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Old 02-24-2012, 04:26 PM   #1
strongarm
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Default True bourbon barrel aged imperial stout

I want to make a really strong, 15% ABV, imperial stout and age 6 months in a 5g used bourbon barrel. Problem is it's only my 6th brew and I am not comfortable with making a balanced beer ingrediant list.

I did already try this by buying a stout kit from NB and adding extra DME and hops but only got it up to 1.108 OG and my fermentation was so aggressive I lost .75g due to krausen overflow, didn’t hit the ABV I wanted and don’t have enough beer for the barrel to be filled. So...after doing some research here is my first draft of how I would like to reattempt this.

OG 1.146 (ABV 15.1%)
IBU 41.5
SRM 56.5
Batch Size 6G

Grains
Dark LME 24lbs
Roasted Barley 8oz
Black Patent Malt 8oz
Chocolate Malt 12oz
Caramel/Crystal Malt-120L 16oz

Hops
Summit 2.75oz 60m
Cascade 1.5oz 30m
Cascade 2oz 5m

Other
Star Anise 1oz 30m
Fresh espresso 12oz after boil is done and cooled to 160

Yeast
Wyeast 1098 2liquid packs

Procedure
After pitching yeast oxygenate with 2micron diffuser stone for 30 seconds and again every hour for next 2 hours. Possibly add WLP099 when fermentation slows down.

Concerns, ?’s
-Is the ingredient balance right?
-I want the SRM to be closer to 100%, what is the best way to do that?
-Is the yeast the proper one for this style of beer and will it hold up to 15% ABV? If not what do you recommend to do…add WLP099 after fermentation slows? Do I oxygenate again if I do have to pitch new yeast and do I have to use a starter?
-Is 6G the proper batch size for wanting to barrel age in a 5G barrel…top off due to angel’s share?
-How do I get the primary to not overflow with krausen like my first batch, can I get a really big primary bucket, should I use a bigger overflow tube, I know I can use fermcap but want to do that at last resort.

I know this is a alot of questions but appreciate any advice. This is a big investment to attempt this beer and I want to have something at the end that I can enjoy. Thanks.

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Old 02-24-2012, 06:12 PM   #2
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Not a great choice with the yeast - Wyeast says its Alcohol Tolerance is only 10%. Look into WLP099 Super High Gravity Yeast.

Minor, but I would up to a full pound of chocolate malt.

I would definitely use a blow off tube! 6 Gallons of super high gravity wort in an ale pail is going to cause you lots of trouble. You might want to drop it to 5 for safety. You should also do a 120 minute boil to help increase your gravity and caramelization.

I'm also not sure what I think about using all of that Dark Extract. Maybe someone else can comment here..

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Old 02-24-2012, 07:00 PM   #3
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What about 1968 or 1056 yeast to start with...I have read that 1056 can get up to 15% despite WYeast saying up to 11% but I have no idea. If it dosn't make it to the 15% I could then add WLP099? I only say this instead of going directly with 099 because there were mixed reviews on the 099 saying "it was overattenuated and astringent with some autolysis flavors".

Updated my Chocolate Malt to 1lb and SRM went to 59.2. Any recommendations on how to increase that closer to 100?

Changing the boil time to 120 brought the IBU's to 45.9 but no other changes? How would that increase the gravity?

Also I'm thinking of buying a 15g curtec fermenting bucket so I won't have issues with overflows.

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Old 02-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #4
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I dont think i would do a beer that big using only extract for base. It doesnt provide the flexibility to mash low and get a more fermentable wort (lower FG).

That said, if I were to do this, I would use a light extract instead of dark. I would also use DME, it provides more fermentable sugar per lb than LME. I would also add a couple lbs of sugar in the place of some DME to dry this out some. You may struggle to get this much below 1.030 FG using all extract.

I would also recommend cranking the IBUs up to at least 80, even there the BU:GU is only .55, which is well below the norm for an Imperial stout. Personally I would go 100+.

I use carafa III in my Stone 15th clone to get it black with some roastiness minus the dark malt bitterness. I can't see through it and it is "only" 57.7. You could add some of it, or some more roasted barley, or some black patent, but why do you want 100 SRM? It is going to take a lot of roasted grain to get that high, which could result in off flavors that you don't want in that beer.

You will need a huge starter, I ran it through Mr Malty and assuming the yeast is from January and you are using 2 packs of yeast you will need a 9.83L starter. If the yeast is only 2 weeks old, you only need a 6L starter for 6g.

Lastly, I would age this thing longer that 6 months. I did a 13.2% barleywine and it is just starting to get good an smooth after a year.

Increasing the boil time will boil off more wort. If you were doing all grain, you could sparge more, boil longer And end up with higher gravity. It won't matter for extract.

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Old 02-24-2012, 07:28 PM   #5
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As said before, I think that yeast will probably get you to around 10% abv - IF you make a huge starter from those 2 packs. Pitching 2 packs alone is not enough yeast for a beer with that extreme gravity. In fact, that gravity is really too high to begin with, and I'm not sure the yeast will thrive with that kind of osmotic potential. I assume you don't really want to use WLP099 from the get-go due to some people reporting it doesn't have a great flavor profile (no personal experience here).

If I were you, I think your best chances for success are to make a larger batch (roughly 7-8 gallons?) of weaker starting beer (~1.100), and boil down/concentrate a fraction of that to create a separate very high gravity wort. Get the yeast going in the lower gravity wort, and refrigerate the concentrated wort, which you could use later to "feed" the yeast incrementally once it is going strong.

It would take some calculating, but shouldn't be too hard to do.

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Old 02-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #6
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I am trying to do something similar to a Black Tuesday brew from the Bruery. The below is a description of their brew...that's where I got the IBU 40 and SRM 100 goal but I guess it's not crucial.
"Our infamous Black Tuesday is an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels for over a year. Rich caramel, toasted malt, vanilla, burnt wood, anise are just a few of the many flavors of this rich, decadent imperial stout. ABV: 19.5%, IBU: 40, SRM: 100+,"
Taking some of the recommendations here are some proposed changes. Replace the 24lbs of dark LME with:
12lb of light DME and 6lb of dark DME…also if I up my patent malt to 1lb and change my yeast to 099. I still achieve OG of 1.134 12.9%ABV, IBU 53, SRM 60.
Also I only planned on aging in the barrel for 6 months since there will be a lot of surface area. I think it equates to 18 months if it were in a full sized barrel. I would of course let it bottle condition for another 6 months or more.
Sounds like I need to start looking into all grain brewing. I do want to see what I can achieve with this via extract method. If I was trying to stay away from adding sugar to the beer if possible so I hope by reducing my ABV expectations I could still do this with all malt.
Really appreciate all the feedback guys. Let me know if the above sounds like an improvement in the right direction.

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Old 02-25-2012, 01:34 PM   #7
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A longer boil will evaporate more water and decrease your volume, which will increase your og . But I guess for extract it wouldn't matter since you'd just top up to full volume anyway

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Old 03-24-2012, 05:14 AM   #8
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So brewing this tomorrow. I am thinking of adding 1lb of molasses and removing 1lb of dark dme. Is the molasses going to help get my FG lower?

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Old 03-24-2012, 06:28 AM   #9
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You should listen to the brewing networks bit on dogfish120 clone attempt, they talk about feeding the yeast suger during fermentation and a similar strategy of letting there primary yeast go as long as it can before adding the 099, i would agree with adding a lot more hops to your brew to help balance it a bit more, brew on

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Old 03-24-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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A couple things:
First, I think you'll find that 6 months will be seriously too much time in a 5 gallon barrel. I say this in reference to what seems to be the common thinking on here, but also as someone that just tried my home version of a whiskey barrel imperial stout (14.7%) last night. It spent two WEEKS in that little 5 gallon barrel and has a lot of bourbon and oak character. Not saying don't plan on aging for a long time, but make sure you are checking on it regularly.

Second, I'll also chime in on that not being enough yeast to start. Get a couple big starters going with each of those yeast packs or pick up a lot more of them. With that much extract, you're likely going to end up very sweet to begin with so give the yeast as much help as possible to take that FG down.

Third, Super High Gravity yeast pitched as fermentation is slowing down has worked great for me. A starter is advisable and make sure that you give the yeast plenty of nutrient in the starter. Feeding some sugar additions will help keep them chugging along. Again, help them help you.

Fourth, use some sugar. Molasses is great with Imperial Stouts. I used two lbs in my barrel aged batch. Provides some good character and helps take the gravity down which is going to be an issue you'll run into.I might suggest a lb as fermentation is slowing, right before the HG yeast pitch and then a few smaller additions after to help the yeast take that beast down in gravity and
keep em going. The fears of over attenuation on this beer are overstated. However, the HG yeast can produce very boozy astringent beer if run for the entire fermentation.

Lastly, this is my feelings and taste, but that may be too little roasted malt to balance what is going to be a sweet beer. I'm not sure that Black Patent is the way to go to increase the roasted character, but might suggest adding up to a lb of dehusked Caraffa or Black Prinz to get the flavor but not the astringency. As was stated above, adding more Chocolate would be a good idea too, and if you don't have access to the dehusked malts, a lb of extra chocolate and another 8oz of Patent or Roasted Barley might work.

My thoughts. Others may feel differently, but hopefully I've been of some help.

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