I recently had a brew day of epic proportions. I figured I would tell my tale... It all started over a year ago, when two of my close friends came to visit me and we brewed a Russian Imperial Stout and it was the best beer any of had ever made. Fast forward to Sunday, and I wanted to rebrew the beer we had done, but I wanted to do it a little bit different. Originally we had 10 gallons of RIS and did a pari-gyle on the second mash tun to make an IPA (it was all 2 row). This time, I tried to keep the same grain bill, but wanted to do an over the top RIS, a Belgian RIS, and milk out whatever sugars I could left into making something. When we originally brewed the beer it literally took all day, so I wanted to get an early start. However, I am a first year PhD student and had a take home final due the next day and I didn't get done until 3:30.
My grain bill for the day was as follows, and the key to our grainbill is the chocolate rye. Tasting the beer a year later and you can still get a small hint of the rye:
Amount Item Type % or IBU
25.00 lb Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM) Grain 66.67 %
7.00 lb Chocolate Rye Malt (250.0 SRM) Grain 18.67 %
1.50 lb Roasted Barley (Briess) (300.0 SRM) Grain 4.00 %
1.00 lb Caramel Malt - 120L 6-Row (Briess) (120.0 Grain 2.67 %
1.00 lb Caramel Malt - 60L (Briess) (60.0 SRM) Grain 2.67 %
1.00 lb Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 2.67 %
1.00 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 2.67 %
I did all my hopping on the fly, as I didnt know what gravities I would end up with. Everything was mashed together, and the only problem I had was with my mash temp, I was aiming for 153-155 but I was at 149-150. I usually hit my temps, but we had a cold front coming through NC and it got cold! My first beer I ended up with 7 gallons of RIS at a preboil gravity of 1.096. My hops for this beer are as follows:
1 oz chinook FWH
1 oz magnum 60 min
1 oz chinook 20 min
1 oz chinook 1 min
1 oz cascade 1 min
Final gravity, 1.112. Cooled the beer in the kettle unitl it could go into the better beer bottle and then let it naturally cool via the craptastic weather. Pitched a yeast cake of a Kolsch (White Labs German Ale) and a starter of the same yeast and blew the top off on Tuesday. The last time we brewed this RIS we used the Wyeast German Ale and the Thames Valley yeast, don't remember if it was Wyeast or WhiteLabs, but the German ale was delicious. I brewed Jamils Kolsch intentionally to have this yeast cake available. Depending on how this ferments out, and based on comments, I may or may not add some sucrose to the fermenter.
My second 5 gallons was inspired by Terrapins Side Project #9 The dark side. It is a Russian Imperial Stout with a Belgian yeast and from what I have read they use westmalle yeast. I chose to use White labs Belgian Golden Strong, WLP 570, as I plan on doing a golden strong, dark strong and a Belgian IPA in the new year and have had good success with the yeast. For this 5 gallons I picked the least hoppy hops I had in my fridge and used:
1 oz sterling 60 min
1 oz mag 45 min
1 oz perle 5 min
In the true sense of a Belgian I added a pound of cane sugar at 15 minutes and I am going to add another tonight. My final gravity was 1.070.
My last efforts were to get 10 gallons of a 1.050ish beer, but I my final gravity was only a 1.030. At the time I went to bed at 2:30, I didnt care what my FG was. I guess I ended with a hoppy mild but Im still going to add some sucrose to bump up the ABV. I used the Wyeast version of Whitelabs of Cal V. At this point of the brew day I was le tired , mentally exhausted (spend 10 hours of the day doing a biometry final), and a bit drunk. Having recently tried continuously hopping and really liking what I tasted but not having enough nose, I went with continuously hopping the last 30 minutes. Therefore, I decided to attempt this in the last 10 gallons (not knowing my FG was going to be 1.030), so this is what I used:
2 oz Chinook FWH
2 oz Chinook 60 min
Continuously hopped from 30-10 minutes
1 oz Chinook
1 oz Chinook
2 oz Cascade
Continuously hopped last 5 minutes, and the rest dumped in at flame out:
2 oz centennial
1 oz columus.
Thus far, there is nothing really to report. My krausen on the Belgian RIS has fallen and I am going to added sugar. The full out (I call it the full retard RIS, but I was taught never to go full retard) RIS is still fermenting like crazy and the mild is almost ready for more sugars, but it smells amazing. I did this all myself, 20 gallons from 4pm-2:30 am in literally below freezing weather, which I appreciated to cool the wort faster. I also kegged the kolsch to get the yeast cake the same day. My only regrets are not taking pictures!!!