Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Bolshevik (Russian Imperial Stout)

I've mentioned before that I've been on a huge dark beer craze for the past few months.  I actually used to very much dislike this style, but I opened up to it a bit after trying Great Divide's Oatmeal Yeti.  Since then, I've been hooked.  I originally wanted to brew this to be somewhat like Evil Twin's Imperial Biscotti Break, but I couldn't find a clone recipe anywhere.  As such, this ended up being an amalgamation of various RIS recipes.  As you can see below, its a bit of a "kitchen sink" type recipe.

After this ages for a month or so, I plan to rack half of the batch onto some cacao nibs and potentially a vanilla bean with the other half getting cacao nibs and some tart cherries.

This makes for a very messy brew day.  The huge mash nearly filled my 10gal cooler and I managed to get a decent amount of wort on my floor.  It did smell spectacular though.  Also, due to the huge amount of roasted malt going into this mash, my water chemistry spreadsheets were indicating that the mash pH would drop a bit out of range, so I added some pickling lime to bring it back up to around 5.5.

Brew day then proceeded as normal.  I'll update my notes below as this thing proceeds.

The Bolshevik (Russian Imperial Stout)
Size:  5.25gal -- 90 min boil
Est OG: 1.102
Est FG: 1.026
Est ABV: 10.25%
IBU: 67
SRM: 64

15lb Maris Otter Malt
1.5lb Roasted Barley
1lb Caramel 120L
1lb Chocolate Wheat Malt
1lb Flaked Oats
12oz Carafa II
8oz Black Patent
8oz Caramel 80L
8oz Flaked Wheat
4oz Special B
3lb Light Dry Extract (add at beginning of boil)

2.25oz Magnum @ FWH (59 IBU)
0.5oz Centennial @ 15min (5 IBU)
0.5oz Centennial @ 5min (3 IBU)

1500ml Scottish Ale Yeast (WY1278)

Mash @ 155f for 90 min

2/5/2013 -- Brewed by myself.  Huge mash.  70% efficiency (not too bad).  Gathered 5.25gal of 1.102 wort.  Fermentation kicked off quick and was extremely violent even with a healthy dose of FermCap.

3/11/2013 -- Ashy taste that was evident after the first couple of weeks has faded a bit.  I think this one just needs some time to age out.  Will most likely rack to seconday next week.

3/15/2013 -- Racked half of the batch onto 3oz cacao nibs and 3/4 of a vanilla bean split and quartered.  Racked the other half onto 3oz cacao nibs and 3lbs of Oregan Whole Pitted tart cherries.  Ended up with around 2.5gal in each 3gal carboy.  I'm a little worried about the headspace in the secondaries, but there should still be a bit of fermentation going on that hopefully that purges oxygen in the headspace.

3/20/2013 -- Seeing some visible signs of fermentation on the batch that had cherries added.  Probably a good thing to purge the headspace of oxygen.


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