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Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extract?

Posted: |19 Oct 2014|, 12:32
by twistandstout
I've always wanted to brew a big Imperial Stout - something hefty and 'chewy' - weighing in at around 10% ABV. I don't have an all-grain set up yet, but would still like to try to make a RIS.

What I'm asking is, do you think I could brew a really successful RIS with my limited set-up?

Here is my set-up:

I used a 5 gallon brewpot and only boil around 3-3.5 gallons at the most. I've begun doing half-batches (2.5 gallons) and it's a lot easier this way since I can boil the full 2.5-3 gallons and then have 2.5 gallons of wort left afterwards. Much easier to chill as well (no wort chiller). Less heavy, less bottling time, more space in my house :D , etc, so lots of perks to the half batches.
I have a 6-7 gallon fermentation bucket and a secondary carboy.
My house is not temperature regulated, but the ambient temperature of my basement is around 70 degrees.
I have access to all sorts of yeasts, from dry yeasts to those activator packets that swell.

So, given that, do you believe I could brew a very nice 10% ABV RIS using my current set-up? I've got a bunch of specialty grains left - chocolate malt, midnight wheat, crystal 40 and 60, etc. I really like those big chocolate/coffee aroma stouts. I wanted to brew one for christmas.

Any tips on extract brewing a RIS, how much time to ferment such a big beer, etc?

Really appreciate the help! :cheers:

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |19 Oct 2014|, 18:49
by Warthaug
Its been a while since I've brewed extract, but I made a number of great stouts - including RIS's - back when I was an extract brewer. Here's an old recipe from my brew-log that apparently tasted very good, if my rambling notes are to be believed...

7 lbs. amber extract
3 lbs. light extract
1 lb. crystal malt, 60° Lovibond
0.25 lb. roasted barley
0.25 lb. black (patent) malt
2 oz. High alpha-acid bittering hop (~13% alpha acid), for 60 min. This recipe is so old it called for Erocia...don't use Erocia.
0.5 oz. EKG's or Fuggels, 10 min.
Wyeast 1084 liquid (Irish ale) or London Ale

Crush & seep grains for 30min; add extract, bring to a boil and hop as per the schedule.

Bryan

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |19 Oct 2014|, 21:53
by twistandstout
Thanks for the post! Stouts are alien territory for me at the moment. I've never brewed a stout. I recently did a black ipa which is sort of stout-ish. But then again, not really.

So I'm thinking crystal for that overall mouthfeel/caramel, and then what would other good malts be? Carapils? Roasted barley? Chocolate malt? Midnight wheat? Black patent?

Any combinations off limits?

I really enjoy that coffee/chocolate aroma/taste.

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |20 Oct 2014|, 07:31
by Reignman
Can you toss in some corn sugar to get the gravity up?

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |20 Oct 2014|, 09:25
by Goulaigan
Slightly off topic, but if you are setup for 2.5 gal extract, the only equipment you would really need to add is a good thermometer and a brew bag and you can do all-grain BIAB. Might be close to the limit on your kettle for really big beers such as this one tho... The BIABacus would tell you for sure.

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |20 Oct 2014|, 10:08
by twistandstout
Hmmm..never saw this brew in a bag method. Sounds interesting. I was going to steep specialty grains and only use light DME, but this is a possibility too. However, my LHBS only sells 50 pound bags of grain so I'm not sure I'd want that much grain at my house since I don't brew that often. DME works fine for me at the moment. But it's really interesting, I'll definitely read up on it and watch some youtube tutorials. Thanks for that.

As for corn sugar, do people do this? I read of brown sugar or molasses to bring the gravity up? Added at the end of boil? Is there a specific reason people add these types of sugars rather than just using more grain?

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |20 Oct 2014|, 10:19
by Goulaigan
Sugar is 100% fermentable, adding very little in the way of body or flavour, although brown sugar etc might give a bit of flavour compared to corn sugar. Can also dry the beer out if its not well balanced with malt profile, or if you use too much.

If you want some really good info on BIAB, check out biabrewer.info, and definitely check out the biabacus there, its a free spreadsheet that's actually a pretty powerful brewing tool for biab.

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |20 Oct 2014|, 12:20
by twistandstout
Goulaigan wrote:Sugar is 100% fermentable, adding very little in the way of body or flavour, although brown sugar etc might give a bit of flavour compared to corn sugar. Can also dry the beer out if its not well balanced with malt profile, or if you use too much.

If you want some really good info on BIAB, check out biabrewer.info, and definitely check out the biabacus there, its a free spreadsheet that's actually a pretty powerful brewing tool for biab.
Thanks! I'll have a look.

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |20 Oct 2014|, 16:54
by Warthaug
twistandstout wrote:Thanks for the post! Stouts are alien territory for me at the moment. I've never brewed a stout. I recently did a black ipa which is sort of stout-ish. But then again, not really.

So I'm thinking crystal for that overall mouthfeel/caramel, and then what would other good malts be? Carapils? Roasted barley? Chocolate malt? Midnight wheat? Black patent?

Any combinations off limits?

I really enjoy that coffee/chocolate aroma/taste.
If extract brewing you'll obviously need to avoid any malts that require conversion to use. That said, everything you've listed above should be OK.

Bryan

Re: Is it possible to brew a great Imperial Stout using extr

Posted: |21 Oct 2014|, 11:09
by ECH
OBK makes an Imperial Stout, supposed to come out to 8.5%, you might be able to bump that up with some addition.

http://www.ontariobeerkegs.com/Imperial ... -stout.htm