Imperial Stout

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Steve SPF, May 22, 2020.

  1. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Any thoughts on Imperial Stout? I have a stout recipe which comes out at 6% and am thinking that I would like to try a 'bigger' one.

    I really enjoy stouts and porters, we hae a 'plum' proter from Titanic brewery over here which is excellent, something along those lines would be good but I have zero experience of the style.

    Any recipes or ideas? Or reasons not to do it? I'm thinking a 20lt batch that could be conditioned in a keg under CO2 for as long as it wants.
     
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  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Great idea pity you can't Mark it up in OG using the recipe GOAL feature top left of recipie page?

    I'm no imperial stout brewer here look forward to what comes your way;).
     
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  3. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Big beers are different. I have done my share of RIS/Triples/Doppel bocks. The key is not only balance in flavor, but also attenuation. The bitterness should increase with gravity, the fermentation is critical to avoid "rocket fuel" and poor attenuation.

    Obviously a good recipe is important, but process is even more important. Low fermentation temps are important for a RIS, but not too low, higher temperatures lead to desired esters of dark fruit, but if it goes too high you can get rocket fuel. With bigger beers the exothermic effect of the yeast increases, the temperature will rise more than lower gravity beers. Start low and let the temperature rise. Pitch rates need to be very high, you can avoid underpitching simply by brewing a smaller batch to keep the yeast population high compared with the volume of wort, this will improve the fermentation. Oxygen a pitch is very important and can be added again 12-24 hours after pitching the yeast, this helps the yeast with attenuation and the rocket fuel problem. The second addition of oxygen isn't always done and the beers turn out fine. Each yeast is different, I would suggest a higher attenuating yeast to keep the beer from getting too sweet. The beer takes longer to finish, up to two weeks to hit FG. Aging helps the flavors to develop, but if it's hot (rocket fuel), aging will help a little, but not much.

    Good luck, take your time and do it right, it would suck to work that hard and wait that long and have it turn out bad. The devil is in the details.
     
  4. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    @Trialben I was thinking to base it on the stout recipe I use so would scale that up for FG plus whatever else is called for.

    @HighVoltageMan! This would be a much smaller batch than usual, I just think the style might work for me so want to try one. I get some nice fruit notes from US05 and have plenty of it but was wondering if these beers need specialist yeast and / or yeast nutrients?

    Going to have a rummage through a few recipes I think, see if I can alter mine to suit.

    Thanks for input.
     
  5. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    You could also use S04 or WLP007. 007 attenuates very well and is dry, but not as fruity as S04. Wyeast 1968 would work nice for fruitiness, but the attenuation is lower. You could brew a smaller beer with 1968 (1.070-1.080) and get the same flavor profile as a higher gravity beer with a dryer yeast, a lot of brewers use that trick.
     
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  6. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have been toying with the idea of doing a partygyle brew to get a high ABV beer with first runnings, and a lower ABV brew using second runnings. Brewing 10 gallon batches, 10 gallons of an 8 to 10 ABV beer is a bit much for me.If I were to do this I would want to bottle both brews as I wouldn't want to have them on tap. Both of these would be an occasional beer for me. If I do something like this, it would likely be in the fall.
    sorry, doesn't answer your question specifically, but I thought it might still be good input:D
     
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  7. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    SO4 is my go-to so I have plenty of that.

    @Craigerrr It's all good. It's beer talk :) My thoughts were that keg conditioning would mean I was able taste it as it develops and then bottle it when it's done its thing / at its best.

    I was thinking autumn/winter for us but that it might take a while to condition so now might be a good time to make it.
     
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  8. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    I pretty much only brew High ABV (over 1.090 SG) as those are my favorites (e.g. RIS, BDSA, Tripel, Barleywine, etc.).

    So here are some considerations I would recommend.
    1. Make a huge starter (at least a gallon)
    2. Use yeast nutrient.
    3. Consider a High Gravity Yeast.
    4. Consider two different strains. One for most of the fermentation and the base yeast flavor and one to fully attenuate.
    5. Consider CBC yeast at bottling time IF you decide to bottle a few.
    6. Oxygenate with pure air for at least 2 minutes if you can.
    7. Let it sit in the primary for 3 weeks at least.
    8. Get it warm after 1 week. Roughly 70 - 73 degrees F.
    Here is the RIS I've been working on in it's 5th iteration.

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/995272/gibcs-5-half-with-cherries-

    While the recipe calls for a secondary fermenter with bourbon chips, I've found the base beer is great on it's own but would probably recommend secondary after 1 month on primary whether you use bourbon chips or not. The cherries are obviously optional as well. Wanted to use C-60 but LHBS was out so I used 40.

    You should be able to scale it up/down to whatever size you want.

    If you are looking for a plum flavor, you may consider using a belgian high gravity trappist style yeast like WLP-500, WLP-530, or something similar that can handle the high ABV while delivering the plum notes you are looking for.

    I will say that I used Imperial A-10 Darkness and made a 3 liter starter and then stepped that up again to another 3 liter starter to ensure enough healthy yeast. Also pitched WLP-099 (High Gravity) after about 4 days in the primary. Used yeast nutrient for the starters and the brewday as well. Let it sit in the primary for the first week at about 65 degrees and then bumped the temp every day until I got to about 72 degrees and left it there for about 3 weeks (total 4 weeks in primary).

    Then I pushed it over to secondary and added the bourbon chips and waited another 4 weeks. Bottled with about 3 ounces of table sugar and along with some CBC to ensure carbonation. Then I put them at room temp for about a month before moving to the fridge. They are drinkable within 1 month of bottling and taste pretty good, but keep getting better over time. The A-10 seems to give this faint hint of fruit like a stone fruit or something almost reminiscent of banana, but not banana...hard to describe, but tastes great.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Don't say like that! You will only fail if you don't try and if it's drinkable...you win!

    I'm like you, I like a big beer only occasionally, so when I brew one it's in a small batch and bottle conditioned. I gave a buddy of mine some of my RIS 3 years ago, says he still has one left. Hopefully I'll get a taste to see if it held up.
     
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  10. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    That's not a bad idea! It's nice to get some fruit character in a RIS, it adds a lot of depth to it.
     
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  11. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    @AGbrewer Thought I was thinking big, that one is a massive beer! I would definitely want to be at home and sat down if I was drinking that :)

    I'm thinking in the 9-10% ABV range and dark fruit notes, cherry would be perfect but plum if not. I don't much care for bourbon or port flavours in beer.

    Time isn't an issue but as has been said it would be a shame to be so invested in a beer and end up making a horlicks of it so I'm keen to do plenty of research and get it right. There will inevitably be a few questions so:

    How to oxygenate? Same as my other beers, just agitate at pitching, or something else?
     
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  12. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    It's best to use pure oxygen because oxygen is not absorb easily at higher gravities, you will need to get the oxygen levels up to 12-15 ppm for best reults. Shaking and agitation will get you to 5-7 ppm at best. It will still work, but I think high levels of oxygen are needed to get better results and faster starts.
     
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  13. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    How though? What does that look like?
     
  14. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Here is a good starting point for pure oxygen from my LHBS. All in, you should be around $70.

    https://www.austinhomebrew.com/Bern...Yrt9zNvlgvP1x5xuLmOXI2CtC-pb8x4BoCYxgQAvD_BwE

    https://www.austinhomebrew.com/Oxygenation-Kit_p_5771.html

    I actually use an aquarium pump with a hose and a diffusion stone. Total for my setup was about $30. However, it won't get you to the level of dissolved oxygen that the tank would, probably only around 8-10 ppm. Having said that, it works for me.

    https://www.austinhomebrew.com/Wort...i3-fe24wIqoufDl1O3_fNFRXXMCTQLBhoChz8QAvD_BwE

    As for being a massive beer, the last one had an OG of 1.154! No idea what it tastes like, still in the secondary with whiskey chips.
     
  15. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    Bingo. That is what sets beers apart, proper aeration in high gravity beers and lager makes a huge difference.
     
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  16. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Learn something every single time I log in here.
     
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  17. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Almost forgot one more thing.

    Be sure to consider that Hop Utilization drops when your SG increases. There are some calculations out there that should be able to help with that.

    I think that the Brewers' Friend software takes it into account automatically, but it also has the option where you can change the utilization in the recipe.
     
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  18. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Ok. I notice that many of these Imperial Stout recipes use very little in the way of hops, some of them just a bittering hop, and often a mega boil as well (I think your one was 240 min?) so it's a very distinct style I guess.

    I think, for me, I like the hoppy flavours in the one I brew just now and would like to keep/enhance that aspect. Thanks for the update.
     
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  19. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    So this is where it really boils down to personal preference... pun intended. LOL!

    For example, North Coast makes a pretty good RIS called Old Rasputin. The hops schedule is fairly heavy on the flavor and aroma according to the clone recipes I've seen (and you can taste the late addition hops in the beer without question). Most of the clones of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout (which is what my recipe is based on) however only uses bittering additions at 60 and/or 45 minutes and the true hop flavor and aroma is nowhere to be found in the beer, just the bittering.

    But you are correct, most RIS are just the early bittering additions with without anything at all past the 45 minute mark of the boil...at least that is what I've seen.

    I should also mention that you will get some bitterness from the dark grains (e.g. Black Malt, Coffee Malt, etc.), so be sure to take that into account as well.
     
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  20. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Almost forgot to ask! Would you be willing to share the recipe? The one that had the hoppy flavours that you liked?
     
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