Weekend session: Imperial Stout

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by m.mihai, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. m.mihai

    m.mihai Member

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    #1 m.mihai, Mar 16, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
    Hello everybody,

    This weekend we ( my best friend and I ) will be brewing this recipe: http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/465210/imperial-stout

    The IBU is calculated to 90 here on the website, but Beersmith reports it at 70, which is closer to what I want. 90 seems excessive, but I would not know which is closer to reality.

    I also have a half a pound of Dark Muscovado sugar ( https://byo.com/stories/issue/item/3204-dark-sugars-techniques ) which I am interested in throwing in, as I heard it can work well in dark brews.

    Any suggestions and recommendations, and most of all constructive critique, will be much appreciated by both of us.

    I want the beer not to suffer from lack of hops punch, but in the same time, not be one-sided. The cocoa beans ( which I will crush ) and vanilla are still something, I am not entirely sure I want, but I read good things about these additions, so let me know if it would work.

    I would very much like to hear if this experiment would be a disaster or could actually work.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    certainly a lot going on in that brew, no way will it be one sided. im sure you'll make beer, but i don't know if you'd be able to pick out the contributions of any single ingredient.

    a while back i had split and scraped 2 vanilla beans and let them sit in regular table sugar for a few weeks, then used that as priming sugar. if you were to soak them, i'd go the vodka route. again, too much going on i think to add another layer of bourbon / whiskey to the mix

    fwiw, i think the muscovado sugar should be put into a "simple" beer first, where you'll really be able to gauge it's taste. then when you know what it brings to the party, turn it loose on a "real" recipe

    never heard of pekko hops, but the description i just read sounds really intriguing

    good luck, and keep us posted how it turns out!
     
  3. chub1

    chub1 Active Member

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    I have used Cocoa nibs in a chocy porter to good effect and have also used ESE coffee pods steeped in cold water for 24 hours and added to the FV,again with really good results in a coffee stout.
    For what it's worth i very lightly heated the nibs in the oven for a short while before using.:cool:
     
  4. m.mihai

    m.mihai Member

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    I have brewed this Saturday and the whole process went pretty well, with no hiccups or troubles.

    The only thing that was not well at all, was the OG, which I measured with a refractometer. It was calibrated and checked using ditilled water. The OG after 90 minutes boil was 1.078. I was expecting and hoping for something like 1.085 or more.

    I rehydrated 1 Safale US-05 and 1 Safale S.04 and pitched it in at about 17 °C ( 62.6 °F ). I aerated well ( I ferment in glass demijohns ) and the beer began fermenting a few hours after. It has quite the lively fermentation, with lots of bubbles coming out and very short intervals.

    My efficiency came at around 65-68%, which is lower than I am used to, with the Grainfather. I am expecting a FG of around 1.020, which would give an 7.6% ABV, according to the Grainfather website.

    My biggest wonder now, is why the low efficiency and OG.
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Anything out of the norm with this brew mate. Did.you mash same temp as usual. Shorter longer less sparge more info please
     
  6. m.mihai

    m.mihai Member

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    The equipment is a Grainfather. I mashed for 60 minutes at 68 °C ( 154.4 °F ). I mashed out until I reached 75 °C ( 167 °F ) and then I sparged with hot water at 75 °C ( 167 °F ). The sparge went smoothly, it took a bit of time.

    I boiled for 90 minutes and added the hops as described in the recipe.

    My concerns would be directed to the Grainfather calculator, which might be making me add to much sparge water. Giving the 90 minutes boil, the final yield would be lower than the standard 23 l ( 6 lb ).

    I think the next few bigger brews I will adjust the sparge water.
     
  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    What did you get going into fermentor if more than predicted by grainfather you know your boil off is wrong
     
  8. m.mihai

    m.mihai Member

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    At end boil I had around 22 Liters left, and that was before I transferred to the demijohn. I also lose a bit in the sludge left at the bottom of the Grainfather, as being so thick, so pump cannot transfer it. But it is OK, as I try to keep the final yield as clean as possible for sludge and grain husks/bits.

    But yeah... I think the water which the Grainfather wants you to use could be a bit much ( It also depends on the boil and the grain bill ). I extimate it to be 2 l, whcih is around 0.5 gallons. I would say that is a bit much, especially for bigger beers.

    For future reference: I think I will just go with a reiterated mash and make the grain bill bigger and achieve a respectable OG for the BIG beers I will be brewing. The efficiency should also go up.
     
  9. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Just remember to calculate the added absorbtion from extra grain.
     
  10. m.mihai

    m.mihai Member

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    #10 m.mihai, Apr 10, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
    Update:

    We brewed this on March 18 and all went well. OG was 1.078 and FG measured today is 1.021, resulting in a 7.5% ABV. I threw in 4.2 oz organic cocoa beans ( crushed ) and 4 vanilla beans soaked in bourbon for aprox. 2 days. That was 3 days ago. The FG was measured today and the beer tasted.

    It smells like the beer was infused with raw cocoa and coffee. Very good mouthfeel, most probably from the flaked oats. It is not carbonated yet and cocoa beans and vanilla are going to stay in the fermenter for at least a few days more, but the beer presents itself very nice. Very dark and a bit sticky.

    Next step is to bottle and condition for a few weeks / months. I believe the beer will settle and become better with time. I hope so, anyway.

    PS: It did not turn out to be an Imperial Stout, which I am kinda bumped about, but hopefully next time it will be better. I have learnt since, that bigger grain bills will have poor efficiency with the Grainfather.

    I will therefore do a reiterated mash next time I will be grewing bigger beers.
     
  11. m.mihai

    m.mihai Member

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    I carbonated some of the beer in a keg and it turned out fantastic.

    Big brown head, with lots of ground coffee and cocoa in the nose. Thick and oily. There a bit of sweetness, but perfectly balanced with the bitterness from the hops.

    I have put the beers in some bottles and wiat for them to fully carbonate.

    This turned out a succes, with 7.5% ABV and pitch dark. I will post a photo when I will open a bottle.
     
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  12. m.mihai

    m.mihai Member

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    Update.

    I opened a few bottles, after being conditioned for 30 days.

    This is a picture of the beer poured in the glass: http://imgur.com/a/xm74K

    It is pitch dark, there is rich dark plums, coffee and cocoa. Subtle fruitty esters from the yeast ( Safale S-04 ) towards the end. Very slick mouthfeel from the load of oats. In the begining, the beer was a bit sweet and overly aromatic from the Muscovado sugar, but it disappeared, leaving room for notes of dark molasses, with a sort of barrel taste. There is almost no bitterness from the hops.

    I am impressed with it and it actually turned out great. A recipe I will tweak a bit and brew again.
     
  13. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a good thick stout. You can see it clinging to the glass. That alone describes the mouthfeel. Looks like it came out as you wanted it to. Brew on!
     

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