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Old 03-11-2013, 05:08 PM   #1
doodoobutter
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Default Need advice for massive beer

My friend down the street and I are going to join forces and mashtuns to do this project, and I'd like some advice on the recipe with such a high gravity beer, and how to make it as fermentable as possible to avoid extreme sweetness. I know we could just use dme, but then there's no challenge, plus grain is cheaper. Here is what we are doing, it may seem nuts but we want a strong beer ready for next winter.

15 to 20 pounds of grain per mash tun (were using 2 mash tuns). I think we should mash at like 145F to keep it from getting sweet, and maybe for like 1.5 to 2.0 hours. Then we will partigyle both of them. We will get 3 gallons of first runnings from each mash and combine them for the first beer. Then batch sparge each twice and combine them to get another 6 gallons for the second beer.

I'm thinking I will brew a pale ale about 3 days prior to the big brewday, with super high gravity yeast or something like that. Then on the big brewday, I'll secondary the pale ale early while it's at peak fermentation and use the sludge of high gravity yeast at the bottom for the super stout. The massive starter this is going to call for makes me realize I may as well just brew a beer for it.

Possible vague recipe:

30 to 40 lbs of grain including specialty grains
3 - 4 lb roasted barley
3 lb chocolate malt
special b malt or crystal 120 (may skip because of sweetness)
Possibly replace some 2 row with candy sugar after initial fermentation to dry it out

like a ton of warrior at boil (how much?)
like a ton of goldings, east kent at 30 min (how much?)
mash at 145 (is this too low, will it even work?) Maybe mash just before bed and start right when I wake up?



So here are some questions.

1) I know it's going to be sweet, but I don't want it to be unbearable. I like a world wide stout once in a while, so how does dfh keep it drinkable?

2) Aeration before fermentation. I don't even...

3) any other advice would be appreciated before we buy an entire bag of 2 row for one brew session. It's going to be a stout so I need specialty grains, but at the same time I'm trying to avoid adding more sweetness on top of what the 2 row is going to add.

tl;dr I like turtles

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:35 PM   #2
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A couple random thoughts:

- If you really wanna go nuts, scale up to two 3.5- or 4-gallon first runnings, and boil longer to achieve five gallons of even-higher-gravity wort post-boil.
- Too much dark malt! You probably want the total of chocolate and roasted barley to be about the same as what it would be in a normal stout. If anything, maybe even a little less, since you'll only be taking the most potent first runnings -- certainly not double!
- Good thought to mash low; start out around 148, 150, you'll be down to 145 after 90-120 minutes of mashing anyway.
- I don't have the experience to know whether the general advice to aerate (or hit with pure O2) high-gravity worts applies when you're pitching on an active cake, but, I'd err on the side of caution, I suppose...

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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For big beers, I hit it with oxygen twice; once when pitching, and then again about 18 hours later. The second dose of o2 will allow another growth phase, to make sure you have LOTS of yeast.

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:47 PM   #4
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Thanks. The reason I went with that amount is because I'm basing this off of my normal ris recipe that tastes perfect. 18 lbs of 2 row with 1.5lb roasted barley and 1lb of chocolate malt. Whenever I take one of my lighter recipes and attempt an imperial I double everything and go 200% more hops, and this method usually works out great.

But maybe it won't work out for an "russian imperial imperial stout".

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
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I currently don't have an o2 bottle but I'm considering it. Even with my ris recipe I get by just fine by siphoning through a sanitized strainer into the fermenter and then shaking it. I don't think this will work for this beer.

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodoobutter View Post
Thanks. The reason I went with that amount is because I'm basing this off of my normal ris recipe that tastes perfect. 18 lbs of 2 row with 1.5lb roasted barley and 1lb of chocolate malt. Whenever I take one of my lighter recipes and attempt an imperial I double everything and go 200% more hops, and this method usually works out great.

But maybe it won't work out for an "russian imperial imperial stout".
I think the point was that because you will only be taking the first runnings, your wort will end up considerably darker than for a normal beer. I know my first runnings are considerably darker than my sparge runnings. You can pull back on the dark roast.

As for mash temp, I am pretty sure that Palmer reports that 149 degree mash temps result in the most highly fermentable wort. So, this should be your goal.

Your biggest issue will making sure that you pitch enough yeast and that the yeast can handle the high alcohol you will have at the end of the fermentation. I will defer to others on the best way to take care of that.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:37 PM   #7
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your plan should work*, but a suggestion: don't start with the 099 yeast, it's flavor isn't particularly interesting. instead i'd make your high-gravity wort and pitch a good amount of a more classic yeast (london ale, irish ale, cal ale, etc), aerate a bunch, let that do its thing for about 5 days, then pitch a small active batch of 099 into it. pitch the whole thing, beer and all, not just the cake. the concept of an active starter is to pitch the whole thing since so many of the active cells are in suspension.

*pure O2 is almost a prerequisite if you want a huge (>1.100) beer to attenuate decently.

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Old 03-11-2013, 07:39 PM   #8
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Thank you. I have to go to work, but I have some more ideas to help this happen, I'll get back later.

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Old 03-12-2013, 02:20 AM   #9
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Ok I've been doing some research on this quite a bit. It looks like the best way to go about this is to only start with a gallon of wort with cali yeast. Put the rest of the wort in one quart ball jars. After fermentation slows down, add a couple quarts, repeat until theyre gone, then add the candy sugar. At some point the cali yeast will poop out, and I'll add the super high gravity yeast to keep it going.

The part that I'm not sure about is sterilizing the jars. Can I stick them in water and bring them to a boil? **edit: with wort inside the jars. Assuming the glass doesn't shatter, they should be sterile and can be kept at room temperature.

Anything seem wrong with all of this?

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Old 03-12-2013, 03:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodoobutter View Post
The part that I'm not sure about is sterilizing the jars. Can I stick them in water and bring them to a boil? **edit: with wort inside the jars. Assuming the glass doesn't shatter, they should be sterile and can be kept at room temperature.
you are about to do the same thing as fruit canning! how to can:

have two pots boiling: one with the wort, the other with just water. as the wort is nearing the end of its boil, put the jars in in the boiling water pot (or as many as will fit) and let them sit in there for a few minutes to sterilize. using tongs (canning tongs are awesome) pull out a jar and fill it with hot wort almost to the top (use a ladle). sanitize the lid by boiling it for a minute (don't boil it for as long as the glass), and drop it on top of the almost-full jar of wort. the magnet-on-a-stick thingy in that canning kit is a godsend for pulling this off. screw on the lid rim, then immerse the newly sealed jar into the pot of boiling water. leave it there for 10 mins, then remove using the canning tongs again and let it cool. if you couldn't fit enough jars in the boiling water to get everything canned in one go, do a second round of canning. turn the flame off the wort and put a lid on it, it will stay hot enough to remain sterile.

the glass from the jars won't shatter, as long as you subject them to big temp swings.
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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table. Looking for cheap honey?

Drinking: galaxy/conan IPA, a farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend
Aging: imperial chocolate stout, sour cherry mead, rye sour ECY20/ECY34 split, oud bruin & a few other sours, acerglyn, a BDSA
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