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Old 03-02-2013, 11:29 PM   #1
crushnbugs
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Default Imperial Stout HELP...

Hi all,

I made this Imperial Stout from a kit from Midwest - in short I steeped the grains for 30 min, added a malt extract. Boiled and added hops, added more hops the last 5 min. Cooled, topped off to 5 gal and added yeast. I fermented for about 12 days and then racked to a secondary carboy and added Champagne yeast. It sat for more than 9 months in the secondary fermenter in a cool dark place. I kegged it, carbonated it and drew my first pint.

The problem that i am faced with is that its sweet. I can taste the malt and the sweetness is overpowering. I am wondering if the addition of the Champagne yeast actually worked at all?

Your thoughts and suggestions are welcomed. I was contemplating bringing it back up to temp and adding more Champagne yeast. Would this be a mistake? As it is now its not drinkable to me. I can't just toss it…I want to try to fix it if possible.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 03-03-2013, 03:03 AM   #2
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First off what was the grain bill. It would seem to
me that the fermentable sugars have alteady been eaten by the yeast after nine months of storage, and if they weren't the champaign yeast would have taken care of anything left over. If there was a considerable amount of specially grains in the recipe then your dealing with sugars that are not digestible for the yeast or are non-fermentable and no amount of champaign yeast will take care of that. I brew quite a few Russian imperial stouts and I also use quite a lot of specialty grains in those recipes. It is normal for this type of beer to be sweet if you have ever had dark lord or bourbon county it is clear that this is the case. I always boost the hop bill to balance the sweetness which has always worked well for me. You could always boil a couple of ounces of hops for an hour, filter the liquid, and add it to your keg, that might just balance the sweetness you are speaking of.

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Old 03-03-2013, 03:40 AM   #3
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I must say, the Champagne yeast probably had an uphill battle for itself - being added, presumably dry or just rehydrated, to a high alcohol wort wouldn't give it much time to build up, multiply, and function properly. I've never heard of adding another dose of yeast like that after secondary, but without giving them a chance to pick up some oxygen and get in fighting shape I doubt they helped.
...and thus adding more now wouldn't help, unless you get them going in a little starter first.

Did you take gravity readings? I assume you'd have put them in the original post if you had, but doesn't hurt to ask! That would give the most solid idea of how far it's gone.
What kind of yeast was it at the start, and did you make a starter or rehydrate it (if it was dry)? Any idea what the starting gravity was supposed to be based on the kit sheet?

Last but not least, if you do put more yeast in there (once you've got it going), be sure to allow some time for the CO2 to leave suspension. Dropping yeast into a fully carbonated beer will not make them happy campers.

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Old 03-03-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
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I like the sweetness of my Imperial Stouts so much I let them warm up to get the full effect.

You might want to drink yours cold. The sweetness doesn't come through as much that way.

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Old 03-03-2013, 12:37 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'm curious if it's just on the sweet side or if the fermentation actually stuck, though. Certainly, if it's complete then there's nothing to do there (maybe the extract just wasn't super fermentable), but if he's trying to drink it a 1.030 then chilling it isn't going to fix the problem.

One thought too: if you added the extract before heating, it might not have dissolved well and could have gotten caramelized on the bottom of the pot when heating. You wouldn't have noticed the color difference like you would in another style, but once caramelized the sugar is no longer fermentable. Does it have a caramel/toffee flavor more than you would expect?

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Old 03-03-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
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Not that you would but if you took a gravity of some of the big commercial examples of RIS you would find that they do fall in the 1.030 range or higher. They are sweet beers and the sweetness needs to be balanced by the use of high AA hops and some of the more bitter dark malts. In my best RIS recipe I use a pound of black patent, a pound of chocolate malt and a pound of roasted barley along with various other amounts of Carmel malts. I use 4 ounces of magnum at 14.2% for 90 minutes and then 2 ounces of goldings at 20 and knockout. I shoot for an OG of 1.125 and expect a FG of 1.035ish. At my brew club meetings during blind tasting it has been compared to the Firestone walker Parabola, but less sweet than both bourbon county and dark lord. Just my 2¢

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Old 03-18-2013, 12:39 AM   #7
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So sorry his reply is so long overdue…This was brewed using 8oz Chocolate Malt, 4oz Caramel, 8oz Roasted Barley, 6# Dark LME, 6# Amber LME, 3oz NB Hopps AA 9.5% and 1oz Williamette 5.1%

I had an initial reading of 1.083

Added Wyeast 1098

On day 12 it was racked to secondary and 1oz Champagne Yeast was added dry

All advice is welcomed...

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Old 03-18-2013, 01:22 AM   #8
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When did you add your hops?


Was it a 90 minute boil?

With a mid aa hop like that hopefully you charged it for the full 90.

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Old 03-20-2013, 01:10 AM   #9
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It was just over 60 minutes on the boil…thats what the recipe called for

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:39 PM   #10
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You don't have an FG reading? I'd pour some of the kegged beer into your hydrometer sample tube, let it sit for a few hours to degas and warm up, and take a reading.

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