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Old 05-12-2013, 04:19 PM   #1
IOnceWasLegend
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Default Help with Russian Imperial Stout recipe

Hey, all,

I've been considering brewing an RIS for a while and have tinkered with this recipe a bit. I know that Special B seems to be love it/hate it, but I like the taste of it and want to keep it in.

Any critiques/thoughts would be appreciated!

15 lbs Maris Otter pale malt
1 lb Chocolate Malt
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300L)
.5 lb Crystal 120L
.5 lb Carafa Special III dehusked malt (for dark color)
.25 lb Special B malt
1 lb Molasses
1.5 lb Flaked Oats

1 oz Columbus Hops, 60 minutes
1 oz Columbus Hops, 30 minutes
1 oz Kent Goldings, 15 minutes

Wyeast 1028, 1 L starter culture

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:10 PM   #2
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According to the BJCP guidelines, "any type of hops may be used", and according to my experience, both EKG and Columbus will work fine in a RIS, although the Columbus may need some time to mellow out. Then again, so will probably the molasses, but it's hard to predict. I don't think you'll need dehusked Carafa Special, as it should be dark enough already, and if it isn't, you need more roasted flavour anyway. I wouldn't add any simple sugar.

Also, you probably need a bigger starter. Use the yeast calculator on Mrmalty.com.

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
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I'd maybe back off the molasses a little bit, 1/2 lb would be plenty I would think. Substitute makeup sucrose or dextrose if you wanted the gravity boost.

The colombus would be fine I think, but make sure you are bittering in the 65-90 IBU range. You didn't state a predicted OG. If you are going to be anywhere near 1.100 OG, you'd want to be on the upper end of bittering to balance the sweetness and malt.

A 1L starter is pretty small for an RIS. You want the yeast to really healthy and vital to be able to handle the late fermentation sugars.

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Old 05-13-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input, everyone.

Solbes, the IBUs were predicted for ~72 or so, I believe. I may bump it up to 1.25 oz for an hour to balance it out. As for the yeast, I'll use the calculators and make sure I pitch enough. I'll also back off on the molasses.

Ølbart, fair enough. For additional roasted flavor, would you recommend adding an additional 0.5 lb of Roasted Barley or 0.5 lb of Black Patent? Or is there another grain that you think might fit well in there?

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Old 05-14-2013, 08:58 PM   #5
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The choice of Roasted Barley and Black Patent is a difficult one, as the differences may or may not be subtle (and will vary by maltster), and are certainly a matter of preference. I believe Black Patent usually is sharper. Other grains to try are Brown Malt and Amber Malt (again, different maltsters will have very different ideas of what an Amber Malt should be; I've only tried Thomas Fawcett's, which is delicious in stouts).

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Old 05-15-2013, 12:31 AM   #6
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This is 100% my taste/opinion, but I would do the following:

Back the chocolate to .75 lb unless it's pale
Delete the carafa III
Swap the molasses for 1 lb sucrose
Swap the oats for flaked barley

I also would just do bittering hops only. I know that's going to draw fire but I'm not a fan of much hop flavor in a RIS.

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Old 05-15-2013, 04:46 PM   #7
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What kind of molasses are you thinking of using? That makes a big difference. Light and blackstrap, for example, may as well not even be the same thing, they're so different in flavor (not to mention fermentability). Even brands range pretty widely in their flavor within the same type of molasses.

Have you taken the time to calculate your OG, IBUs, that kind of thing? It sure helps when it comes to looking over a recipe quickly like this. Is it safe to assume this is a 5g batch? Also, as stated above, make sure you calculate your starter and pitch rate as well.

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Old 05-15-2013, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike37 View Post
Back the chocolate to .75 lb unless it's pale
Delete the carafa III
Swap the molasses for 1 lb sucrose
Swap the oats for flaked barley
Taste sure is a funny thing. Mike, I am 100% not telling you you're wrong or misguided in this advice, but were this my beer, I would absolutely do none of this! And you know what? That's OK, as Mike's going to brew the stuff he likes, and I'm going to brew the stuff I like, and we're both going to be happy.

The reason why I post this is that it shows how very important one question is that has not yet been asked: OP, can you describe how you want this to taste? Without an idea of how you want it to taste, all we can do is point out obvious procedural errors. Otherwise, we're all just telling you how we make our beers. Problem is, this isn't our beer.
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Last edited by GuldTuborg; 05-15-2013 at 06:18 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuldTuborg

Taste sure is a funny thing. Mike, I am 100% not telling you you're wrong or misguided in this advice, but I were this my beer, I would absolutely do none of this! And you know what? That's OK, as Mike's going to brew the stuff he likes, and I'm going to brew the stuff I like, and we're both going to be happy.

The reason why I post this is that it shows how very important one question is that has not yet been asked: OP, can you describe how you want this to taste? Without an idea of how you want it to taste, all we can do is point out obvious procedural errors. Otherwise, we're all just telling you how we make our beers. Problem is, this isn't our beer.
No worries. You're right that we need an end result "wish list". Otherwise we'll just tweak it to our tastes like I did.
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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Good point. I guess I never really thought of that...thanks for the heads up.

Ideally I'd like a big stout with roast, coffee and chocolate flavors. I'm not a huge fan of lots of hop bitterness, but I know there's a lot of "sweet" in here so I'd like to make sure it's balanced out.

For hops/bitterness comparison: I'm a big fan of Old Rasputin and Narwhal Imperial Stout, but my favorites are Founders Imperial Stout and Founders KBS. I'm not trying to clone any of these beers, but a similar roasted/coffee characteristic with a "smooth" alcohol and bitterness.

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