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Old 06-15-2009, 01:20 AM   #1
land_shark
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Default Tweaking Brewer's Best Russian Imperial Stout kit

This is my second attempt at making the RIS kit from Brewer's Best. I brewed it true-to-recipe the first time, but have recently been intrigued by other massive Russian Imperials and thought I'd attempt a few tweaks to see what I can come up with.

Just put this in the primary (* is what I added):

6.6lb Dark LME
2lb Dark DME
8oz Crushed Roasted Barley
8oz Crushed Black Patent
1lb Crushed Crystal 60L
*8oz Briess 2 row pale malt
*8oz flaked oats
*8oz molasses
*2 shots of espresso <- Left the coffee out
*2 vanilla beans
*1/2 cup burbon

1oz Columbus Hops (bittering)

OG: 1.080

Mashed the Briess and oats in 1.3 L of water at 154F for 60 min. I had a hard time keeping the temperature with this. Mashed in a pot, wrapped it in towels and put it in a cooler. Took it out and heated it up when the probe indicated less than 150F. Filtered the resulting liquor through cheese cloth, set aside until I finished steeping the included specialty grains. The lovely stuff from the mash was VERY opaque and viscous. Delicious, very sweet.

I added the molasses with 10 minutes left in the boil.

Chilled to 75, poured the wort through a strainer a couple times to remove the hot break and to aerate.

If the bucket doesn't completely explode, I'm going to leave it on the primary for 5-7 days. I'm planning on splitting/scraping the vanilla beans and soaking in burbon for at least a day before adding them to the beer when transferring to secondary, along with the espresso. I was thinking about making sure the vanilla beans stay in contact with the beer (and out of the yeast cake) by dangling them from the stopper with fishing line....seem like an ok thing to do?

I plan on leaving it in the secondary anywhere between 2-4 weeks, then bottling and making an honest attempt at keeping them unopened until Xmas (6mos.)!

I'm hoping to get some nice silky mouth-feel from the oats, and enough coffee/vanilla/molasses to add some complexity to the taste. BTW, the reason I mashed the oats with the 2-row is because oats don't contain the amylase needed to break down the starches to get the most out of their fermentability. I don't want any of the additions to overpower the original flavor profile..(this is my second time brewing this kit) I'm not so sure about the molasses, hope I didn't add too much.




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Old 06-15-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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If it was me....
I would leave this in primary for one month, move to secondary and add the vanilla (dangling them is fine by me) for 2 weeks, pull the vanilla beans and add the bourbon and age another 2 weeks, then bottle. I see you only have one primary so a month might tie up your brewing for too long so I would say leave in primary at least 2 weeks if you are wanting to get to some other brews. A longer stay in the primary allows the yeast to clean up a bit. Be warned though, you are throwing a lot of new flavor elements at this, not that it concerns me much, but others have commented how doing too much at one time to a proven brew can mess it up. Having said that I would up the bourbon to a full cup .

Also, I would recommend trying a sample, say the Sun before Labor Day, at maybe the Iowa Beer Fest in Amana. I can bring the Golden EIB (Excellence In Brewing) bottle opener! But really, good luck with this and I hope it turns out great.


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Old 06-15-2009, 02:02 PM   #3
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Ah, Iowa Beerfest!? I'm going to be out of town that weekend, didn't know it was going on! Maybe I'll have to hang on to a bottle and bring it to 2010

I've always been paranoid that I haven't removed enough of the hot break to leave things sit on the primary that long. (I dumped the entire boil in the fermenter on my first too brews...which I attribute to them ending up being really bitter....they were not good). You've convinced me, though. I do have another bucket and carboy, so this won't put an end to my brewing! 1 month on the primary, and I think I'm going to forgo the coffee this time...try to enjoy the oatmeal-y vanilla-y goodness.

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Old 06-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
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Default update - racked to secondary

I racked the beer to a glass secondary last night. Here are a few notes:

I don't know much about fermenting temps, but I thought it might be better if I moved the fermenter to the cooler basement after the primary action slowed down. I previously had it upstairs in a closet at about 75F. The yeast I'm using is the Nottingham ale yeast that came with the kit, which I understand works quite well at lower temps.

Specific gravity before racking: 1.020

I split/scraped a couple vanilla beans and put them in a ball jar with 1 cup (as opposed to 1/2, thanks Brewmando ) of bourbon. I didn't want to buy a new bottle of something decent, so I used some Jim Beam that I had in the liquor cabinet. I had exactly 8 oz left, so I went with it! The resulting infusion after 4 days was VERY dark, and smelled delicious.

I poured the burbon/beans/scrapings into the carboy, and racked accordingly. Took a taste of the pre-bourbonized beer, and it's fantastic. There is a slight alcohol burn right after sipping, but dissipates quickly. All the while I get a very round, velvety mouthfeel (moreso than in my first batch) which I attribute to the addition of the oats. Good coffee and chocolate notes, a few levels of sweetness, and a bit of a bitter hoppy punch at the end to even things out and keep me wanting more. The color isn't much different from my first batch, as far as I can see. Nearly opaque, and quite dark although has a reddish, rusty tint around the edges.

...then, I tasted the beer after adding the bourbon...

Hubba!! It has already taken on a flavor of oak, and could quite possibly fool someone into thinking it's been sitting in bourbon barrels. The added alcohol and vanilla aromatics bring out a much more complicated flavor than the sum of the beer's parts. It's spicy, creamy, toasty, and amazingly deep considering how young it is!

I would love to save this stuff as long as I can, but I am excited to taste it from time to time to experience the flavor changes along the way. I've collected a fairly large number of pint bottles, but I think I'm going to stick with 12oz when I bottle in 2-3 weeks. I imagine it's going to be far from a session beer....


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Old 06-29-2009, 05:11 PM   #5
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Good to hear!! Do a few in the pint bottles to hold back and share with friends.
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:51 AM   #6
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hey land shark,

i used your recipe and will be bottling tomorrow...quick question, if i'm using extra light DME, how many oz should i use?

thanks for the help!
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatty_matty View Post
hey land shark,

i used your recipe and will be bottling tomorrow...quick question, if i'm using extra light DME, how many oz should i use?

thanks for the help!
I've never bottled with DME, but I 'think' it's 1.5 cups per 5 gallons. I'd check around, especially when considering the amount of fermentable sugar you are working with in a bigger beer. You need to make sure fermentation has run to completion so you don't get bottle bombs.

good luck, let me know how it turns out
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:47 PM   #8
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I just tweaked this same kit.

I added 1oz of chinook at 30 mins, plus I added 3.3lbs of lme, steeped 8oz flaked rye and 4oz malted rye and switched the yeast to white labs california ale yeast. OG came in at 1.100. I'm gonna dry hop it w/ another oz of chinook.

Made a 2ltr starter w/ the yeast. This morning I went in to give it a stir to get it going and the damn thing swelled up over the top of the ale pail! IT'S ALIVE!!!

This is only my 6th batch, and I really have no idea what I'm doing, but I was going for something along the lines of a great divide yeti, (not a clone of course, but just something similar).

It smells amazing right now. I'll probably wait till I move it to secondary, then add the dry hops. Then give it a few weeks and siphon it off of em to keep it clean and clear, (well not really clear....).

I'll let you guys know how it turns out.
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Old 01-28-2011, 05:15 AM   #9
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I brewed this same kit a week and a half ago with no modifications (yet) and the standard S-04 yeast (properly rehydrated). I got a HUUUUGE blowoff through the blowoff tube for a good 4 days after pitching, then switched to airlock, which is still bubbling every 10 seconds or so. I haven't checked the gravity yet -- I'll probably leave it another week or so and maybe make up a vanilla bourbon addition to add when I open it up for the gravity reading. I plan to let it sit in the primary for at least a few more weeks (still waffling on buying a 5 gal better bottle as a secondary, if I do I might rack it), then into bottles for several months. Excited to drink it in the fall; maybe sneak one or two over the summer, though.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:41 AM   #10
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Dude talk about that blowoff. I've brewed 5 kits before this, and all but 1 I just used the dry yeast, (sprinkled it on top). Then I brewed an Orval clone from the local homebrewing store in Birmingham with white labs liquid yeast, (just shook it up and poured it in).

None of those really had anything like what I saw w/ this latest one. I used the white labs liquid yeast, but the day before make a starter w/ 2 pints of water and 1/2 cup dme, let it sit overnight, swirled it really good then dumped it into the bucket.

Put the lid on and things were quiet, woke up the next morning, walked in there and thought, "I've read that w/ the gravity so high, I should give it a stir after a day to get the yeast going", so I got the stirring thing and gave it a whirl.

Within like 3 seconds it foamed so hard it came over the top of the ale pail bucket and I had to pick the whole thing up and sit it on a towel. I'd say I lost about 2-3 pints of foamy liquid off the top. waited like 20 minutes for the foam to get where I could put the lid back on, and now the thing is bubbling so hard and fast that it's like clicking loud in my kitchen over there.

I will say that it smelled delicious.


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