Monday, July 11, 2011
So, in lieu of doing a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout as originally planned, I decided to go for broke and finally do my favorite beer style, the glorious, Russian Imperial Stout.
For the less beer savvy out there, the history of the Russian Imperial Stout basically is that British brewers brewed a big, high alcohol stout with oodles of hops to please the palates of the Russian Imperial court. Imperial stouts are also a favorite of American craft brewers, with wonderful examples such as Old Rasputin, Stone IRS, and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout being fairly easy to find, along with some more difficult to find beers, that are amongst my favorites, such as Southampton IRS, Deschute's the Abyss, and the infamous Three Floyd's Dark Lord.
I wanted my beer to be really big. I don't like my Imperial Stouts to be light in body, in taste or in alcohol. I want big roasted flavors, to be on the upper limit of alcohol for the style, and have a very big body. Brewing was going to test the limits of my mash tun, or so I thought. For a five gallon batch, I was going to be using 22.5# of grain over all. Knowing I would need a lot of strike water to fully submerge the grain in the mash, I struck with 5 gallons.
And by the time mashing had finished, a lot of the water had been absorbed by the grains, which you can see here:
I wanted this beer to be thick and dark. On BeerAdvocate, when I review an imperial stout as "being thick like motor oil," that means its good. I'm happy to report this one looks a bit like motor oil.
And heating it up for the boil...
For hops, I wanted some high in alpha acids so I could reduce the amount of hops I used, meaning less beer gets wasted when I transfer it off the trub. I settled on Nugget.
Classical imperial stouts were heavily hopped, but I'm not the biggest fan of hoppy imperial stouts so I just added 2 oz for bittering.
The brewday was fairly successful but that remains to be seen when the beer is ready, which is going to take awhile. The recipe for this beer was:
1# flaked oats
1# flaked barley
.5# Caramel 120
.5# roasted barley
.5# black patent
2 oz 12.2 alpha Nugget @ 60 minutes
Maltodextrine @ 15 minutes
Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
Wyeast 1056 - American Ale
Now, I've read many different things when coming up with recipe formation for imperial stouts, mostly regarding the amount of roasted grains. I've seen as high as 15% and as low as %5. I am a big fan of roastiness but didn't want to overdo it, so I went somewhere down the middle. The maltodextrine is there to add more body, because I want this beer to be very chewy, so I figure between the carapils, oats, flaked barley, and caramel malt the body will be very substantial and I don't think I can overdo it on the body for this beer.
The plan for this beer is that I'm going to bottle half of it as a straight imperial stout and the other half, I'm going to condition on heavy char oak chips that I'm soaking in some Knob Creek single barrel bourbon whiskey to create a barrel aged type flavor. I'm going to bottle the bourbon aged beer in some 750ml bottles and seal them with wax for extended cellaring. The straight IRS is going to go into 12 oz bottles and also be wax sealed for extended cellaring. I will love seeing how this beer changes with age, and if I am pleased with how this beer came out, I'll brew it again in years to come and create my own verticals, which should be awesome.
I think the biggest issue on this beer might be the yeast. This beer should be getting up to 12% alcohol, which is a size I've never brewed before so hopefully the yeast can handle it.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
My girlfriend surprised me with some beer battered fish tacos the other night and they came out great so I thought I would share... after bugging her a bit for the recipe, that she kind of came up with on the fly.
Taco seasoning to taste
1 cup flour
1 cup IPA (she used 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA)
Hard/soft taco shells
Shredded cheddar cheese
Mix taco seasoning, flour and IPA. Let sit for 45 minutes. Cut fish into pieces, coat lightly with flour then the batter. Fry in vegetable oil for one minute per side.
Pretty simple, but incredibly yummy. They paired great with the 21st Amendment IPA. Definitely give these a go. Cheers!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Yup. Time to do the Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. I decided to bump it up to Foreign Export strength after reading a good deal about Stone's mythical Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (Beer Advocate reviews here... unfortunately I've never gotten to taste it), considered going up to Imperial strength and finally doing my IRS, but decided that Foreign Export is a nice compromise.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
- Rest at 113 degree F 30 minutes
- Raise to 131 degree F 15 minutes
- Raise to 144 degree F 30 minutes
- Raise to 154 degree F 15 minutes
- Raise and mash out at 165 degree F
Look: a little gunsmoke is visible as soon as I pop the bottle. Some sediment is suspended in the glass, which is an effect I really like in my IPAs. Thin, white foamy head that doesn't retain very long and quickly ends up as thin layer of bubbles around the sides of the glass. The beer has a little bit of spotty lacing.
Smell: though not as pungent as I would've liked, it has a big passion fruit, citrus, tropical aroma with some papaya and mango as well. Very pleasant aroma and I'm very pleased with this.
Taste: follows the nose well with a delicious blend of passion fruit, papaya, pineapple and some mango with a little bit of citrus zest. The malt is hardly detectable, which is something I appreciate.
Feel: medium bodied and a little more full bodied for a DIPA than I think I would want. The carbonation is good. The alcohol isn't noticeable and its not overly bitter but there's no sweetness to be found either.
Drinkability: fairly easy drinking and though its a little big for a session beer, its still something you could have a few pints of without a problem.
Overall, I thought this was pretty good and with some tweaks, I can see it being very excellent. There are some adjustments I'm going to make to improve it, but otherwise, I am pretty happy with how this one came out.
Adjustments for Next Time
I'm going to adjust the malt bill. I'm thinking of adding carapils, reducing the caramel malt but using a higher lovibond malt for color adjustment, using some wheat for head formation/retention, and some sugar to lighten the body. I'm thinking:
11# 2-row malt
.5# 120L Caramel
.5# US White Wheat
1.75# table sugar
I'm also going to up the hops. 93 IBU is good but there could be more hoppiness to it to really make this beer an exceptional DIPA. I've been tinkering with it and I think the goal should be to get to 120IBU but to stick with all Citra hops. I think the schedule might look more like:
1.5 oz @ 60 minute
2 oz @ 30 minute
1 oz @ 15 minute
2 oz @ 5 minute
1.5 oz @ turn off
1 oz dry hopped
That gets me up to 118.9 IBU. The issue is... that's a lot of hops. This recipe lost a lot of volume to vegetal matter and it was only using 6 oz of hops all together. This uses 9 oz. So I think the plan will be to brew more wort and to use a hop bag for the dry hopping.
Blog Posts About This Beer
Monday, April 25, 2011
I tried pitching some yeast (used White Labs California yeast) to the bottling bucket to see if that helps my history of under-carbonated beer.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Look: cloudy, yellow body. Thin, bubbly head forms at the top but doesn't retain for more than a few minutes, ultimately just becoming a thin layer of foam and bubbles hugging the sides of the tulip. A little bit of patchy lace is left behind as well.
Smell: actually, quite promising. The fact that Wyeast sells the Saison DuPont yeast is fairly apparent in the nose, and the beer is filled with those familiar esters. Hints of fruitiness from the hops are there as well.
Taste: annnnnd here's the let down. The Munich malt comes out way too strongly here and it kind of drowns out the other flavors, sticking them in the background. There's the saison yeasty goodness back there along with some grapefruit and some tartness. Its also missing the paradise seed.
Feel: a little fuller than I would've liked and not quite as dry as I would've liked either. The carbonation is fairly decent though.
Drinkability: fairly easy drinking, could see this being a decent summer beer if not quite exactly a perfect saison.
Overall, its not quite what I wanted it to be. Saisons are tricky though, so at least I learned some things. For my next saison I'm going to:
- Adjust the grain bill. I'll use a little less malt overall, cut out the Munich, halve the wheat and maybe cut down the sugar. So basically, all pilsner malt with a little wheat, maybe some sugar and maybe an oz or two of debittered black for color adjustment.
- Adjust the hops. I think I'll go a more classic route and use something like Hallertau.
- Phil Markowski, in Farmhouse Ales describes a few different mashing schedules, and I think I'm going to try the one from Saison DuPont.
- For the yeast, I'm going to stick with the Saison DuPont yeast because I do like the characteristics this yeast has. However, I'm going to make a starter and after the fermentation has gone for a bit, I'm going to pitch another yeast strain to dry out the beer.
Blog Posts About this Saison:
T'is the Saison to Bottle.
Craft Beer (Arts &) Crafts... and a Saison Update.
Brewday: Saison (or how not to brew).