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!

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One thought on “Brewday 25: Russian Imperial Stout

  1. So after some advice I racked this beer into a clean FV, added a heater to bring the temperature back up to 18C and pitched a new packet of yeast (Mangrove Jacks Dark Ale yeast) which is more suitable for high alcohol brews. Albeit slow, the fermentation has restarted and after 3 weeks the gravity is now down to 1.016 which means the ABV is up to around 8.8%.
    Much more like a Russian Imperial Stout now, and the yeast may even go down a bit lower than it is too!

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