Saturday, January 29, 2011

Batch 103, Russian Imperial Stout

Twelve of us in the brew club are making this same recipe, then we'll each contribute 5 gallons to age in a bourbon barrel that Rick at Brewforia has. We'll fill the barrel in March and split it up toward the end of the summer.

I did this as a partigyle batch, so I got 5 gallons of Russian Imperial Stout and 5 gallons of brown ale. I think the brown ale will fit the Northern English Brown (11C) style.

Here is the base recipe:

28 lbs 2-row
1 lb wheat
1 lb crystal 60
1 lb crystal 120
1 lb special B
10 oz roasted barley
10 oz chocolate malt

1.5 oz Columbus at 90 min
1.0 oz Northern Brewer at 30 min
1.0 oz Northern Brewer at 15 min

90 minute boil.

This should give an IBU of 45. I was supposed to use Zeus, but they didn't have any at the store, and supposedly Columbus and Zeus and Tomahawk are all the same hop. These are all pellet hops, which, as usual, clogged my screen even though I put them in nylons.

This grain bill gives a starting gravity of 1.079. Using this chart,,
and using the 50/50 column, I should get a strong beer at 1.105 with 40 SRM and a small beer at 1.052 with 17 SRM.

I used 42 quarts to mash, and mashed at 150F for 60 minutes. I could have stopped the mash sooner since an iodine test said it was done at 45 minutes, but I was getting stuff ready.

Water calculation:
33.5 lbs grain x 1.25 qts per lbs  = 42 qts strike water
absorption = 17 qts
which gives me 42 - 17 = 25 quarts to run off = 6.25 gallons
add 6 qts at end of mash to run off 7.5 gallons to boil

This worked out perfectly, I ended up with just what I'd calculated. I used all of the hops in the strong beer. The actual OG was 1.108, with 5.5 gallons in the fermenter, so it was slightly high, but I'm not complaining!

For the small beer, I sparged with 7 gallons and collected 6.5 gallons to boil and another half gallon to use for a yeast starter. I only did a 60 minute boil so it would be done and in the fermenter before the strong beer was done boiling. For hops, I used:

0.5 oz Columbus
0.5 oz Perle

I added both at 60 minutes, which should give me 33 IBU. This is slightly out of spec for an English Brown Ale. I had originally thought this would be an American Brown ale, which allows IBUs up to 40, but as I mention below, I ended up using an English yeast rather than an American yeast.

Again, these were pellet hops.  No clogging on this one because I used my HLT as the boil kettle for this, and my HLT does not have a screen, so any hops residue ended up in the fermenter.

The small beer also ended up just right, 5.5 gallons of OG 1.052 wort in the fermenter. Overall, I was pretty pleased with this, a little math up front and the numbers came out just right in the end.

One other change -- I was supposed to use Wyeast 1056 yeast, but the store was out of it, and they were out of 1272. The ESB from batch 102 is done, so while the boil was on, I kegged the ESB and harvested the yeast to reuse in this batch. I used Wyeast 1275, Thames Valley yeast, in the ESB, so it's an English strain rather than an American strain, but it is an appropriate and historically accurate yeast for a stout and for a Northern English Brown ale.

Update, Feb 15, 2011: Kegged both. FG on both was 1.018, which seems just about right for the RIS and a little high for the brown.

Update, Mar 18, 2011: The brown has been on tap for about 5 days, getting carbed. It is f*ing awesome!


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