Author Topic: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please  (Read 1177 times)

Offline JFMBearcat

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« on: March 14, 2016, 06:49:45 PM »
Hi all, new member here. I've been brewing for about 5 years and have about 100 or so AG batches under my belt. I haven't brewed a ton of big beers, I usually stay in the 1.050-1.070 range. I'd like to take a stab at a mega RIS for the winter. Wanted to share my recipe/plans and get advice from the more experienced brewers here.

Goal for the beer: Nice big roasty RIS without being syrupy and cloying. Very much against a thin mouthfeel.

First the recipe. Every ingredient I put in a beer I try and have a reason for it:

Est OG: 1.110
EST FG: 1.028
IBU: 75
Color: 56
Est ABV: 11%

5.5 gallon batch, 120 min boil, 10gal pre-boil volume. I have a 15 gal boil kettle.

24 lbs maris otter/pale malt 50/50 blend: 80%
1.5 lbs roasted barley 5.5%
1 lb PALE chocolate malt 3.3% (I hear this is better to mix into a RIS than just chocolate, thoughts?)
1/2 lb chocolate malt 1.7%
12oz Special B 2.5% (I want the raisny/plum flavor that this malt provides)
12oz crystal 80 2.5% (Added to balance the roasted grains)
8oz of both flaked oats and flaked barley to help with a big chewy mouthfeel (Are these necessary?)
DME on hand to adjust OG near the end of the boil

2oz Magnum @ 60
1.25 Willamette @ 30

Approx 450billion cells of Wyeast 1056

Mash @ 151 for 90 minutes, reason I choose this mash temp is to help the yeast attenuate fully and not finish super cloying.

Boil for 2 hours due to needing extra sparge water with such a huge grain bill.

2 min of pure oxygen after transfering to carboy, and another 60 seconds on day 2 of fermentation.

My questions:

1. Is this an appropriate specialty grain bill? Too much or little of anything?

2. I use a mini fridge with a Johnson temp controller for fermentation temp control. I normally tape the probe to the side of the carboy. What temp do I need to set the controller to balance the hot fermentation? For example if I want to ferment at 63F and tape the probe to the side, should I set my controller for 63 or a bit lower since I believe it gets much warmer inside the actual vessel? I also don't want to under shoot the temp and not have the yeast finish up.

3. I am totally open to choice of yeast. I just want something that'll give me the least trouble and finish up where I want it to.

Sorry for the wall of text, this is just an expensive and time consuming batch, and I'd like to put myself in the best position possible to turn out a great beer. Thanks and cheers to everyone!

Online denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19853
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 07:05:44 PM »
When you say "finish where I want it to", what are you thinking of?  I'd say a beer like that shouldn't go below 1.025-30
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline JFMBearcat

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 07:09:57 PM »
When you say "finish where I want it to", what are you thinking of?  I'd say a beer like that shouldn't go below 1.025-30

Thanks for responding Denny. My hopeful final gravity would be somewhere in the 1.028 range.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 07:14:14 PM »
I like the recipe. FWIW I mash RIS @ 148F/90 mins - a beer that big will have malty sweetness no matter what you do, and it helps avoid a cloying beer. 1056 will perform well at lower temps, so I'd pitch at 60F, hold at 62F, then be sure to ramp up to low 70s once activity drops off, to help it attenuate. I leave mine in primary for a month to give time to attenuate completely and let the yeast clean up. Be sure to oxygenate like crazy ( I'm sure you will). My $0.02  . Let us know how it comes out !
Jon H.

Offline JFMBearcat

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2016, 07:23:01 PM »
I like the recipe. FWIW I mash RIS @ 148F/90 mins - a beer that big will have malty sweetness no matter what you do, and it helps avoid a cloying beer. 1056 will perform well at lower temps, so I'd pitch at 60F, hold at 62F, then be sure to ramp up to low 70s once activity drops off, to help it attenuate. I leave mine in primary for a month to give time to attenuate completely and let the yeast clean up. Be sure to oxygenate like crazy ( I'm sure you will). My $0.02  . Let us know how it comes out !

Many thanks HoosierBrew! I agree on the mash temp, I was planning low, but may go even lower than 151 after reading your thoughts. Sounds like I'm in the right ball park! Yeah I just got an oxygen stone kit from MoreBeer and have all kinds of fun using it, so I'll surely give it all the oxygen it needs. Appreciate the help!

Offline fmader

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1675
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2016, 08:33:27 PM »
I second mashing at 148 and starting your fermentation temps low. Also, another thing to consider is your mash efficiency. You will not reach your standard efficiency rate with a beer this big. I suggest starting around 60% when calculating your recipe.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 08:35:21 PM by fmader »
Frank

Offline JFMBearcat

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2016, 08:37:14 PM »
I second mashing at 148 and starting your fermentation temps low. Also, another thing to consider is your mash efficiency. You will not reach your standard efficiency rate with a beer this big. I suggest starting around 60% when calculating your recipe.

Thanks Frank. I am hitting about 65-70% right now with my system, so I dropped to 55% with this recipe just to be sure. Figure I probably won't hit exactly the OG I want with a beer this big, but it'll hopefully be less DME that I have to use at the end! Sounds like 148F mash temp it is! Sounds so counter intuitive to my prior thought process of higher mash temp always = optimal for big stouts. Glad I did enough research to cure that mindset.

Offline brewinhard

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3250
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2016, 08:40:05 PM »
+1 to all the advice from everybody so far.  Your recipe looks great.

Offline fmader

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1675
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2016, 08:44:44 PM »
I second mashing at 148 and starting your fermentation temps low. Also, another thing to consider is your mash efficiency. You will not reach your standard efficiency rate with a beer this big. I suggest starting around 60% when calculating your recipe.

Thanks Frank. I am hitting about 65-70% right now with my system, so I dropped to 55% with this recipe just to be sure. Figure I probably won't hit exactly the OG I want with a beer this big, but it'll hopefully be less DME that I have to use at the end! Sounds like 148F mash temp it is! Sounds so counter intuitive to my prior thought process of higher mash temp always = optimal for big stouts. Glad I did enough research to cure that mindset.

Yeah. I should have clarified... I'm between 70-75%, so you should be close. With a beer this big, ballpark is good enough in my book. You won't miss a few grav points either way.

I don't do big beers often, but the whole process from start to end is exciting. My last was a RIS brewed a couple months ago. All the hard work and prep and I strapped my temp probe to the carboy on the outside of the insulation. Instead of fermenting at 60, I heated it up and blew the blowoff off lol. It's aging until next winter in a keg, so not sure how it will be. I'm still pissed about that. I share this embarrassment so that anybody who reads it, is at least a little self-conscious when attaching temp controller probes.
Frank

Offline JFMBearcat

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2016, 08:49:36 PM »
+1 to all the advice from everybody so far.  Your recipe looks great.

Thanks, that's great to hear! I'll update the recipe with some pictures when I get it brewed after our daughter is born next week!

Offline dilluh98

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 575
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2016, 09:27:02 PM »
+1 to all the advice from everybody so far.  Your recipe looks great.

Yup. I followed Hooiserbrew's advice to a T on my first RIS (brewed in Jan 2016) and all things point to it being a success so far in terms of recipe, ingredients, process and hydrometer sample tasting. Looking forward to cracking a 12 oz "tester" later in the summer to see how it's coming along.

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2016, 10:01:12 PM »
Yup. I followed Hooiserbrew's advice to a T on my first RIS (brewed in Jan 2016) and all things point to it being a success so far in terms of recipe, ingredients, process and hydrometer sample tasting. Looking forward to cracking a 12 oz "tester" later in the summer to see how it's coming along.



I look forward to seeing how it comes out for ya !
Jon H.

Offline brewinhard

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3250
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2016, 10:43:28 PM »
+1 to all the advice from everybody so far.  Your recipe looks great.

Thanks, that's great to hear! I'll update the recipe with some pictures when I get it brewed after our daughter is born next week!

Wow!  That is cool!  Good luck to you, mom, and baby (on the way).  Always exciting to welcome a new soul onto the planet.

Offline jmitchell3

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2016, 03:00:31 PM »
Yeah congrats!

I think hoosier is right, ferment with 1056 at lower temps on this one.  The way i see it, the bigger the beer, the more yeast stress, the more fusels and other issues created.  Lower fermentation temps help suppress those and get a cleaner more drinkable "big beer".  I fold a hand towel and attach it with a bungee to the side of my fermenter; the temp controller probe goes in there.  According to jamil, it will read within 1F of the temp of the wort in the center of your carboy/bucket/conical.  So if you attach the probe that way, just set your controller to the desired fermentation temp (60F if you go with hoosier's sage advice).

Your malt bill looks great!  Its a balancing act for sure...balancing malt selection, grist composition, mash temp...to yield the body and mouthfeel you desire.  Ive seen partial mash recipes where half the sugars come from dme and the mash temp is 158 to help lend body. Some here mash at 148F, which is on the low end for sure.  However, with the right specialty grains, like oats or flaked barley to add body, a lower mash temp (~150F?) sounds reasonable.  Remember too if you treat it right, that chico yeast will tear through this beer.

All in all, it looks like youve done your homework.  Let us know how it turns out and maybe we'll have to brew it too! 

Cheers, and congrats again!!!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Offline JFMBearcat

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 39
    • View Profile
Re: Mega russian imperial stout - some advice needed please
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2016, 03:20:53 PM »
Just thought I'd update this thread. I brewed this up finally on June 13th, and everything turned out great! Used a 70 quart mash tun for the first time, lowered my efficiency to 50% in Beersmith, and surprisingly hit my numbers spot on without any need for adjustment.

Dumping the mash tun in the woods with 35 or so wet pounds of grain was ridiculous though!

I got a 7 gallon yield @ 1.10, so I fermented 3.5 gallons each in two big mouth bubblers.

Can you believe it, it dropped to 1.030 in 5 days. Five! I took great care of the yeast, but I never would've expected that quick of a drop.

I have since combined the carboys together for about a month of conditioning together, and also so there would be no oxygen in the headspace. I racked the extra gallon into a gallon carboy I had lying around that I use for yeast starters.

Excited for what hopefully turns in to, and I will post some pictures and updates as time goes on! Thanks and cheers.