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Old 11-27-2009, 08:07 PM   #1
GregoryShmegory
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Default Tips for Russian Imperial Stout

I've decided to brew a Russian Imperial Stout that I will let condition and mellow for some time before late winter consumption (I got time, winters are long here in Maine). Here's the recipe I've formulated:

Partial Mash, 5.5 gal, OG 10.93, IBU 73

Ingredients

5.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 33.33 %
5.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract [Boil for 15 min] Extract 33.33 %
1.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 6.67 %
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 5.00 %
0.50 lb Black Barley (Stout) (500.0 SRM) Grain 3.33 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM) Grain 3.33 %
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 3.33 %
0.25 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 1.67 %
5.00 oz Mystery Hop [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 33.0 IBU
2.00 oz Mystery Hop [5.00 %] (30 min) Hops 10.1 IBU
2.00 oz Mystery Hop [5.00 %] (15 min) Hops 6.6 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (5 min) Hops 1.4 IBU
1.00 lb Invert Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 6.67 %
0.50 lb Brown Sugar, Light (8.0 SRM) Sugar 3.33 %
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale

The Mystery hops are pellets of unknown variety given to me from a friend. From taste tests I believe they are low AA% and somewhat Earthy. I could use more suggestions regarding the grain bill.

Any thoughts on the invert and brown sugar?
I'll have to make a beast of a starter, has anyone ever simply used 2 packets US-05 for a high gravity brew like this? What about mixing liquid and dry yeast?

Thanks for your help, hurray beer!

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Old 11-28-2009, 05:05 AM   #2
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Can one actually perform the taste test to get an idea of a hop's bitterness? I do know that alpha acids are considerably less bitter and less soluble than their isomerized counterparts, however there still could be (and likely is) a direct relationship between the two. However, I think there are some acids in hops which don't end up having much affect on bitterness in the beer. These could prove confounding. I don't know. Just thinking. Safe bet= using mystery hops for aroma more than bittering. Bitter with something that has a known alpha so you don't end up with 14 IBUs.

Yep, using 2 packets of US-05 is a great way to ferment a big beer.

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Old 11-28-2009, 01:53 PM   #3
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I wouldn't use mystery hops for bittering. You want to have a good idea of what your IBUs are. With the mystery hops, you are just trying to pin the tail on the donkey.

On the grain bill, I would use the 55-60L crystal, instead of the 30L, and consider bumping it up to a full pound. I'd also leave out the sugar.


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Old 11-28-2009, 05:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for your help. TexLaw, if I replaced the 30L with 60L would you still suggest bumping it to a full pound, in light of the .75 pounds of 120L? Also, if I dropped the brown sugar and kept the pound of invert, would that cause any negative flavoring (it'd be around 6% of the grain bill)? I've never used sugar in a recipe but I was hoping to slightly lighten the body to enhance drinkability. Let me know what you think, thanks.

G

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Old 11-29-2009, 01:45 PM   #5
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Brown sugar is table sugar with about 10% molasses added. IMO I think you won't get much residual flavor from the molasses in the BS. So what this means is that in deciding between table sugar, brown sugar, or invert, you're not really going to be affecting the flavor of the beer that much considering the small quantities you're proposing. But I think you're making a good decision adding some of them to dry the beer a bit. My advice would be to just pick one of them.

Otherwise recipe looks good once you take TexLaw's hopping advice.

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Old 11-29-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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1.093 is too big for one smack pac or vial. You need to increase your cell count for a big beer like that.

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Old 11-30-2009, 04:17 PM   #7
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You might want 3 packs of US-05 but 2 should be fine. I use 2 packs for ~8% beers all the time. You might consider using something like Nugget for bittering, it's around 13-14% AA and would be cheaper and predictable.

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Old 11-30-2009, 10:27 PM   #8
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For the hops I agree with something larger in %AA. Magnum is my go to bittering hop because its neutral and has a high %AA. I would leave out the invert sugar, however, I've been itching to carmalize some brown sugar and try it in a RIS. From what I've read, Dogfish head carmalizes brown sugar for their Indian Brown and I think it would be great in a RIS.

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Old 11-30-2009, 11:55 PM   #9
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Mr. Malty Pitching Calculator says that, depending on the production date, you need 1.5-2 packets of dry yeast. I've done a 1.086 RIS with 2 packs of US-05 that turned out very well. I'm enjoying it right now and am looking forward to brewing my next one in the coming weeks.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

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Old 12-01-2009, 06:11 PM   #10
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Definitely go with a big blow-off tube. My RIS experiment sprayed all over my kitchen ceiling. It looked like I'd been digging for oil, and hit the jackpot.

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