Wilkos Imperial Stout Help

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tapesta

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Hi all,

I’m new to this but I’ve been reading lots and it’s been so helpful starting out brewing at home.

I had a few questions I wondered if you could help me on an imperial stout recipe I’m experimenting with.

It’s a Wilkos chocmeister stout kit 1.8kg. 5 gallons. In addition to that I’ve added 1kg dark spray malt and 500g brewers sugar and used the premium yeast (not sure what it is) as per instructions with kit. Separately I’ve also added a bag of spices and toasted coconut.

Starting gravity was surprising low. 1.045 or thereabouts using a basic glass hydrometer. It started bubbling after about 12 hours and it’s been pretty consistent for the last 4 days when I checked the reading, which was 1.020. It’s still working away, but I had a few concerns.

We live in a small flat. We, cook eat and live in the same space. It’s been really cold lately and we’ve been putting the heating on a bit. I’ve been checking the temperature around the fermenter regularly and it’s ranging between 17C to 22C. When we’re out at work it gets very cold during the day then at night it’s warmer when we get home. I just wondered if that sort of temperature fluctuation is going to make a big difference to the flavour? I thought there was a slight aroma of banana when I checked gravity. Could that be the reason? Any tips on what I could do to prevent those temp fluctuations?

Then my other query was about secondary fermentation to really ramp up the ABV. I saw a video on you tube of a guy making an Imp and after a weeks first ferment he syphoned it on to a new tank and added a new stronger yeast with 100g sugar dissolved in water. I can’t find anything about other people doing this for a secondary fermentation. Should I wait more than a week to do this, and is this even the right way to go about making an imp in the first place?

this is the video I used for a reference:

I haven’t followed his initial recipe in terms of spices.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you
 

Final Gravity

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Hi Tapesta, That is quite a temperature swing, I’ll address the less expensive solutions first.
5 gallons of beer is quite a large thermal mass, and is much slower to change temperature than the air, so your beer might only be +/- 1 or 2 C depending on fermentation activity and the room temperature cycles. Still, it is best to minimize such swings. Note that during active fermentation, the beer is several degrees warmer than the room as a consequence of all that Yeast feasting on wort. If you have an IR thermometer (expensive) or even an adhesive strip type thermometer (inexpensive) you can verify how much the beer temp is actually changing. Resisting temperature swings is the same as for a house: insulation. If you are trying to keep it warmer, Wrapping towels, or jackets around the fermenter is an economical way of helping the beer maintain a temperature (warm or cool). If active fermentation is occurring, you might get too hot, so monitor closely. Some people will put the fermenter in a bath tub of water, to increase the thermal mass further thus dampening out the effect of the swings. Another option is to buy a chest freezer and a temperature controller which allows you to control the temperature ( this of course takes up more space, costs more money to operate, and is tough to lift full fermenters into and out of). For the beer in question, the bulk of your fermentation is complete, so I’d recommend wrapping it with some layers of material to insulate it, and allow it to finish this way.

As for the ABV boost, adding sugar will do it, but 100g is not going to give that much of a boost, and if you’d never brewed this kit before, it would be worth trying it as designed first. Personally, for that style of beer, I’d rather just add the sugar to the brew pot and boost the OG versus hitting it halfway.

I hope this is helpful, Cheers.
 
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