Author Topic: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout  (Read 2758 times)

Offline danmages

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Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« on: September 09, 2014, 04:07:44 PM »
Nice place you have here!! I am planning a Russian Imperial Stout for my next big brew. It will go into a 5 gallon rye bourbon barrel for the secondary. My hope is for an English Barleywine like approach; malt forward with a complex mix chocolate, coffee, roast, and dark fruit. The body will be thick and rich. Hops will be present, but balanced. My one concern is that most RIS recipes I have seen have little to no caramel malts mixed in. Is it stylistically correct to have some, or am I going down the wrong path?

15 lbs Maris Otter
2 lbs flaked barley
1 lbs chocolate malt
1 lbs roast malt
12 oz English extra dark crystal
6 oz English dark crystal
6 oz Special B

2.5-3 oz of Phoenix hops for bittering
1 oz of Fuggle for aroma and flavor
1 oz of Fuggle for dry hopping?

Mash at 156 and boil for 2 hours.

Wyeast London Ale 1028 yeast

OG of 1.100 at 75% efficiency

Thanks for the advice!

Dan

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2014, 04:44:14 PM »
welcome to the forum!

Personally the reason I rarely if ever put crystal malts in big beers is because, in my experience pileing all the 'build it bigger' techniques on top of each other in a big beer leads to a syrupy, cloyingly sweet beer that I don't enjoy drinking.

An all malt beer mashed at 156 at 1.100 with a fair amount of dark roasted grains in it is going to finish somewhere in the 1.015-1.020 range anyway. if you add a bunch of crystal on top of that you will end up with more like a 1.020-1.030 range beer which is pushing it for me. I'm always trying to get my big beers to attenuate more.

A little 120 or special b for dark fruit flavors might be nice but with the long boil I'm not even sure you need that. If it were me I would either leave out all the crystal malt or maybe put in the special b and leave out the rest and see what you get.

If it turns out not full bodied enough that just means you get to brew it again!
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2014, 04:45:44 PM »
I'll add that you would be well served to either make a huge starter (like ~3-4 liters) or just brew a batch of ordinary bitter and use about half the yeast cake for the RIS. Keep the ferment cool (~64) for the first week then let it rise up to ~70 to finish off. and have a blow off ready.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 05:02:44 PM »
welcome to the forum!

Personally the reason I rarely if ever put crystal malts in big beers is because, in my experience pileing all the 'build it bigger' techniques on top of each other in a big beer leads to a syrupy, cloyingly sweet beer that I don't enjoy drinking.

An all malt beer mashed at 156 at 1.100 with a fair amount of dark roasted grains in it is going to finish somewhere in the 1.015-1.020 range anyway. if you add a bunch of crystal on top of that you will end up with more like a 1.020-1.030 range beer which is pushing it for me. I'm always trying to get my big beers to attenuate more.

A little 120 or special b for dark fruit flavors might be nice but with the long boil I'm not even sure you need that. If it were me I would either leave out all the crystal malt or maybe put in the special b and leave out the rest and see what you get.

If it turns out not full bodied enough that just means you get to brew it again!

I leave the more standard crystal malts out of RIS and add maybe 4 or 5 oz of Special B - lots of dark fruit character but not an amount so big it would drive your FG too high.  +1 to Mort's comments - a 1.100-ish RIS is already gonna have a ton of malt sweetness. IMO you don't want to add much in the way of extra unfermentable sugars to a beer that big.
Jon H.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 06:15:49 PM »
Crystal Haters...c'mon guys it's Crystal malt not Crystal meth ;)
Dan Chisholm

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2014, 06:28:43 PM »
Crystal Haters...c'mon guys it's Crystal malt not Crystal meth ;)

right tool right time. I use lots of crystal in my ordinary bitter. Plenty in smaller stouts, porters, etc. just not big beers.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2014, 06:35:18 PM »
Crystal Haters...c'mon guys it's Crystal malt not Crystal meth ;)

right tool right time. I use lots of crystal in my ordinary bitter. Plenty in smaller stouts, porters, etc. just not big beers.

+1. Milds too. I used a decent amount recently in ~ 1.068ish American Brown and stouts too. I just hate for the BIG beers to finish too high.
Jon H.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 06:46:51 PM »
I just don't see a problem with a little Crystal malt (%5 or less) in big beers. I think it's just a personal preference. I use about 4-5% Crystal in my Barleywine each year (scored a 41.5 in NHC) and about 3% Crystal in my Imperial Stout. I get good attenuation that balances it out.
Dan Chisholm

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2014, 07:59:56 PM »
to be fair, we both, Hoosier and I suggested a little special B would not be out of place.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2014, 09:50:31 PM »
I use 2% special b in mine. 91% marris otter, 3.5% chocolate, and 3.5% black patent or black barely.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2014, 11:04:32 PM »

I use 2% special b in mine. 91% marris otter, 3.5% chocolate, and 3.5% black patent or black barely.
I like the looks of that Steve!


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Offline PANDREWS

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2014, 11:59:22 PM »
I actually like a little sweetness in a stout.  Try the original recipe but with a healthy slurry of Wyeast 1007 German Ale yeast.  You are definitely going to need a blow off.  And don't worry, the German - British - Russian thing won't start a rhubarb unless you make it in the late 1930s...
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Offline danmages

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 01:05:17 AM »
Thanks for all of the feedback. I think I will ditch all of the crystal, save for the 12oz of English extra dark. It will give some dark fruit notes and help with the roasty factor with the burnt sugar like notes it gives off.

Yes, a good starter is planned. I have a 3 gallon carboy for experiments and massive starters.

Steve in TX mentioned percentages, which is a good way to look at high gravity formulas like this.

76% Maris Otter
10% Flaked Barley
5% Chocolate Malt
5% Roast Barley
4% Crystal

100% Chutzpah  8)

Offline dbarber

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 01:31:42 AM »
I wouldn't ditch the crystal malt.  I use 4-6% crystal malt in my big beers,both barleywines and RIS.  I like the flavor it brings to the beer and tend to mash around 150 to increase the fermentability.  I've never had a problem reaching 75% ADF.  Some of my beers have done okay http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/2010Barleywine  :) 
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Caramel Malt in a Russian Imperial Stout
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2014, 04:27:14 AM »
I wouldn't ditch the crystal malt.  I use 4-6% crystal malt in my big beers,both barleywines and RIS.  I like the flavor it brings to the beer and tend to mash around 150 to increase the fermentability.  I've never had a problem reaching 75% ADF.  Some of my beers have done okay http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/2010Barleywine  :)
Good point here. If you're mashing the Crystal malt (especially at a lower mash temp), then you aren't adding a boatload of unfermentables as is common belief. The enzymes in the mash convert the dextrins in the Crystal malt just the same. Darker crystal malts will leave behind more unfermentables, but not as much as you'd think.

To the OP - I do agree that cutting back on the number of different Crystal malts is probably a wise choice, just to reduce the potential for muddiness. I like your choice of the Extra Dark English Crystal. I've got a RIS coming up and I was leaning in a similar direction with my recipe as you. I'm thinking of splashing in a small amount of CaraMunich in addition to the Extra Dark Crystal.
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