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Old 11-29-2013, 03:10 PM   #1
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Default High Gravity Stout Questions


This is my first post. A friend of mine recommended this site when I asked him some questions about a beer that I am looking to make. I am relatively new to brewing. I am a big fan of Dark beers (the darker the better) and really hoppy beers. Until recently I have only brewed kits, figured that was a safe way to learn brewing practices and still come out with good results. however, I have always thought of using someone else's recipe as plagiarism as opposed to actually doing it yourself. This had lead me to the development of this current idea which I am having trouble putting the final touches on. I freely admit my imagination and experience are worlds apart.

As far as the recipe goes its still in the idea phase. But, the main idea is; Dark as possible and thick, Hop levels around what you'd get from an imperial IPA, and an ABV above 15%. ~ and just for fun i would like to caffeinate it (if possible).

I love just about any Stout I can get my hands on, but my favorite has to be Guinness. so as a result I am really trying to find that Irish Stout flavor profile and feel. but would like to add to the complexity imparting more coffee, chocolate and caramel flavors. I have a fairly good handle on Irish stout recipes but, hoped that someone might have some suggestions on how to accentuate these added flavors? Was thinking about using cocoa nibs kind of like dry hopping. I know the character of the grain bill will have much more of an impact on that (so suggestions are welcome). Some other things i would appreciate some input on is bittering and aroma hops. I have heard of using Irish peat moss for stouts but, not sure where and how use it

The part that has really got me stumped however is achieving the high SG without killing the flavor profile. my thoughts were to use molasses or Belgium candy sugars to increase the amount of fermentable sugars. Or, maybe adding Oatmeal, Wheat, or flaked rice along the way.

Thanks in advance

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Old 11-29-2013, 03:54 PM   #2
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I would suggest looking into Russian imperial stouts. As far as coffee flavor a pound of fresh ground coffee soaked overnight in the fridge then poured through a filter into your bottling bucket. Others may have better ideas.

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Old 11-30-2013, 07:02 PM   #3
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I would back off on the 15% abv. Maybe go for something a little easier to achieve, like 8 or 9%. It's still tricky to get a beer to that level, but definitely much, much easier that 15%. It can be done, for sure, but there are plenty of great homebrewers with a lot of experience who couldn't pull off a 15% beer that tasted good, anyway.
For the coffee, a great method is just to cold brew the grounds for a few weeks and then add to the bottling bucket. You can also soak in vodka, but cold brew water is fine too. just boil the water and let it cool first, then add the grounds. chocolate can be soaked in vodka and then added into the bottling bucket as well. that way, you can taste the flavors and add more as you see fit, rather than going in blind.
oats are a great bet for stouts if you want that creamy, thick mouthfeel. it seems to do the trick, but I would definitely suggest a full volume boil. Adding water afterwards, in my experience, gives a thin taste to the beer, no matter how thick you try to make it. for 5 gallons, add a pound or two.
The dry irish flavor has mostly to do with the yeast you use. Irish ale yeast is great for that. For a different taste that's more American, but will still yield a dry flavor, you can use California Ale yeast. If you can find it, White Labs also does a Super San Diego Yeast which has the same flavor profile as the california yeast, but it more suited to big beers like the one you are talking about.
Overall, a beer this big takes a lot of work and care, and if it's going to be drinkable at all, I think some experience is definitely necessary. I would say that you should work your way up to 15% abv. Start with 7-8, then on to 9-10 and so one. And try some kits using those flavor extraction methods.
Whatever you do, Godspeed!

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Old 12-01-2013, 03:21 AM   #4
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Google cold brew coffee. Make some and add it to the bottling bucket "TO TASTE". Meaning add a little at a time mixing gently not to introduce O2. I use 1 cup in 2 gallons. And I agree that you should work w/an Imperial Stout until you have it down pat before going for a 15% brew. I just did one that came out w/9.1% ABV.


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