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Old 06-25-2008, 06:33 PM   #1
shawnm213
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Default Russian Imperial Stout... what to add?

i am rather new to home brewing and currently have the brewer's best RIS kit in the primary fermenter. I'm thinking about adding some cold extracted coffee to the secondary. any recommendations for what kind of coffee to use to maintain good head retention? Also, any thoughts on adding vanilla beans or cocoa to the secondary?

Thanks!

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Old 06-25-2008, 06:39 PM   #2
shawnm213
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Default Ingredients already included:

RUSSIAN IMPERIAL STOUT*
Yield: 5 gallons
Starting Gravity: 1.070 - 1.080
Final Gravity: 1.020 - 1.030
Alcohol by Volume: 7% - 8%
Hop IBUs: 50 - 80
NGREDIENTS (INCLUDED): EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
6.6 lbs. Plain Dark Malt
2 lbs. Plain Dark Dry Malt Extract
8 oz. Crushed Roasted Barley
8 oz. Crushed Black Patent
1 lb. Crushed Crystal Malt 60L
2 each Grain Steeping Bags
1 oz. Yakima Magnum Hops (Bittering)
5 oz. Priming Sugar
60 each Crown Caps
1 each Beer Yeast

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Old 06-25-2008, 07:13 PM   #3
The Blow Leprechaun
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If you're adding already brewed coffee, I don't think it'll impact head retention too badly. What you worry about with head retention is oils and whatnot, brewed coffee is mostly water.

Coffee, vanilla, cocoa, those would all be good in a RIS. But I'd recommend with your first one adding nothing to it, then tasting it when it's ready and asking yourself, "What would go really well in this brew?"

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Old 06-25-2008, 07:29 PM   #4
shawnm213
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Default adding too much to your beer

I agree with you that starting off by making the basic recipe would probably be best... i was planning on aging this beer for a good while and was curious how the tastes would change over the coarse of a year or so, so i didn't want to have regrets about not adding something i would really like. In general, maybe in the future, should i be worried about adding too many ingredients (like coffee, vanilla, and cocoa) all to one beer? my goal would be to have that awesome flow of flavors that you taste in a lot of good beers but i'm concerned about all the flavors just getting mushed together. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself and just need to do more trial and error... I didn't know if there was some method for when to add flavors to a home brew if you want to taste them at a certain point when drinking the beer.

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Old 06-25-2008, 08:20 PM   #5
The Blow Leprechaun
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Think of it the same way you think of cooking.

It's very easy to overwhelm the palate with too many distinct flavors, resulting in just a general muddy-ness. If you want the natural complexity of the beer to shine, don't add anything. If you want to emphasize a particular aspect of that flavor profile - say, coffee - then add some more coffee to make it more pronounced. But like in all things, balance is really important.

I'd do coffee, or vanilla and cocoa, but I don't think I'd do all three together - I think it's just too "busy." But that's my taste, not necessarily yours.

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Old 06-25-2008, 08:29 PM   #6
shawnm213
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your response was very helpful. thank you very much!

SHawn

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