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Mole Imperial Stout Questions

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uncleben113

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I'm currently brewing a Mole Imperial Stout and having a hard time figuring out when to add in my ancho chillis, cinnamon, and cocao nibs. Do I boil any of it? Secondary? I've seen people make tea with their peppers and dump in the juice. How long should I let these ingredients sit if I secondary? I'm lost if you can't tell.

Any help would be appreciated.


:mug:
 

biertourist

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Don't boil it.
Add in secondary.
Finer particles == faster extraction; toasting helps with spices and cocao nibs

Alternatively make an ethanol extract by putting everything in a bit of vodka and then adding to the beer to taste.



You'll hear many opinions to the contrary but you can learn the hard way over time, if you desire; I'll provide my justifications:

  • People commonly recommend that you boil to "avoid infection"-- Bah, Humbug! Boiling evolves off those flavor and aroma oils that you actually want in the first place and yeast will pull those precious, and expensive, flavor oils out of solution. You'll need to add more AND the yeast can actually convert some of the essential oils into other oils that don't provide the tastes that you might want.
  • If you add in secondary you'll already have pretty high alcohol and likely enough IBUs in an Imperial Stout to put a hurt on any whimpy wild bacteria and yeasts that might want to setup shop in your beer.
  • Again, you want to get those flavor oils and aromatics into your beer so secondary is the right time. Toasting them briefly and then crushing them fine will also help get them into solution faster. -Note: Control the heat level by removing the pitch and seeds from the pepper and them adding them separately after the flavor is where you want it. The pith and seeds will just add heat which you can now control based upon how long you leave them in. -Put them in a stainless tea ball and fish it out when it gets as spicy hot as you like it.


Adam
P.S. I've made both mole beers and have beers with chocolate and coconut in regular rotation so I have a lot of experience with chocolate in particular. (Including a Gold for my coconut porter.)
P.P.S. IMHO, Indian Coriander or orange peel adds a little something special to Mole; most moles, as you probably know are actually pretty complex mixes of loads of different spices.
 

biertourist

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To specifically address your question on how long:

Till it tastes right

This is why I'd add the chili, spices and cocoa nibs in one sanitized bag / tea ball and add the seeds & chili pith in a different bag / tea ball -then you can control the flavor and heat independently.

If you leave the spices in a bit too long, it WILL fade with time; as it's a RIS, if you plan on bottle conditioning / aging it for a while add extra spice so the spice level is where you want it when you're actually ready to consume it.


Adam
 

biertourist

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Last bit of advice: You want to balance the spice level with the residual sweetness; super important in spiced beers. The higher the FG, the higher spice level that still seems appropriate.

-Here you also want to plan for extended aging probably with a RIS. Bitterness will generally fade over time making the perceived sweetness increase; spice levels will fade even faster. -If you shoot for too high of an FG, you'll end up with a overly sweet beer before too long as both the spice levels and bitterness levels fade.

Note: This is generic advice with more traditional hops that have much higher alpha acid content than beta acid content; alpha acid content decreases during aging while beta acid increases and is actually MORE bitter tasting. Because traditional hop varieties have considerably more alpha acid content perceived bitterness normally goes down over time. If you're using newer really high alpha acid hop varieties you'll want to check the alpha to beta ratio to estimate how much bitterness you'll lose over time; some high beta varieties can make beers with bitterness that doesn't actually seem to fade over time.

Adam
 
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uncleben113

uncleben113

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Thanks for all of the great info. I like the idea of deseeding the peppers and steeping them separately. I'm not planning on aging this long so I don't want to overdo the spices. The est ABV is 12% though. Do you think I should let this age for a while? I still don't really understand why some big beers need to age a while and others don't.
 
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