Author Topic: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout  (Read 1932 times)

Offline dannyjed

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Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« on: February 14, 2012, 07:31:10 PM »
After reading the style guidelines for RIS, it seems like there is a lot of room for different incarnations of this style.  I always thought of a RIS as being chewy with a high abv.  I made a RIS (or so I thought) for competition and I just tasted it and I'm not sure if this will meet the category.  It does not seem chewy or very thick and it is not very roasty. It is a little low on abv scale as well at 9%.  I really like the flavor of this beer, but I am worried that it won't score well because of the body and roast malt character.  What do judges look for mainly in this style? 
Dan Chisholm

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 12:55:21 AM »
The guidelines are your best guide for what judges are looking for in any style.  If you think it doesn't meet them you could try to figure out where you think it does fit.  Or you could put it in front of a judge and get their opinion, do you know any nearby?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 05:45:43 AM »
There are some judges around here and I might try that.  I think I might enter it anyway as a RIS.  Who knows, it might surprise me since I tend to be my worst critic.  Or it will get marked down for the above reasons and I will know that my own tasting abilities have improved and I should consider judging myself.
Dan Chisholm

Offline hokerer

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 09:41:40 AM »
It is a little low on abv scale as well at 9%.

The range in the guidelines for 13F is 8% - 12% so you're fine with your 9%
Joe

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 01:13:30 PM »
Mind posting your recipe? Might serve us better in helping if its to style or not.

9% is pretty good for a RIS though I can tell ya that! One of my fav examples(Old Rasputin) is 9%.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 04:05:50 PM »
After talking to a judge today, I think I'm going to enter it in the foreign export stout category.  Even though it is a little high with 9% abv, it is hard to tell by taste and the FG is 1.014.  I think the lack of a heavy body is more apparent than the alcohol content.
Dan Chisholm

Offline bluesman

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 07:37:27 PM »
Try to fit it into a specific category. However, if it doesn't quite fit into a certain category, one can opt to enter it in two potential sub-categories. In your case RIS and FES categories. This way you'll hopefully get some valuable feedback and have a better interpretation of the actual beer profile.
Ron Price

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 08:47:54 PM »
In world of commercial beers, I think that there are actually two versions of RIS - the traditional English version and the American version. It's just like English and American Barleywines - the American version has a more neutral yeast and more hop character, and maybe a bit less body and malt character. The English version is more estery, a bit sweeter, a bit fuller-bodied and has more malt complexity. Think of the difference between Samuel Smith Imperial Stout and North Coast Old Rasputin.

For BJCP-sanctioned competitions, regardless of which way you go, a RIS has to be really emphatic. Full-bodied, lots of malt and hop complexity, possibly some pleasant aging notes, and detectable levels of smooth alcohol - but not cloyingly sweet and no solventy alcohols. It's a balancing act between making a big, impressive, solidly-engineered beer and one that tries to go to far and ends up with fermentation problems.

As others have said, RIS on the low end of the scale might do better in the FES or American Stout categories, especially if they don't have the body or malt complexity of a really competitive RIS. It's a common trick to brew beers that are just "a little to big for their breeches" for competition, since judges can't test for ABV.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Style Guidelines for Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 07:39:30 AM »
Try to fit it into a specific category. However, if it doesn't quite fit into a certain category, one can opt to enter it in two potential sub-categories. In your case RIS and FES categories. This way you'll hopefully get some valuable feedback and have a better interpretation of the actual beer profile.
Now that's an interesting idea. I just might try that.
Dan Chisholm