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Aging of Imperial Stout

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cactusgarrett

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Four weeks ago i brewed up an Imperial Stout. I'm questioning how much aging in the primary/secondary is really necessary.

The OG started around what i expected. When i checked the grav yesterday i was surprised to find 1.013 (85% atten. with WY1056). I had bought some Nottingham dry and was going to start up some runnings and pitch after a couple days to get the gravity down further, but that was when i was half-expecting a stuck fermentation around 1.030.

I mashed at 152F, pitched the original 5gal on top of a previous cake, and actually used 1lb of DME and 1lb of corn sugar in the boil, so that's why i wasn't too shocked to find the grav that low (OG = 1.092 & FG = 1.013).

When i tasted the hydrometer sample, it was great. 10.5% abv, but i don't get any strong/harsh alcohol tastes/smells. Long story short, would aging longer or incorporating a secondary be beneficial? I was actually planning on a good 1.5 to 2 months just to get the grav down, so now i'm contemplating kegging and pressurize soon.

Any thoughts?
 

jagg

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The only time I did a RIS I did 3 weeks in primary 2 weeks in secondary, after I bottled it I let it age in bottles for 6 weeks before I tried it, it was a bit harsh, aftet 6 months in the cellar they started getting good, and at 8 months they were wonderful, its your call though, good luck and cheers, :mug:
 

videoman

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Agree with Jagg... with the high OG beers, they seem to ferment on a similar schedule as lower OG ales, but the taste profile takes alot longer to mature.

I did a Scottish Wee Heavy that was drinkable after 8 weeks in the bottle, was perfect at 12. Time in a bottle (hmmmm catchy phrase; maybe I'll write a song!) is critical... more time the better.
 

david_42

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Should be drinkable in a few months, but if there is any left in a year, you'll be kicking yourself for not waiting for it to mature.
 

discgolfin

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Ditto on letting it mature long..I waited 4 weeks in primary and another 6 weeks in secondary. I tasted one last week after another 3 months in bottle and man it was tasty..but I only think of what the potential will be in another 6 months..

Do you plan to keg and than bottle? or keg and drink?

if keg and drink I would wait as long as possible to keg to insure you don't drink it all before it becomes the beer it was inteded on being..

side note...was this all grain? and what did you mash at becasue that seems low for FG of such a big beer?



Jay
 

Cugel

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but if there is any left in a year, you'll be kicking yourself for not waiting for it to mature.
I think the trick to ensure that you still have a substantial supply at 1 year is to bulk age the RIS in your carboy for 1 year. Then bottle and 6 weeks or so later you have a LOT of what should be a nice mellow drink on your hands.
 
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cactusgarrett

cactusgarrett

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Do you plan to keg and than bottle? or keg and drink?

side note...was this all grain? and what did you mash at becasue that seems low for FG of such a big beer?

Jay
Well, I didn't know what i was going to do. I don't care for bottling, so i was trying to avoid it. But i also didn't want one of my four corneys sitting around with zero throughput for a full year. For those reasons i dig Cugel's idea in letting it sit in the secondary for a long while. I've also heard bulk aging is best vs. bottles (differing volumes and what not).

Like i mentioned originally, technically it was a partial mash in that i added 1lb of DME and 1lb of corn sugar, but it was 14lbs of grain mashed at 152F. Given that, on top of pitching on top of a previous cake (the previous beer had 88% attenuation), i wasn't all that surprised it went down to 1.013. I know it's just "out of style", but it already tastes great, so i'm not sweating that aspect.

The fact that it tasted so good so soon threw me off, which led me to this line of questioning.
 

jds

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My 888 RIS had a very tasty hydrometer jar three weeks after brewing, when I moved it to a carboy for bulk aging. I kegged and force carbed it two weeks ago, so about five months after brewing. The difference was phenomenal. If you don't let it age, you're doing yourself a disservice.
 

Hoosierbrewer

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I have aged stouts a year and loved how they tasted. The flavors were just awsome. Some brewerd have Imperial Stouts that they age for 1-2 years. The heavier and higher alcohol level, the better a beer tastes with age similiar wine.
 

jds

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Damn right it is. I need to get it bottled up, 'cause it's awfully tempting in the keg.

I think I may be drinking AND brewing the 888 RIS again on August 8.
 

ameadrat

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I try to get my RIS to get my to 1090 to1100 and finish between 1025-1030. This gives me a great body on the finish with enough alcohol to age well over a year. i have also found that mashing at 160 helps me to finish in that range. at 1013 I would add lactrose
to drive up the body to the 1025 to 1030 range.
 

ameadrat

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side note I brew AG with heavy grain bills and no sugar additives except at bottling. I primarily brew RIS and Scotish wee heavy. All of which are two months in secondary and as long in the bottle as I can get them. Had a friends 3 year old and it was supurb.
1030 with the start of around 1100 is not stuck fermentation it is just right to age. It will fall some as it ages and carbonates in the bottle.
 
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