So I actually brewed my first Russian Imperial Stout last night and it seemed to be a success. I started off a couple days ago by making a huge yeast starter with 5 pints of water and 2 cups of DME. This is about double what a normal yeast starter is I believe. I had a couple issues and learnings from creating my yeast starter which I can talk about at another time.
Brew day began at about 5:30pm. I used Spring water this time. I wanted to make sure to use very pure water for this bad boy, because it's going to be spending so much time maturing. Didn't want any nastyies coming in from the Mississippi river water that I get at my house in NE Minneapolis.
Mashed in right where I wanted at 154 degrees for 1 hour. This should provide a nice thick chewy mouth-feel but also it left some unfermentable sugars that'll probably give it a little bit sweeter of a taste. It also led to my gravity reading being lower then I expected at around 1074. Because of the higher mash temp and my brew-house efficiency somewhere in the 60% range it won't be as high gravity as expected. Not sure if my efficiency went down because it was too big a beer for my Mash tun or because of the higher mash temp. Sparged at 165 for 30 minutes and started a boil with about 7 gallons of wort that looked like it came out of an oil can. I hopped the crap out of it so hopefully the bitterness will blend well with the higher amount of residual sugars created in the higher mash temp.
Over all very successful night that I can only attribute to the fact that I had a great assistant helping me (Assistant Brewer, Beer Drinking Extraordinaire, Bob Pederson-The Great) -Pics/video to be added later here-
malt & fermentables
% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable
71% 13 12 British Pale (Maris Otter)
10% 2 0 American Two-row Pale
8% 1 8 American Chocolate
5% 1 0 Golden Naked Oats
4% 0 12 American Crystal 120L
1% 0 4 Roasted Barley - 550L
Batch size: 5.0 gallons
32° SRM / 62° EBC
boil 60 mins 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
boil 20 mins 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
boil 10 mins 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
boil 1 min 2.0 Warrior pellet 15.0
dry hop 14 days 2.0 Warrior leaf 15.0
155 IBU / 60 HBU
Wyeast Dennys Favorite 50 (huge yeast starter)
Big Papa Stout
Hops and Punishment - Russian Dostoyevsky (Bob pulled this one out of his ass some how!)
Initial thoughts at bottling: The warrior hops give it a nice earthy aroma, and in about 3-4 months all of the flavors should blend nicely. I tasted sweet chocolate, a little bit of espresso, and just a tad of dried fruit, but leaning towards the chocolate side of things. The biggest surprise was the earthiness from the hops. The earthiness must be coming from the dry hops. It may simply be the flavor and aroma of the Warrior hops. The Warrior leaf hops I dry hopped with were about a year old and that may have something to do with it.... or, it may be because I dry hopped it for about a month which is longer then typically recommended for, say, an IPA. I'm sure the hops will dissipate a bit in the 4 months left before my little baby boy is born. Can't wait for that little fucker to get here! Earthy and Russian Imperial Stout seem to work well together in my initial sample.
Tasting notes from 7.17.10- Drank a 12 oz bottle to make sure carbonation was taking place. Seemed to be fully carbonated. Poured a nice jet black pint with a thick brownish head. Nose is of earthy hops (very much more subdued since bottling) and a very little bit dark fruit and a little bit of roastiness. Taste was similar with a pronounced nuttyness that I can only assume is from the Golden Naked Oats. Also some breadyness coming through from the Maris Otter malt. It's a chocolately, nutty, earthy, stout. It definitely needs a little bit of time for everything to mellow out and come together. Tasty beverage!