Brewday 25: Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed 26/09/14

Not put off by the issues with brewday 24 I cracked on with the next brew. A Russian Imperial Stout. A big, no, a GIGANTIC beer, 9%+ full of roasted malty flavours. This one would be a Christmas beer but not for this year, it would need at least 10 months aging in bottles until Christmas 2015! I also had purchased some Oak Cubes to age part of this brew in a secondary FV before bottling as an experiment. The target OG was 1.103 to leave me with 23l at 9.65% – the grain bill for this one would be a monster!

The recipe for the Russian Imperial Stout today:

  • 9kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 450g Special B Malt
  • 400g Roasted Barley
  • 230g CaraMunich Malt
  • 230g Chocolate Malt
  • 30g Galena hops @ 60 minutes
  • 30g Galena hops @ 30 minutes
  • 30g Willamette hops @ 15 minutes
  • 2tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 minutes
  • 2 packets S04 yeast

Another workday mash for this brewday however I must have over-sparged this time as I ended up with an OG of 1.086, almost 20points short on target, and a bit more pre-boil volume than expected. As long as the yeast worked their magic I would still finish with slightly more beer at around 8% ABV which would be close enough for my first attempt! Unfortunately for me, the fermentation finished at 1.032, 1 point over target. Despite using two packets of S04 the pitching rate wasn’t sufficient to continue the fermentation down past the target FG and as a result the final ABV is 6.7%. This means the finished beer is too weak to be a Russian Imperial Stout and too strong to be a normal Stout! Even at this early stage it still tastes phenomenal and will be bottled shortly before being put away to condition.

I’ve learnt a lot from this attempt about the importance of correct yeast pitching rates. One of my next projects will be a DIY stir plate and then to start using properly grown yeast starters in my all my planned brews, especially so with the high ABV ones!

Brewday 24: Brewers Gold

Brewed 19/09/2014

Time for another blog update amnesty while I prepare the brewery to finally make a start with 2015’s brew list in a couple of weeks time!

This brewday was supposed to be a nice quick brew in order to fill the third Corny Keg in the beer fridge as it was sitting empty! I hadn’t brewed this Brewers Gold clone for a while and added a couple of tweaks to the recipe from the last brew. It’s becoming more like my brew than a clone now I guess!

The recipe for the Brewers Gold Clone(ish) today:

  • 4kg Lager Malt
  • 150g Wheat Malt
  • 150g CaraAmber Malt
  • 20g Brewers Gold hops @ 60 minutes
  • 40g Brewers Gold hops @ 15 minutes
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
  • 40g Brewers Gold hops @ 0 minutes
  • 1 packet Nottingham yeast

Writing this 5 months later I think I may still be mentally scarred by this brewday! The workday mash was perfect, the transfer to the boiler and the boil went without hitch, but then disaster struck at 0 minutes when I chose to recirculate the hot wort through the hopback with the final 40g of Brewers Gold. I made the mistake of leaving the room to see the wife and when I walked back in 10 minutes later I discovered the lid on the hopback hadn’t sealed perfectly and there was a spray of hot wort 4 foot up the wall and all over the brew bench! I lost almost 8 litres to this leak ending up with slightly over 15l instead of 23l! Target OG was high too and the final beer finished at 5.1% instead of 4.5% abv.

At least it tasted good after all the mess!