have read these types of stouts might warrant getting some blow-off tube and setting that up, at least for the initial days of fermentation. Good idea, or unnecessary?
(7.) I wanted the crystal to add nice, smooth undertones but did not want it to be too overpowering, which is when I was going with 80L. Does that make sense? With this heavy of a recipe would it be a marked difference anyway?

As even my few weeks reading and even fewer days participating in this site have displayed for me, many of y'all know answers to questions I haven't even thought of and see remedies to problems I forgot to anticipate, so I will take any advice you have got.

Thanks for the patience, support and encouragement, folks!

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Last edited by oberon567; 07-18-2008 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:49 PM   #2
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I'm a recipe noob so you can take this all with a grain of salt, but it looks like your recipe is the bigger/stronger/older brother of the recipe I made up and brewed last week:

6lbs Muntons Amber DME
1/2 lb Black Patent Malt 471L
1/2 lb Roasted Barley Malt 675L
1/2 lb Chocolate Malt 338L
1/2 lb Oats
1 lb Flaked Barley

1oz Kent Goldings (60min)
1oz Fuggle (60min)
1oz Kent Golding (5min)
4oz Bakers Chocolate (0min)

Unfortunately at this point I'm not sure what this will taste like, but in two months time hopefully I'll know better. Oh, and this was (in my opinion) ridiculously expensive ($50) to brew as extract.

I used the flaked barley for head retention purposes, and the oats for a nice thickness. The guy at the LHBS who helped with the recipe said that if I boiled the cocoa for longer then it became more of a bittering agent instead of adding to the flavor. At flameout and in the secondary would add more flavor.

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Old 07-16-2008, 05:16 PM   #3
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If only you had brewed yours 2 months ago!

Since I have a tendency to brew stronger brews, $50 for an extract brew is on my low side. My Wild Dog Days Summer Ale, which I linked to above, will be between $54 - $64, depending on how strong I decide to make it. And think of it this way: $50 for your batch = approx. $1 a bottle. If you go buy some Young's Double Chocolate Stout, that costs $10 for a 4 pack, or $2.50 a bottle. So it ends up being pretty cheap.

Another question: Is there any utility to adding some vanilla extract (or vanilla bean, should I be able to find it) to accentuate the flavors that are there, or would that just be muddying it up? I only ask because I saw it in a couple of other recipes for chocolate stout...

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Old 07-16-2008, 05:34 PM   #4
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Landis, did you do a partial mash in order to get the most out of your oats and your flaked barley? The chocolate malt can just be steeped but I thought those two needed to be mashed... though I could be very wrong... and I am not sure what happens (in terms of enzymatic action, starch and sugar action) when you only steep a grain that wants to be mashed...

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Old 07-16-2008, 05:36 PM   #5
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Sorry for piling up the questions, but I have also read that when ding extract brewing it is often best to always use either pale or amber extract, because anything beyond pale extract is just the pale extract with other things added to it, and if you're going to steep specialty grains you can add all of those things yourself... If this is true, could I switch my DME to amber and still get the deep black color, tan head, and flavors I am desiring without changing any of the other grains?

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Old 07-16-2008, 05:39 PM   #6
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1 cup of raspberries in a beer like this probably won't come through very much, but personally I don't think I'd add them anyway - it's best to build a beer from the ground up, the more you add to it in the beginning, the harder it is to tell what's causing any off flavors that develop.

As to telling what color your beer will be with various extracts/specialty grains, get a piece of brewing software and play around with it. It'll tell you the SRM and (usually) show you a picture of roughly what the color will be.

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Old 07-16-2008, 05:51 PM   #7
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I was just playing with TastyBrew's calculator to see what differences would exist if using 80L vs 120L and using Amber DME vs. Dark DME. The 80L vs. 120L had no difference in any of the numbers at all, irrelevant of the DME. (Though the 120L would be getting closer to the toffee flavors I would expect from the Crystal, so I might switch to that...)

The Amber DME had:
IBU 53
SRM 50
ABV 8.8

The Dark DME had:
IBU 55
SRM 50
ABV 8.3

So the Dark had a few less fermentables, leading to lower ABV, but somehow accentuated the hops and made it slightly more bitter. The SRM stayed the same either way, at 50, which would be nice and dark.

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Old 07-16-2008, 06:13 PM   #8
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I did end up doing a partial mash on the oats and flaked barley. As I mentioned I am no expert on these things, so I have been just doing/trying new things to try and understand the brewing process more. The guy at the home brew store suggested warming up 1.5 to 2 gallons to use for steeping. After after that was done I noticed that the oats really sucked up tons on my steeping water so I poured 1/2 gallon of warm water over the oats and another 1/2 gallon of warm water over the barley. I'm not exactly sure chemically what that did

Then with the boil and other additions I suppose that was 3 or 3.5 gallons and I then topped off to 5 gallons to ferment. I wish I had equipment to do boil all 5, but maybe some day.

And The Blow Leprechaun recommended a small amount of vanilla at bottling time to improve the perception of the chocolate flavor.

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Old 07-16-2008, 06:17 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, I forgot about the DME question. I ended up going with amber just because I used the Muntons Amber before and really thought it had a great flavor. I know a lot of people use BeerSmith or other software to help with the numbers. I downloaded BeerSmith (30 day free trial) but haven't had much of a chance to experiment with it yet.

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Old 07-17-2008, 02:21 AM   #10
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Just a few small comments. I've been toying with the idea of trying an espresso beer as well as wanting to use raspberries but haven't thought about combining the two into a single recipe.

I've been thinking when I do the espresso, I'll add a espresso puck or two into the whirlpool just after flame out. Then use about 3% espresso in the secondary. Your's looks a about 6% or so, maybe a little high? I am not a coffee drinker so I'll error on the side of caution and just add more if I don't think it has enough taste.

As for the berries my gut tells me you'll want more because they might get hidden by the espresso? I LOVE raspberries and don't mind tasting them in the brew, I think they go great with a light stout or porter! Are you going to heat the berries before pitching them to kill any bugs? How are you looking to prepare the berries?

Looking forward to your results!

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