OFFICIAL Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout Clone

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Jwin

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Over the past month I have read over most of the pages in this post and can't wait until my grains come in from NorCalbrewing (Flat rate shipping to an FPO Box (Singapore)). A big thanks to guys there as it's not easy or cheap to get brewing items in the Far East. I am looking for people that have brewed this beer and have brewed this recipe and then have changed it for the better. I have read about the port soak oak chips and am interested in specific directions on that. I don't have an O2 set up so i am concerned about a stuck fermentation. I am currently making hard root beer and Hop Hammer IPA and feel that they should be fermenting faster than 2 +weeks. So if anyone has their best practice, please pass it on. I use a yeast starter via stir plate and plan on doing a gallon and cold crashing it to pour off 4/5th of it to get at the yeast cake. Any other tips are more than welcome.

Build another starter off the first one and add it after about 10-20 hours when it is at full krausen. Maybe sooner. Often referred to as a vitality starter. Basically make it the night before brew day.
I had no o2 on this but pitched on a full fresh cake of Pacman. Fermented out to 1.009. if you have plenty of active yeast, no o2 additional o2 is needed. Happy brewing!
 

stillshinen

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When everyone states the after primary fermentation it needs to be "conditioned for 6 months" what exactly does that mean? I am thinking either transfer it in a carboy for 6 more month or put it in a keg and don't drink it for 6 months?
 

stillshinen

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Build another starter off the first one and add it after about 10-20 hours when it is at full krausen. Maybe sooner. Often referred to as a vitality starter. Basically make it the night before brew day.
I had no o2 on this but pitched on a full fresh cake of Pacman. Fermented out to 1.009. if you have plenty of active yeast, no o2 additional o2 is needed. Happy brewing!


Perfect, I don't mine over-engineering something to guarantee I get the results I need. I included this into my recipe!
 

Jwin

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When everyone states the after primary fermentation it needs to be "conditioned for 6 months" what exactly does that mean? I am thinking either transfer it in a carboy for 6 more month or put it in a keg and don't drink it for 6 months?

I would suggest bottle or keg conditioning(add priming sugar to keg) as it will scavenge any/most o2 picked up in transfer. Or both, as you can add priming solution to the keg, purge as needed then fill a few bottles with primed beer to try/give out/save. Way easier than trying to bottle carbed beer without proper equipment. I just use a picnic tap and the cane off a bottle filler.
 

laredo7mm

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When everyone states the after primary fermentation it needs to be "conditioned for 6 months" what exactly does that mean? I am thinking either transfer it in a carboy for 6 more month or put it in a keg and don't drink it for 6 months?

I am kind of doing a mix of both. Right now I have 5 gallons in a carboy bulk aging, plus about 15 ounces on oak (0.60 ounce of medium toast spirals) that was first soaked in some Port wine (1 ounce) for a couple weeks. This weekend I think I am going to combine the two in a keg (minus the oak spiral) and let it age there. I got my proportions from back on page 46 where it says:

All of Kate is lightly oaked. We make our own Portwood simply by infusing oak spirals (The Barrel Mill, Avon, MN- 800.201.7125) with local Port. Of course if I told you the amounts and proportions I have to kill you!! Actually, we take 6 spirals and break them up, place them into a 10 gal. corny keg and pour 3 bottles of Tawney Port over the spirals. We add about 10 PSI to the keg and let the concoction sit for 18-25 days. Then we fill the remainder of the 10 gal. keg with Kate. Let it sit at ambient temp for 45-60 days then inject the 10 gals back into the 440 gals of KtG. Once the keg is empty we then back fill the 10 gals and let the Kate sit on the oak for another 6 months. This become the double oaked Kate. Very rare, only about 56 bottles produced. Hope this helps. Kate can age for 6 years once in bottles, if truth be known!! Cheers! Tod Mott

I assumed 750ml bottles of Port and that they used six of the 48" spirals that The Barrel Mill sells not the 8" ones that I bought. If the 48" spirals are also larger in diameter than the 8" ones and not just longer, then I will be under oaked. I have never oaked a beer before so if I am under, that is OK, I can add more. But I don't know what it is supposed to taste like anyway, so I am flying blind.

I feel more comfortable with the remaining 5 months of conditioning happening in the keg as opposed to the carboy. Plus it is easier to get some tasting samples from the keg than from the carboy. ;)
 

Dog House Brew

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I used one full spiral per keg. I left it in there until empty. I would not bulk age for 6 months in a carboy. Oxidation would be a real threat. I would age in the keg. I really think the absolute best thing for Kate would be bottle conditioning. I didn't find it to improve dramatically with age. I made some with bourbon soaked oak, and with a local Port. Nice beer for sure.
 

brewski09

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I think with carboy aging there are some oxidative changes that make a very nice beer but they will limit the long term ageability of the beer whereas in a keg won't get as many changes up front but the beer will end up lasting much longer before dropping off. If you have the space you can keg age for as long as you want. This does assume you eliminate oxygen from the keg. Bottles will give you the same result as the carboy in my experience.
 

RevKev

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I think with carboy aging there are some oxidative changes that make a very nice beer but they will limit the long term ageability of the beer whereas in a keg won't get as many changes up front but the beer will end up lasting much longer before dropping off. If you have the space you can keg age for as long as you want. This does assume you eliminate oxygen from the keg. Bottles will give you the same result as the carboy in my experience.

I also wonder if bulk aging in ambient temperatures in a CO2 purged sanke keg would have any issues, I'm a teensy bit smacked and spitballing this.

I have quite a few sankes and I plan on brewing this while my kegerator is otherwise occupied by my NE IPA and Saison or RIS. I'd rather not have my Chronical fermenter out of order for 6 months and in the meantime in going to get a nitro setup !
 

orangehero

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I've aged this in a carboy for over a year and it turned out amazing. Added a modest amount of oak (50 g French oak cubes in 5 gal) and forgot all about it. The two year old bottles won third place at a competition. Alcohol, phenols, and other roast malt derived antioxidants protect a beer this strong and dark for a long time and it takes many years for it to start to decline. If you didn't find a beer like this to improve with some age then you didn't age it long enough. Although oxidation is generally considered negative, for example when brewing pale lagers, it is a broad term that describes many flavors and in the context of this style it is what brings the beer together.
 

laredo7mm

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I got my batch kegged last night and will now sit there for bulk conditioning. I put it in secondary while oaking some on August 20th. Now all is combined in one keg (minus the oak spiral). Hopefully she will be ready by February.
 

cegan09

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Good lord. I made this back over the summer. I oaked it based on the 3rd release of tributary's Mott the Lesser (the new commercial version) using local Rum, My favorite Bourbon, and some good Port, all soaked into oak cubes. I think it was 3oz of cubes into a 3 gallon batch, so 1 oz with each booze. Oak was in for a little over a month, and I did pour in a bunch of the oak soaked booze too. Beer was fermented with the yeast bay's Conan strain, starting at 64.5F and ramping to 67 over a few days, then holding there to finish out.

I tried a bottle tonight. Bottled on 11/1. It's unreal. It's thick, and a little sweet with enough oak to balance that out. The smell is raisin and dark fruit and port. The taste is a lot of those liquors with roast underneath and just enough oak on the finish. I think with a couple more months the booze will subside just a little more and it will be awesome.

I have half a gallon bottled that was aged on vanilla as long as the rest was on oak. I blended in about 4oz of the oaked version to the vanilla when I bottled. I'm super excited to see how that one comes out. I think i'm going to wait until Christmas to try it.


I need to make more of this immediately.
 

Roadie

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I've aged this in a carboy for over a year and it turned out amazing. Added a modest amount of oak (50 g French oak cubes in 5 gal) and forgot all about it. The two year old bottles won third place at a competition. Alcohol, phenols, and other roast malt derived antioxidants protect a beer this strong and dark for a long time and it takes many years for it to start to decline. If you didn't find a beer like this to improve with some age then you didn't age it long enough. Although oxidation is generally considered negative, for example when brewing pale lagers, it is a broad term that describes many flavors and in the context of this style it is what brings the beer together.

After 4-6 weeks I rack from the carboy to a keg, purge, and let it sit at room temp in a closet for about 5 months - the entire time it's sitting I have about 50g of Hungarian oak cubes soaking in port wine in a sealed mason jar. After about 5 months I add the oak cubes (same as I would for a dry hop) to the beer and let it sit for about 1-2 months then remove. I've never over-oaked and probably need to let it sit on the cubes longer. Then I purge again and put it back in the closet until a year goes by and then move it to the keezer to carb it up. Fantastic results.

Normally I try and brew this beer just after 1/1 but this year I still haven't gotten to it and still have 3 beers in front of it before I can brew it. Though I only brew this once a year I always look forward to it!

If you wanted to enter this into competition I'd probably age for a couple of years before entering to allow everything to come together.
 

chichum

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I have been brewing this for a few years now. I have yet to do any oak/additives. Has anyone had success with doing the variants like Mott the Lesser uses? Was thinking of doing the AB/Rum/Bourbon/Port mixture. And if so, which did you like the best and what were the ratios? I was thinking of doing 4 oz with equal parts of each of the 4 (likely around 1oz)
 

cegan09

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Yup, I did a port/bourbon/rum version. 1oz of oak in each liquor in a 3 gallon batch. I think it was a little much, or maybe it was the fact that I poured in so much of the oaked liquor with the cubes. Still really good, but next time i'll back off just slightly.
 

srqbrew

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Has anyone brewed this with a more expressive yeast? Can you taste any difference under that grain bill?
 

cegan09

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I don't remember the exact brand that I used, it was some middle of the road 10 year aged port. Stuff was fairly good on it's own.

My personal preference would be stick to port. The sweeter flavor seems to go with the stout really well. Depending on which red you go with I see it maybe working. Maybe a drier variety might add something different. I don't think it would turn out bad, I'm just partial to port additions to stouts.
 

MFerBrew

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Yeah, I'd stick with port too. I don't even like port because it's way too sweet. But the subtle sweetness just works so well in this beer. You'd get something totally different with Cabernet or any other bolder red. Might not be a bad experiment though.

With that said, I'm going to split the batch the next time I do this (which will be the third time) and experiment with bourbon. It may be too busy with all the other flavors but that's why it's an experiment.
 

spageti

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Hi all.
I am planing to brew this beauty and i am wondering what water profile you used...

Thnx
 

Roadie

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Hi all.
I am planing to brew this beauty and i am wondering what water profile you used...

Thnx



I don’t have the Bru’n application but believe i added salts to get a profile similar to Ca-50, Mg-10, Na-16, Cl-70, SO4-70.
 

Shenanigans

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I'd really like to brew this beer and maybe split it 50% as is and 50% with port and oak.

The problem is that I can only get chips and not cubes where I am and have already bought American medium toasted. So I will be using these.
Can it still work with chips and if so what's the recommended process?
I bottle and don't keg.
Should I bulk age and then add the soaked chips for a week or so before I bottle? Or can I add the chips to the primary during fermentation and hope that some of the flavor comes trough to the final product?
Of course for the second option I would have to either do 100% oak or two separate FVs but it would eliminate an oxidation source.

Thanks for any advice :tank:
 

Dog House Brew

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Yes you can use chips. I would soak the chips in the Port during primary. I used 4 oz of a spiral when I brewed it. I would transfer into a secondary and add the chips and port to it. I would taste it at 1 month. I keg and left the spiral in the keg the entire time. Oak tends to fade the longer it is in the bottle. I would make sure you have as little headspace in your secondary as possible to limit O2 contact.
 

Jwin

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Or, if you have the time, you can just soak your chips in the port. Try to push all air out of the container (20oz bottle works well) and refrigerate.
If you bottle, it's going to be a guessing game. If you keg, you can add half-2/3 of it, then add more later if needed.
If you go with the secondary route, try and transfer with a few gravity points left.

Another option is to make a tincture with a decent vodka. Just soak the oak in it for a few weeks and dose the port separately. Bottling, you could add a few ounces of oak tincture, bottle half, then add another ounce. That would get you different levels of oak. If the second is too oaky, drink them last.
I would recommend taking your oak with vodka for a couple of days first regardless. It will pull some of the less desirable tannins out.
There was an early experimental brewing podcast that covered this well.
 

Shenanigans

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Hi guys.

Thanks for the tips :tank:

I'm still trying to decide on which RIS to brew.
Brewed an original Yeti Clone a year ago and am really digging it now.
I also just filled it straight into bottles without bulk aging.

Now I want to be a bit more adventurous with oak/nibs/bourbon/port etc.
I have a few 5L carboys which would result in about 13 bottles per experiment. Should be able to fill 4 of them to the top with one batch.
 

bonecitybrewco

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Just kegged my batch of KTG from last November. Has been sitting on oak cubes soaked in port with a number of oz’s extra of port added since then. All I can say is WOW.

Pulled a sample while kegging and uncarbonated there are flavours coming out of this of cherries, raisins, chocolate, vanilla, some slight coffee hints. Big nose on this. Just totally floored by this beer. Well worth the year long wait.
 

Dog House Brew

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I totally agree with you. It tasted a bit sweet in the finish. There isn’t too much roast. The next time I brew it I’m increasing the roast a bit. I really liked that brew and will be brewing it again this winter.
 

lsmathers

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I read through a lot of these posts. One thing I did not see, is what water profile is being used for this?
 
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