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Old 09-01-2011, 08:34 PM   #1
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Default Almost Imperial Stout

I brewed NB's Imperial Stout 8/12 - came up slightly short on OG with a reading of 1.082. Yeast used was Scottish Ale and I had prepared a 650ml starter, pitched at high krausen. Fermentation looked strong but was over curiously quickly. edit: krausen fell within 5 days.

Fast forward to 8/26 - my FG is 1.022. I had taken a reading 8/19 just for ****s and giggles and it was the same, so it hadn't budged in that week. Temperatures during primary fermentation were right at 70°F, but after my higher than I wanted FG reading, I moved the carboy upstairs where it's probably sitting at more like 76°F. I also tried to rouse the yeast cake a bit to get some back in suspension.

If this beer is "done" at 1.022, my apparant attenuation would only be 73%, and abv-wise I'm barely sneaking in to the acceptable range for the style at 8%. I will say that I tasted both samples and they were good - although I doubt they're really indicative of what this will taste like with 3 months of age on it.

So, I guess my question is - what would you do? Leave it alone? Rack onto a yeast cake to try and re-start the yeast to get a few more points off? Stop caring?

I know it will probably be ok just like this, the residual sugar isn't gross or anything - but it feels like a bit of a mutt. Too high abv for an American Stout and a bit too low for what I want in an Imperial.

Thanks in advance!

edit: some more info: my mash temp was 151°F, for anyone who'd be curious

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Old 09-01-2011, 08:44 PM   #2
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Your attenuation level is in line with that particular strain of yeast. I'd say its probably done.

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Old 09-01-2011, 08:51 PM   #3
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Are you trying to enter it in a competition? If not, who cares which style it fits in?

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Old 09-01-2011, 08:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ayoungrad View Post
Are you trying to enter it in a competition? If not, who cares which style it fits in?
Well, I do.

To be honest, I'm not sure whether I'll enter it into a competition - who knows what my attitude towards that will be in a few months. But I don't think that matters. To me, brewing to style is important. I'm not one of those throw ingredients together and as long as it gets you drunk, it's a success, type of brewers (not saying you are).

This is also one of my favorite styles of beer, so I don't want it to just be "good enough" and drink it knowing that I could have done something to make it a better beer. I'm all for the RDWHAHB attitude, but to me - brewing to a particular style and doing it successfully is important.

Thanks for your reply.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:59 PM   #5
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Your attenuation level is in line with that particular strain of yeast. I'd say its probably done.
Well I'll be damned... just checked Wyeast's site and you're absolutely right. 69-73% is normal. I should have checked that myself first, my mistake.

Thanks!
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:27 PM   #6
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but to me - brewing to a particular style and doing it successfully is important"
I hear you. I brew to style and sometimes (on purpose) go way off the mark to achieve a particular result. So either way I brew with specific goals in mind. But, (as you alluded to) 8% and 1.022 is within style anyway. So congrats on your imperial stout.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:42 PM   #7
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And I think part of it is that I'm used to seeing imperial stouts with higher abvs. I just had it in my head that it would be in the 9-10 range.

Now that I see that about the yeast, I'm thinking that even if you got extraordinary mash efficiency from the grains NB provided, and as much attenuation from the yeast as possible, it would still probably only be in the low-mid range for the style.

My mind is at ease. I think I'm gonna keg it and crack it around New Years.

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Old 09-01-2011, 09:44 PM   #8
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I brew to style and sometimes (on purpose) go way off the mark to achieve a particular result.
Well hey, I mean that's how new styles get created, right? Then people like me can look at your experiment as gospel and try to copy it, heh.
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