In honor of MASTODON'S upcoming release, CRACK THE SKYE, which is a prog-metal concept album about Czarist Russia, time-travel, spiritual divinations, and other awesome things, I'm planning on brewing an enormous, black-as-a-Russian-night Imperial Stout. I'm going to use coffee in the recipe, as I frequent the two award-winning coffee places that do their own roasting in my area (Sacramento).
This beer is going to be highly alcoholic, muddy in the way that North Coast's Rasputin Imperial Stout is, gonna' have rich chocolate / burnt flavors, a good hit of coffee flavor and caffeine like the infusion of spiritual energy from planes of demon-existence, and with a nice punch of bitterness that hits you like an ice-cold blast of wind from across the Siberian Divide.
I'm gonna' do a mini-mash; planning on using around 6-8 pounds of grains, probably 4# American 2-Row for a base, along with certain amounts of Black Patent, Chocolate, Rauchmalt, and oak chips in secondary. Finish off the recipe with 4-7# of light DME. Here's the reasoning behind the ingredient selection:
- 2-Row / Simple diastic power to convert all of the other stuff going on.
- Black Patent / I know this is a porter staple, but I don't like porters, and all of the stouts that I've made with it turn out better than the ones where I don't. I don't much like Black Roast Barley. Probably do between 1/2# and 1#.
- Chocolate / Rounded chocolate flavor, add some body. Probably do 1-2#.
- Rauchmalt / To give it some smoke, like the smoke that arises from the scorched remains of a demon-fire-blasted battlefield. 1/4#-1/2#.
- Oak chips / Ancient shamanistic oak to give it that kick of arcane magics. I'll use them in secondary, how much though?
- Coffee / A certain amount of coarse-ground gourmet coffee... I don't know how much to use, though. I want this to be a thick, authentic STOUT beer, but with definitely noticeable coffee taste / aroma and hopefully some caffeine effect. I DO NOT WANT one of those beers that tastes primarily like brewed-coffee with alcohol in it. I imagine it is a fine balance of quantity and method of use; if anyone has any advice on how much coffee to use and how to use it, please let me know!
OPTIONS I'M THINKING ABOUT
- Belgian Special B (For some dried-fruit flavor?)
- Oats (Should I use this for some more body, or is there a better option?)
- Honey Malt (To get some toastyness and sweetness)
- Crystal (Should I use some Crystal? I just don't know if it's needed or not)
- What yeast? I'm gonna' aim for 1.090+ OG. I like WLP but not sure which one to use; the more character the better.
- I'm aiming for 50-75 IBU, what type of hops would be good?
- How much coffee and how to use it?
- Malt selection? Any suggestions? I want this brew to be BLACK through-and-through, but I don't want any particular flavor to overpower the others (IE, not too much burnt from Black Patent, not too much chocolate, not too much coffee, but plenty of BLACK AS OIL COLOR).
- Any suggestions to make this brew as unique and prog-metal as possible?