I recently entered my first competition hoping to get some feedback I can use to improve my beers. I didn't do very well, scoring only a 20, but also had reasonable expectations.
Looking at the sheets, it appears that technically everything was executed well, I missed on style more than anything. The main notes being that the aroma is absent, and there is no roast or hop bitterness, all of which are necessary for the category, 13F, Russian Imperial Stout.
I used an all-grain recipe for Great Divide Brewing's Yeti, from BYO
, and have found other online stores selling the same recipe as kits to within 1/4lb of base grain, so I have reason to expect that the recipe when all is done well is in fact an Imperial Stout. Additionally, Yeti is listed by BJCP as an example for the style.
Here is the recipe for reference:
5 gallon/19 L, all-grain; O.G. = 1.090; F.G. = 1.018; IBU = 75 SRM = 98 ABV = 9.3%
15.25 lbs (6.9 kg) American 2-row malt
1.0 lb (0.45 kg) crystal malt (120 °L)
12 oz. (0.34 kg) chocolate malt
12 oz. (0.34 kg) black patent malt
10 oz. (0.28 kg) roasted barley
8.0 oz. (0.23 kg) flaked wheat
8.0 oz. (0.23 kg) flaked rye
14.3 AAU Chinook hops (60 min) (1.1 oz./31 g of 13% alpha acids)
7.2 AAU Chinook hops (30 min) (0.55 oz./16 g of 13% alpha acids)
5.3 AAU Centennial hops (15 min) (0.50 oz./14 g of 10.5% alpha acids)
Irish Moss (15min)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Centennial hops (5 min)
Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) or White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast (3 qt./~3 L yeast starter)
0.75 cups corn sugar (for priming)
Step by Step:
Mash at 150 °F (66 °C). Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops as indicated above. Ferment at 70 °F (21 °C).
I didn't have a water report at the time, but have since ordered one. I assume they don't fluctuate too horribly. The only thing I did for this brew was add campden to deal with the chlorine
For my brewday, it was super cold, so I had to kick on the Direct fire mash tun more than once, and got some stratification of the bed. About 1/2 the time was spent at 150, but there was at least a portion where part of the bed was at least 156. My efficiency was slightly lower than usual, with my OG coming in at 1.083. I cooled it to around 65 in about 5 min, and pitched my yeast. I had made a 3 step 3L starter on a stirplate, 1L each step. Temperature controlled at 68 for 3 days, then bumped to 70 per the recipe and let it go for 7 days. After the 10 days, it was down to 1.024, read 3 days later and still there.
Racked to a secondary and let it sit for about a month and a half. I was under the impression this would help it age but this could be where I lost my hop bitterness. After the 6 weeks, I bottled with ~3oz of table sugar per Brewers Friend Calculators. It was a slow carb, but it finally started coming around after 8 or so weeks.
I am basically looking for hints/suggestions for what may have caused the aroma and bitterness to be absent, as well as the overall beer being muted. My thinking is that with my mash temps being high, I ended up with more unfermentables and that accounts for the high finishing gravity. My efficiency was low, accounting for the lower than expected OG, and those together meant a much lower ABV than expected. The lower OG made the overall brew lean toward the malt side, and it became more balanced than bitter. As I mentioned I didn't have the water report on this brew day, but from fiddling with Bru'n water, it looks like my pH may have been spot on magically, but if I were to shoot for a "Black Bitter" profile I'm obviously lacking significantly. Were the missing salts the issue? Any ideas?