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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Aging a Russian Imperial Stout.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:15 PM   #21
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Bumping an old thread - is there any fear of the beer getting oxidized in secondary? I've got a Russian Imperial Stout with an OG of 1.103 that should be in the 10%+ alcohol range. I left it in Primary for about a month until the gravity reading stabilized (was sitting at 1.026 for about 5 days) before moving it to a whiskey barrel my wife got me for Valentine's Day from a local distillery.

I figure I'll probably have it there for about 3 weeks or so until the flavor is right before moving it to a true secondary to let it bulk age for 2-3 months.

My concern is that with very little carbon dioxide being produced at this point by the beer, that there is a much greater chance for oxidation in the true secondary. Any thoughts on how to avoid this? I know minimal head space is ideal, but even in a 5 gallon secondary I will probably end up with half a gallon or so of head space.
Your best bet will be to be extremely cautious when racking and purge your secondary vessel with CO2 before you close it up.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:08 PM   #22
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purging with oxygen is one approach. another is to use something no-reactive to help fill up the secondary. for example, add marbles until the secondary is filled to the top (sanitize them first).

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Old 04-18-2013, 06:50 PM   #23
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purging with oxygen is one approach. another is to use something no-reactive to help fill up the secondary. for example, add marbles until the secondary is filled to the top (sanitize them first).
Not oxygen, carbon dioxide.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:48 PM   #24
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You'll probably pick up more oxidation in the barrel than the secondary. I usually bulk age in secondary first, then go into the barrel, then age a little more in a keg with CO2 on top.

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Old 04-19-2013, 02:29 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeZeRCoX View Post
Bumping an old thread - is there any fear of the beer getting oxidized in secondary? I've got a Russian Imperial Stout with an OG of 1.103 that should be in the 10%+ alcohol range. I left it in Primary for about a month until the gravity reading stabilized (was sitting at 1.026 for about 5 days) before moving it to a whiskey barrel my wife got me for Valentine's Day from a local distillery.

I figure I'll probably have it there for about 3 weeks or so until the flavor is right before moving it to a true secondary to let it bulk age for 2-3 months.

My concern is that with very little carbon dioxide being produced at this point by the beer, that there is a much greater chance for oxidation in the true secondary. Any thoughts on how to avoid this? I know minimal head space is ideal, but even in a 5 gallon secondary I will probably end up with half a gallon or so of head space.
If this is a brand new barrel I'd recommend tasting it every few days, especially in the beginning. If there was a lot of residual bourbon, your beer will pick up the flavor quickly and you don't want too much bourbon flavor.

My first use of my bourbon barrel only took 4 days before it had quite the bourbon taste. I'm hoping my next beer can go a few weeks though.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:31 AM   #26
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So how does one know if you need more yeast before bottling if you've bulk aged for awhile? I did an imperial stout kit from Midwest and it was bulk aged in secondary for 4 months and it came with Champagne yeast so I added that. But how would I know if I need that?

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Old 04-19-2013, 02:38 AM   #27
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If it's good on Christmas, 2013, (and it will be) brew another big one and let it sit until Christmas, 2014. And save a few from your current batch for Christmas, 2014 too. I still have a 8 or so bottles of an RIS I made almost 2 years ago, and they are AWESOME.

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