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OFFICIAL Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout Clone

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dcp27

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Id add the port too since it will absorb some of the oak essence. I've had a clone before and he recommended using around a cup of port
 

heywolfie1015

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Heywolfie1015- Thanks for the help! Would you recommend just putting the soaked oak cubes into the secondary or would you also dump the port that was used to soak the cubes in as well?
Opinions differ on this subject, but mine is that you should not pour the port in. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, new oak is really, really powerful. By soaking it, you are taking out some of the tannins and flavor, leaving behind a mellower, more subtle piece of wood. To me, this is desirable because it then allows you to age over a longer period of time and have a larger "sweet spot" for just the right amount of oak. (If you search through these and other home brewing forums, you'll see a lot of stories about over-oaking. Most, if not all, of those involve new oak.) Second, by pouring in the excess port, you run the risk of making the beer too boozy. If, at bottling or kegging, you think it needs more port, you can always add more at that time. You can't take out the booze, so moderation with the first addition is key.

Some others might disagree with my position, so feel free to take it with a grain of salt. I've never thought about using port before, so I'm really excited about this idea. Will be very interesting to see how it turns out.

P.S. The rule of thumb is 1-2 oz. of cubes per 5 gallons of beer. Obviously just a general rule, though, so make sure you taste as it ages to see when it gets to the level you like. :mug:
 

1Mainebrew

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I'm buying my ingredients today and will be brewing this up on Tuesday.
 

Linkin

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That's a hell of a recipe. Big and complex. I guess the beer is, too, no? I don't think I've ever heard of the brewery (I'm pretty certain they don't distribute to OH, or not this beer, anyway). Has anyone tried making this yet?
Since no one else really answered this.... Portsmouth Brewery is a brew pub and doesn't distribute anywhere. Their sister brewery by the same owner is Smuttynose (not sure if they distribute out in OH) and their beers are similar. I grew up around there and didn't realize KTG had such celebrity beyond the region. I always figured it was a local event. Anyways, fantastic beer if you are into stouts, although I suppose that is kind of a tease unless you plan on traveling to Portsmouth just for that beer.
 

mullenite

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Since no one else really answered this.... Portsmouth Brewery is a brew pub and doesn't distribute anywhere. Their sister brewery by the same owner is Smuttynose (not sure if they distribute out in OH) and their beers are similar. I grew up around there and didn't realize KTG had such celebrity beyond the region. I always figured it was a local event. Anyways, fantastic beer if you are into stouts, although I suppose that is kind of a tease unless you plan on traveling to Portsmouth just for that beer.
Smuttynose Imperial Stout is nothing at all like Kate, though my understanding is the regular Portsmouth lineup is pretty similar to the Smuttynose beers.
 

BCastine

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Yeah Smutty's imperial stout is much different then KTG. I actually prefer the Smutty when comparing the two fresh. The Smutty is very hop forward, lots of west coast hops. KTG should be aged at least 2 yrs imho, then its one of the most complex, best tasting beers I've ever experienced.
 

Linkin

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Yeah Smutty's imperial stout is much different then KTG. I actually prefer the Smutty when comparing the two fresh. The Smutty is very hop forward, lots of west coast hops. KTG should be aged at least 2 yrs imho, then its one of the most complex, best tasting beers I've ever experienced.
I didn't mean to imply the Smuttynose Imperial Stout was the same as KTG, I was only responding to a general question about the Portsmouth Brewery (i.e., that their beers are similar).
 

1Mainebrew

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I just made this and undershot my gravity by quite a bit. Too bad, really, but I'm sure it will be a mighty fine tasting beer.
 

ckwatkins

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Wolfie, thanks for the input on the wood and the port. It makes perfect sense. I hope I have the patience to let this one age as long as it needs to :)
 

heywolfie1015

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No prob. Just make sure you put it on oak after primary fermentation is done. Better for aging.

Good luck! I'll be making this one this fall.
 

GiraffeBrew

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Its my hometown brew, of course I'm gonna make it!!!

Long legs means more room for beer!
 

1Mainebrew

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So port-soaked oak in the secondary for a month and half, or can I get away with just pouring some port into the keg?
 

Oldsock

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About to mash this one in. I'm have a hard time telling from Todd's recipe if he is calling for 26 P (which incidentally is 1.110) to be the pre-boil or the post-boil gravity. If the reports that it is 12% ABV are correct 1.110 makes more sense since that would put the FG ~1.020. If it was pre-boil, that would put the post boil close to 1.130 (which would mean an FG closer to 1.040). Any body done an actual FG reading on Kate?
 

mullenite

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Oldsock said:
About to mash this one in. I'm have a hard time telling from Todd's recipe if he is calling for 26 P (which incidentally is 1.110) to be the pre-boil or the post-boil gravity. If the reports that it is 12% ABV are correct 1.110 makes more sense since that would put the FG ~1.020. If it was pre-boil, that would put the post boil close to 1.130 (which would mean an FG closer to 1.040). Any body done an actual FG reading on Kate?
It's a thick beer so 1.040 doesn't seem too unlikely. Darklord finishes around there and the two are similar in body from what I remember.
 

Oldsock

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Well I only ended up at 1.101... and that was with 1 lb of DME added. I'd been getting much higher efficiency than normal recently, but this one tanked down to 64%. Fermentation is already blowing off at an ambient temp 57.

Sometimes Kate is listed at 10.5% ABV, which would make more sense for the “lower” OG (putting the FG in the mid-high 1.020s). That said, his extract equivalent with 6 lbs of grain and 18-20 lbs of extract would make for a much stronger beer (18 lbs of LME in 5.25 gallons would be 1.130 on its own).
 

webbcreative

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Forgot to post an update:
My FG finally hit my target at 1.024 after 3 weeks in the primary. For an ABV of about 10.8%.

So yesterday I went a head and split the batch and added a about 2 ounces of oak [reused or I probably would have used less than that since the oak would have been stronger, and this is just a little more then 2 gallons] that had been soaking in port for about a week now.

Going to bottle the "regular" half this afternoon, and let it sit for about 5.5 months, and crack my first bottle on my birthday.

I will keep you posted as this progresses.
 

Oldsock

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It has been the single most violent fermentation I've ever had. I used half a yeast 1272 yeast cake from a big hoppy red that didn't have an issue. The Kate clone was blowing off 12 hours after pitching, and it was still going 24 hours later. I've already lost ~1.5 gallons of beer, so this morning I moved the remaining beer to an 8 gallon bucket in the hopes of not losing more.
 

BCastine

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I did this recipe as well, fell a bit short on gravity(1.094) and it fermented down to 1.022. I pitched a 3rd gen. cal ale and it mowed right thru it in like 5 days. At 7 days it already tasted good, but getting aged anyways. Lots of chocolate notes. After the RIS was done I resparged with 4 gallons more and made a small beer, hit 1.044 hopped to 40 IBU with U.S. Goldings and Williamette and fermented down to 1.012 with the same yeast. Drinking now, its actually an excellent beer, pretty close to an Irish dry stout. So don't dump out the grain when done with the RIS, theres another good beer left in there!
 

Oldsock

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Racked mine today, down to 1.028, tasted pretty good for how young it is. Added .75 oz of French oak that had been soaking in port for the last few months.
 

smagee

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I'm planning to do the PM version of this for experimentation's sake, if nothing else, but as Oldsock pointed out above, I find the directions a bit confusing. Anyone mind giving me a consult here? I've never had the beer itself, so I've tried to clean things up and adjust as best I could.

1. The type of extract (liquid vs. dry) is unspecified, but judging from my calculations, I'm guessing he's using entirely liquid. Anyone disagree?
2. He says to add 9#+2# of extract prior to mashing the grains, which seems unorthodox to me. Is there a reason I would want to add extract to my mash liquid? I'm assuming it should be added after the initial boil starts (after hot break).
3. The total grain bill doesn't include any base malts (unless I missed something). Shouldn't the wheat, if nothing else, be mashed with a bit of 2-row or something to help starch conversion?
4. After the boil, he suggests that you add the extract, this time listing up to 20lbs. That much extract alone would put us over the target (massively), so I'm assuming that he meant basically 20lbs of fermentables (effectively the mash liquor + 11lbs of extract), as that seems to come closer in range. Does this mean that the extract should all be added here (post-boil), or should I add it at the start of the boil as originally stated?

I don't really want to rush things on this one (for obvious reasons), so I figured I'd poll the masses early and often until I'm confident with the recipe. Thanks for any help folks can provide :mug:.
 

Oldsock

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1. I would measure the gravity after steeping (mashing) the grains and add enough (liquid or dry) to get to your target gravity.

2. I don't see a reason to add any extract to the steeping water unless it was diastatic...

3. Wheat has enough enzymatic power to convert itself, but with all the roasted/crystal malts it would be tough. You may want to do a seperate mini-mash with the wheat, flaked barley, and aromatic along with a pound or two of pale malt (then just steep the rest of the grains).

4. I'd probably add the extract towards the end of the boil, especially if you aren't doing a full boil. Or you could split it adding some early and some late.

Hope that helps. I posted some pictures/details from my attempt at this recipe.
 

smagee

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Thanks Sock; it would seem your impressions are in line with my own for the most part. Regarding a split mash (or mash some grains, steep the coloring ones), would it matter how much water I use for the steep? I could probably steep in somewhere around 1-2 gallons of water fairly easily, while mashing in the expected 1-2 as well, which I'd think would be plenty. Should I keep the steep water below 170ish to prevent tannic extraction?

Regarding your linked post, I see you racked into a corny with the oak (chips or cubes? Any roast?). Are you planning on removing that and letting it rest a while longer after the oak has imparted its flavor?
 

stevo155

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Racked mine today, down to 1.028, tasted pretty good for how young it is. Added .75 oz of French oak that had been soaking in port for the last few months.
I tried reading the previous posts and can't find the answer, but how did you come up with such a simple hop bill from the original hops that Tod provided in his email? Do you expect this will make huge differences over the original?
 

Oldsock

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I would mash with ~1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain. Since you aren’t worried about diluting enzymes you can go even higher with the steeping grains. I’ve read that you can extract tannins by going with much more water, but plenty of people do no-sparge with a very thin mash without issue. Keeping the steep under 170 F is probably a good idea.

I find that the longer I age a beer on oak the more complex flavors I get (rather than a large amount for a short time which imparts a more singular “lumber” flavor). I’ll taste the beer after ~3 months just to make sure it isn’t getting too strong. I may also add a cup of port if I want more of that flavor. No real need to age the beer in secondary once the oak is removed.

If you were trying to copy an IPA then the hop additions would be the most important thing to follow, but for a malt forward beer like this the hops play a relatively minor role in the finished character of the beer. Hop aromatics are the first thing to go as a beer ages, so matching the late boil hops isn't a big deal if you are aging the beer for 6 months or more before drinking. You get a certain character (softer, harsher) from the bitterness depending on the hops you use, but it isn’t a huge factor. If you can get all the hop varieties there is no reason not to follow the hop bill he lays out, but I had hops in the freezer that I wanted to use up.

Good luck.
 

Ralelen

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What type of efficiency is being reported? I'd love to do this but I'm considering doing a split mash so I don't get a crappy efficiency.
 

smagee

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Thanks for the clarification; I'm assuming oak cubes simply because I've heard they're better for long-term oaking anyway. Do you toss them directly into the keg, or keep them contained with a bag of some sort?

Interesting note regarding the hops--I was considering replacing a fair number of them with alternatives I have on hand as well, so it's good to see that I won't be completely screwing myself up. I'll post the final recipe I go with when the time comes.
 

Oldsock

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I got 62% system efficiency on my batch, and that was with an extra long boil and some boiled down final runnings. Big beers tend to have lower efficiency, but I've been fighting some issues with my mill (I need to get a set of feeler gauges).

Yeah, I like cubes since they tend to have a better toast and a slower extraction. I toss them right in, although if I was serving from the keg I would have bagged them just to make sure they didn't get stuck on the dip tube.
 
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I made it to the tasting this year and sampled some of the original Kate the Great on tap. Fantastic stuff! My brother is a huge fan of stouts and wanted to try brewing with me so I think we'll be doing this batch shortly. I took the recipe from the OP and got it entered into BeerTools Pro. I haven't read through this thread entirely yet, but I'll have a look to get tips from others who have tried to make this one.
 

ckwatkins

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My brother-in-law and I brewed this about a month ago and racked it to secondary this last Friday. This is our first "big beer" and we were using a new mash tun cooler that could handle this much grain, so we had some things going against us. We ended up with an 1.100 OG, a little low for the recipe, but it fermented all the way down to 1.017. We had put it on a 3rd generation yeast cake and it fermented like CRAZY for a couple of days. I've never tasted Kate the Great but my initial impression of our clone was AMAZING. It had a ton of roast and chocolate flavors. I was a little worried that it had fermented lower than our projection but I thought it tasted great. Now we've got it in secondary aging on port soaked oak cubes for the next couple months. Patience.....
 

ckwatkins

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I'm not going to keg mine so I'm not sure, but we are going to bottle condition it for at least 3-4 months.
 

1Mainebrew

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Then how long did you leave the port soaked oak in the secondary?
 

ckwatkins

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Just transferred it Friday and will keep it secondary for 2-3 months or until we are happy with the oak flavor.
 

lewybrewing

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I am going to be brewing this beer on Saturday. Going to do this and a Tasty Double IPA Clone. So it is going to be a BIG day around my house. It is all for the start of the NHC down the street from my house. I will also report back.
 

hopplease

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Well, Purchased the ingredients for this. Hoping to brew on my bday with it and give it to myself as my xmas present.

I made some minor (lazy) changes.

6 lb Light DME
10 lb Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM) Grain
1 lb Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain
1 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain
1 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain
1 lb Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain
1 lb Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain
1 lb Caramel Malt - 40L (Briess) (40.0 SRM) Grain
1 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain
1 lb Black Malt - 2-Row (Briess) (500.0 SRM) Grain
1 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain
1 lb Chocolate (Briess) (350.0 SRM) Grain

Super excited for this. Will be my biggest brew to date. Not sure what I will do for hops. I'll have to look in the freezer.

I am assuming port is some type of liquor? I'l prob do oak chips with and maybe some coffee beans for secondary.
 

lewybrewing

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I brewed this on Sunday the 12th of June. Everything went good. The grain bill was a little big for my brewing equipment. I ended up adding 2# of sugar the end of the boil to get to 1.100 OG or 25 Brix. The color is black but not to dense, great aroma and smells. I changed the bittering hops but left the aroma hops the same. I also have oak cubes in bourbon soaking at the moment. They will be dropped in the keg after fermentation.
 
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