Cooking with Beer: Chocolate Stout Cake

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Down the pipeline

... or down the tap line. Heyooooo!

Ok, enough of that.

Here's basically what I have planned down the way:

Up next is either a brown ale or an IPA. I'm leaning towards the IPA. Here's the recipe:

5 gallon batch.

Malt:
10 # US 2-row 76.9%
2 # US Caramel 10L 15.4%
1 # US flaked rye 7.7%

Hops:
.5 oz Cascade @ 60 min
.5 oz Amarillo @ 60 min
.5 oz Centennial @30 min
.5 oz Simcoe @30 min
.5 oz Ahtanum @ 15 min
.5 oz Cascade @ 15 min
.5 oz Centennial @ 10 min
.5 oz Amarillo @ 5 min
.5 oz Simcoe @ 5 min
1 oz Amarillo in fermenter
1 oz Amarillo dry hopped
.5 oz Ahtanum dry hopped

California Ale yeast.

That's 7 oz of hops. Sheesh. Never brewed with rye before either. Here are the stats:

Original Gravity: 1.071
Final Gravity: 1.016
ABV: 7.4%
IBU: 69.1
Color: 6.3 SRM

Also down the pipeline, I've figured a Saison might be interesting to brew for the summer, so I'll probably do that in April. I'm also leaning towards a small batch of a Russian Imperial Stout between now and then. For the pumpkin ale season, I'm leaning towards an Imperial Pumpkin Porter, inspired by Midnight Sun's TREAT.

But, more excitingly, I've always been fascinated with higher alcohol beers (upwards of 11%). As such, I've been pondering a high alcohol, Black Tuesday inspired Imperial Stout. I basically have what I want to do planned out and I've been reading about high alcohol brewing so here's what my basic plan of action is going to be:

The recipe:

Batch size: 6 gallons

Malt:
18 # Maris Otter 2-row 62.1%
2.5 # Vanilla sugar 8.6%
2 # German CaraMunich III 6.9%
2 # Pale Chocolate 6.9%
2 # Flaked Oats 6.9%
1.5 # Chocolate Malt 5.2%
1 # Black Malt 3.4%

Hops
3 oz 10.5 alpha Chinook pellets @ 60 minutes

Yeast
White Labs WLP099 High Gravity

Extras:
1 cup cocoa powder in boil @ 5 minutes
4 oz toasted cacao nibs in secondary with 1 month to bottle
3 vanilla beans soaked in vodka in secondary with 1 month to bottle
Oak cubes soaked in Scotch

If all goes according to plan, the beer should end up like this:

Original Gravity: 1.133
Final Gravity: 1.020
ABV: 15.5%
IBU: 68.8
Color: 70.7 SRM

Vanilla sugar is basically table sugar that you put in an airtight container with some vanilla beans. The vanilla beans make the sugar smell and taste like vanilla. Awesome? Yeah. I will also invert the sugar (i.e. turn it into dark, Belgian candi sugar) before I add it to the boil so that it is more easily fermentable by the yeast.

General plan of attack:

After boiling down to six gallons, I'm going to split the batch into 4 parts into 4 3 gallon carboys. Each will have 1.5 gallons. I'll make a starter for the yeast and pitch the high gravity yeast into each. The point of splitting the batch like this is two fold:
  • Having too much wort to ferment can cause yeast in high alcohol environments to die too quickly leading to a stuck fermentation
  • The gravity environment can lead to the krausen getting too big and blowing out of the fermenter.
Also have to aerate fairly frequently as per the Bruery's suggestions. I'll also add some yeast nutrient stuff to the boil and to the fermenters. After a month I'll rack 5 gallons to one secondary and 1 gallon to another; the small batch will receive some oak cubes soaked in scotch. I'll repitch yeast and then I will let this one go for another 3 months. From there, I'll rack the oaked portion off the cubes and in with the rest of the batch and repitch if necessary. After a month on this I'll transfer it to a tertiary on the vanilla beans and cacao nibs and then bottle after a month.

Total time in fermenters: 6 months.

Once its bottled, I'm thinking I'll dip the tops in wax to seal them and prevent rusting on the caps. I intend to age this one for awhile so that will certainly help. The issue is making sure the yeast survive the experience. I'll be repitching, adding nutrient, and using a strain that supposedly can make it up to 20% alcohol so it shouldn't be bad. I'll also ferment it a bit cooler than usual to prevent it from turning into rocket fuel.

It should be interesting. I see this beer being something I pop open on special occasions and I think it'll be interesting to see how a beer I've made changes over the span of a decade or longer.

I also made some mock ups of labels for this guy that I plan on printing out onto some textured paper. Given how dark this beer is going to be, the labels are a bit Nietzsche inspired:

Here's the back:

... and the front.




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