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Old 07-01-2010, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default First Imperial Stout - critique please

I slept on making plans for the 4th, so I decided I'm going to make up for it by brewing a big Imperial Stout, inspired by the Mephistopheles and Dark Lord attempts found on here. I also plan on using this to build my yeast cake for a Utopias-like brew afterwards. Anyway, onto the recipe (sorry the #s are all screwy, I based it on a 5gal AG batch and scaled it down to what I can actually make):
OBLIVION (3gal batch)
OG: 1.144ish
IBU: 110ish
SRM: Black
5.25lb Marris Otter
1.05lb Aromatic
0.9lb Special B
0.9lb Flaked Oats
0.75lb Roasted Barley
0.45lb Chocolate Wheat
0.3lb Honey Malt
0.3lb Flaked Barley
1lb light DME (make up for the MO can't fit in)
0.5lb Molasses - during fermentation
1lb Honey or Demerara sugar - during fermentation
1.5lb light DME - during fermentation
1.5oz Chinook/Nugget mix 12.25% (FWH, 5min)
WLP028 & WLP530 yeast slurries

mash 149 for 75mins, double batch sparge, 90min boil

For the stuff being added during fermentation, I was going to boil it all together and then add half 2-4 days into it and the rest a few days later. Do I want to aerate this solution before adding?

Any comments/suggestions?

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Old 07-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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That is a BIG beer for your first attempt at RIS. That said what you are doing: mashing low, adding sugars after the start of fermentation, and using multiple yeasts are all good ways to go about it.

I would probably up the dark malt/grain at the expense of some of the specialty malts (that is to say I'd drop the flaked barley and honey malt). A stout that big needs to be pretty roasty to overcome all the residual sweetness, the small additions of other grains will get lost.

General big beer tips, pitch cool, ferment cool, lots of oxygen (along with the additional sugars wouldn’t be a bad idea), pitch lots of yeast, give it plenty of time in primary and secondary etc… If you can make a drinkable beer, consider it a victory.

I would not use the yeast cake from this for an even higher alcohol brew. Dealing with all that alcohol will make the cells very weak, start over again with fresh cells in a moderate gravity beer/starter.

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Old 07-02-2010, 02:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips. I was on the fence with the flaked barley and honey malt anyway, so does dropping them for more MO (now 5.5#) and chocolate wheat (0.75#) work? Will the special B still come through with all that roast? Any thoughts on toasting the oats as well?
I know its pretty big for my first RIS, but I thought it'd be a good challenge and I did a 1.11OG barleywine so it's not entirely new territory. Maybe I'll use the extra lb of DME to make a small stout out of any excess runnings tho and drop the OG to 1.13ish instead.

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Old 07-02-2010, 02:33 PM   #4
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You know what might help? Mash at 2.0 quarts a pound and mash overnight....start at 152 or so and let her ride.

Recipe looks great, except I would throw in a 2-3 oz of late chinook...just cause I love that chinook flavor and aroma.....this is a beer to throw caution in the wind and go nuts with...

If I may add my .02 on yeast, for big beers.....pacman yeast is the best attenuater I have ever used.

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Old 07-02-2010, 03:00 PM   #5
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You might as well up your roasted barley too, assuming you want some lasting roastiness in there to counter the raisinlike flavor you're going ot get from the Special B.

As for hops....I would probably create a varied schedule for this beer. For example, FWH'ing is great and all, but you may be unhappy with the bitterness level if you forgo a 60 (or 90) minute addition here.....FWH, while theoretically bumping IBU's as high as boil additions, is more relative to a 20 minute addition flavor wise. personally I would put half of those hops at 90 minutes.....

I would also perform a massive late hop around 10 minutes, as well as the dry-hop mentioned above (done the week before bottling) just to ensure there is at least some hop character and complexity once your RIS is ready to drink. Hops fade and mellow with age, so I tend to plan accordingly for 1 year down the line myself. Northern BRewer is an excellent hop for stouts, especially for bittering since it adds an almost minty, chocolate-enhancing woodiness....then you could use chinook at the nose end....it would be excellent, IMHO.

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Old 07-02-2010, 04:06 PM   #6
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While I like the NB idea, I got a ton of hops in my freezer I want to continue to chip away at before I buy more. My other options are williamette, goldings, centennial, and amarillo aside from the nugget and chinook. Also, I'm a big hophead so I have no problem with the huge late adds, I just didnt think by the time it was ready to drink much of it would be left to warrant doing it which is why I was originally only looking at doing 1.5oz late

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Old 07-04-2010, 04:37 PM   #7
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I want to brew this up tomorrow so any other thoughts on this? I'm having some second thoughts on the level of dark malts being too high seeing as this is only a 3g batch. I like roasty, but I don't like coffee.

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Old 07-05-2010, 01:32 PM   #8
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I would skip the late hops, and do a big dry hop right before bottling (after an extended secondary). You are right that the character of late boil hops will be long gone by the time you are drinking it. Maybe something like Amarillo/Golding, I recently had Goose Island's Night Stalker and that uses a combo of Mt. Hood and Simcoe. You could certainly go Centennial/Amarillo/Chinook if you wanted just American citrus/pine, or just Willamette/Golding if you wanted to go more English. Good luck.

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Old 07-05-2010, 03:27 PM   #9
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Personally, I feel that the late hops don't 'disappear' but rather add an underlying complexity of flavor that would not be there without them....they do have a subtle effect, atleast that has been my experience with big beers and late hops. The old ale I made without late hops is very different in character from the barleywine I made with tons of late hops, and I bittered them about the same at the 90 minute end....

it's your beer and you should do exactly what you want to do with it, but my feelings on big beers like this are that they are best when they have a lot of complexity and subtle shades of flavors, and I feel that late hops, while muted a year down the road, still do contibute substantial character, if not aroma. so there's my $0.02.

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Old 07-05-2010, 03:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snailsongs View Post
Personally, I feel that the late hops don't 'disappear' but rather add an underlying complexity of flavor that would not be there without them....they do have a subtle effect, atleast that has been my experience with big beers and late hops. The old ale I made without late hops is very different in character from the barleywine I made with tons of late hops, and I bittered them about the same at the 90 minute end....

it's your beer and you should do exactly what you want to do with it, but my feelings on big beers like this are that they are best when they have a lot of complexity and subtle shades of flavors, and I feel that late hops, while muted a year down the road, still do contibute substantial character, if not aroma. so there's my $0.02.
I'll agree, the hops do not disappear completely, but as you said that fresh hoppy aroma isn't going to stick around. Some people like the taste of aged out American hops (aged Bigfoot for example, which is also dry hopped) not a flavor I was ever fond of.
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