Anyone have a favorite (extract-based) imperial stout recipe?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Was going to bottle today, but my hydrometer reading has gone down to 1.016
You seem to be rushing this. It's not clear to me when you actually brewed this beer, but on the 25th you were still talking about plans for steeping grains. So this beer is at best not quite two weeks old. Is that right? This is a big beer. You were advised, correctly I believe, to not do a secondary. This does not mean you need to rush the bottling. You need to figure at least three weeks. I'd suggest four. This is a big beer. The last drop in the gravity reading could just be stuff dropping out of suspension. Be patient, my friend. :mug:

edit: reading back, I see that the brew day was the 23rd, but I'll let my post be.
 
Last edited:
You need to figure at least three weeks. I'd suggest four. This is a big beer. The last drop in the gravity reading could just be stuff dropping out of suspension. Be patient, my friend. :mug:
Thanks DB, I appreciate the advice. I'll give it four weeks, and keep this is mind for next time I attempt an imperial.
 
So I just finally cracked a bottle of my RIS (post #20 in this thread). I know I screwed up my priming sugar, but had no idea just how badly I'd screwed it up...

I filled 28 bottles, and didn't thoroughly mix the priming sugar into the beer before I started filling bottles. I figured for sure the first bottles would be pretty flat, but that the last 4-pack would be great, maybe even over-carbed. Anyways, I just cracked a bottle from the final 4 bottled beers, and it's completely flat.
Poured it into a glass anyways, and it actually tastes quite good! Disappointingly FLAT, of course, but reminds me of a good barley wine.

Is there any hope of rescuing these with some carbonation? (I don't have CO2 tanks or anything like that). Brewing software suggests that a 12 oz bottle at 68F needs 0.66 tsp (0.1 oz) of table sugar. Do I dare crack open each bottle, and if there's no "pop" at all, go ahead and add that much sugar, recap, and put back into the closet for a couple weeks?
 
Last edited:
If the beer is carbed at all and you try to add straight sugar to the bottle, it will start foaming a LOT really fast. You could try dissolving the sugar in water and chilling. That may allow you to add and re-cap. (I've done it before). But it is tough to predict if your yeast will still work (I don't remember your abv or if you chilled the beer yet). Anyway, this may not make your beer any better, could make it worse. But if you want to give it a try, there is a chance it will work (I'll optimistically give it 40% chance of working).
 
Last edited:
So I went ahead and opened up every last bottle. Maybe two bottles emitted the tiniest "pshht" of air. Added 0.1 oz table sugar to each, and recapped.
As a precaution, I've put my thick leather gloves on top of the box. Plan is to leave them for two weeks, and then open another one (while wearing the thick leather gloves). If it's normally carbed, great! If it's super foamy, I'll gently place them in fridge and keep them as cold as possible. And if they are still not carbed, the only other thing I can think of is that the Nottingham yeast just doesn't want to make any more alcohol -- tho the beer is at 10.3 -ish % ABV.
 
Nottingham can go to at least 14%. So no worries there. If you got the sugar add and bottles recapped, you should be fine.

I use my own shorthand system for sugar & carbing (and admittedly overcarb my beer), but I think your .1 oz is about half what I add to 12 oz bottles.
 
What's weird is I used the same priming calculator I've used for all my other batches, and this flat RIS has been sitting right next to a chocolate porter I recently bottled (10 days ago? something like that), and the porter is carbonated -- so it's not too cold. Maybe I screwed up my "tare weight" setting on my scale when I was bottling the RIS -- I certainly screwed up everything else that day!
 
What's weird is I used the same priming calculator I've used for all my other batches, and this flat RIS has been sitting right next to a chocolate porter I recently bottled (10 days ago? something like that), and the porter is carbonated -- so it's not too cold. Maybe I screwed up my "tare weight" setting on my scale when I was bottling the RIS -- I certainly screwed up everything else that day!
Especially for big (high ABV) beers such as a RIS, it's recommended to add some fresh, high alcohol tolerant (12%+) yeast to your batch along with your priming sugar. It's possible the yeast with which you fermented your batch is suffering from alcohol poisoning. ;)

CBC-1 is a special yeast, meant for Cask/Bottling/Conditioning.
Margin note: CBC-1 is also known as a "killer yeast." But it doesn't matter for that final use, you won't be pitching anything after that anyway.
 
Especially for big (high ABV) beers such as a RIS, it's recommended to add some fresh, high alcohol tolerant (12%+) yeast to your batch along with your priming sugar.
When I bottle condition my small batch barley wines (~10%), I use CBC-1 (roughly 1/10th gram per bottle) with good results on every bottle.
 
When I bottle condition my small batch barley wines (~10%), I use CBC-1 (roughly 1/10th gram per bottle) with good results on every bottle.
Do you add 1/10th gram CBC-1 to each bottle, or add the amount needed for ALL bottles to your priming solution for the whole batch? If you add to each bottle, how do you measure such a small amount?
 
Do you add 1/10th gram CBC-1 to each bottle, or add the amount needed for ALL bottles to your priming solution for the whole batch? If you add to each bottle, how do you measure such a small amount?
It's 1/10 gram for each bottle. Jewelry scales have a 20g max weight and a 0.001g precision.
 
Just cracked a bottle (after re-sugaring, re-capping, and setting in a 70F room 2.5 weeks ago): zero fizz. Tastes like a mellow, overly sweet, completely flat, boozy barley wine. Seems the Nottingham yeast never sprung back to life after re-priming and re-bottling. I've got 23 bottles left, but I think it's time to cut my losses, and not try any further intervention on this one. :(
 
Crazy. It must be the Nottingham is done (no small feat). Since this thread started, I brewed a RIS and am using Nottingham. So I will be curious where it ends up (probably half way done, just eyeballing it). But I will be force carbing. But I've brewed a lot of 11%+ stouts with Nottingham and MG New World Strong Ale, and didn't have a problem.
 
carbonation
I'm working on a keg of chocolate stout right now, that used nibs. Not sure if it was because of the nibs or not but there's like 0 head on the beer. At first I thought it hadn't carbonated and that was practically impossible. I ended up realizing that it was just tough to have that head, to see the obvious evidence of carbonation. It tasted sort of flat too - mostly because it was so rich. But if I shoot from the keg into a glass at any distance and let it really splash I get a ton of foam though only for a short time.

I guess I'm trying to say - you can be fooled on the carbonation. Pour a glass from like a foot up and see if it doesn't foam. If not then sure it's indeed flat. If it foams it may be carbonated just have really bad head retention?
 
I'm working on a keg of chocolate stout right now, that used nibs. Not sure if it was because of the nibs or not but there's like 0 head on the beer.

Nibs contain a ridiculous amount of fat, which is a foam killer. While I slightly prefer the flavor of nibs over cocoa powder, I usually use powder instead of nibs, because it has relatively little fat.
 
I guess I'm trying to say - you can be fooled on the carbonation. Pour a glass from like a foot up and see if it doesn't foam. If not then sure it's indeed flat. If it foams it may be carbonated just have really bad head retention?
Fair point! I did a fairly rough pour into the glass, and there was nuthin'. It also seemed noticeably sweeter than before I re-primed and re-bottled. I wish I'd taken a gravity reading before dumping the rest of that bottle -- would that be worthwhile at this point? Or should I just leave it be until next autumn?
 
... that doesn't need 6+ months to age out? Altho, if it DOES need to age 6+ months, I can do that too, I suppose.

I'm thinking of attempting the following next friday (when my ferment bucket should be freed up, and it will have a nice juicy US-05 yeast-cake from a simple, 5% Amber Ale):

[3 gallons into the fermenter]

[45%] 3 lbs Briess Golden Light DME
[45%] 3 lbs Briess Sparkling Amber DME
[6%] 6 oz Bairds Roasted Barley 550L
[3%] 3 oz Briess Caramel 120L
[2%] 2 oz Briess Chocolate 350L

.6 oz Magnum @ 45 minutes (33 IBU)
.7 oz Willamette @ 30 minutes (12 IBU)
1 oz Kent Goldings @ 20 minutes (15 IBU)

Software predictions -- OG: 1.090, FG:1.018, ABV: 10.3%, IBU: 60, BU/GU: 0.66, Color: 37 SRM

Other dark roasts I have available for substitutions are:
Fawcett Dark Crystal
Briess Black Malt
Briess Midnight Wheat

Other hops I have on hand are: 2 oz Perle, 2 oz Cascade
Other yeasts I have are: S-04, and Nottingham

(And if you've been following any of my misadventure posts, I now have a good way to mill my specialty grains, no more hammers, cuz that was awful!)
Noob question: do the grains being used have to be crushed before adding to the boiling water?
 
Crushed so you can get to the starches inside. Steeped in hot water (i.e. 160 as mentioned) to convert those starches to sugars. Do not boil the grain! You'll get unwanted flavors form them.

But...steeping grains don't have much unconverted starches, or (in the absence of a base malt) the enzymes to convert them. So it's really (mostly) color, flavor, proteins, and already converted/transformed carbs that are extracted.
 
I'm trying to make a gluten free stout.

You might want to ask your questions on the Gluten Free Brewing subforum. The recipe being discussed in this thread is definitely not gluten free. And the Gluten Free crowd will be much more knowledgeable about their ingredients and processes.
 
But...steeping grains don't have much unconverted starches, or (in the absence of a base malt) the enzymes to convert them. So it's really (mostly) color, flavor, proteins, and already converted/transformed carbs that are extracted.

True, of course. Didn't notice the specific subforum. Was speaking too generically.
 
I have a 7% stout recipe called Rhinestone Carboy, in both AG and extract versions. It started out as a riff on Mustache Envy and evolved over many batches to where it is today. I'm biased, but IMHO it's the best beer I've ever brewed. Use the search function.
 
https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/1301406/rhinestone-carboy-3-mini-mash
@Jayjay1976, I gotta say your idea of having Ritebrew measure out all the specialty grain is genius! Once I stop changing my recipes so much, I'm definitely going to do the same!
Hey thanks, I just assumed they sell by the oz for exactly that purpose. My contribution was ordering only the specialty grains to save on shipping, and use base malt I already have on hand. Also makes it easy to order several "short kits" at a time, leaving out all the bulk.
 
@Jayjay1976, I gotta say your idea of having Ritebrew measure out all the specialty grain is genius! Once I stop changing my recipes so much, I'm definitely going to do the same!

It's convenient to have someone else measure your grains, and Ritebrew may be perfect at doing that. (I don't know...I've never used Ritebrew.) But my experience with some other online brewing stores who sell by the ounce (and by the pound) is that they are sometimes pretty sloppy. For that reason, I'd never order a premixed bag of grains.
 
It's convenient to have someone else measure your grains, and Ritebrew may be perfect at doing that. (I don't know...I've never used Ritebrew.) But my experience with some other online brewing stores who sell by the ounce (and by the pound) is that they are sometimes pretty sloppy. For that reason, I'd never order a premixed bag of grains.
I've had consistently good results with the 8 or so short kits of this recipe I've ordered from Ritebrew. YMMV.
 
Back
Top