Opinions Imperial Stout

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migi

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Hi guys,
Planning a small brew for this weekend (5L), what do you think about this Imperial Stout recipe?


Original Gravity: 1.095
Final Gravity: 1.023
IBU (Tinseth): 85
BU/GU: 0.90
Color: 78 EBC


Mash
Temperature — 65 °C60 min
Mash Out — 75 °C10 min

Malts (2.316 kg)
1.55 kg (66.9%) — Simpsons Pale Ale Finest Maris Otter — Grain — 5 EBC
250 g (10.8%) — Weyermann Extra Pale Premium Pilsner — Grain — 3 EBC
200 g (8.6%) — Weyermann, Beech Smoked Barley Malt — Grain — 8 EBC
100 g (4.3%) — Briess Oats, Flaked — Grain — 2.8 EBC
66 g (2.9%) — Weyermann Roasted Barley — Grain — 1100 EBC
50 g (2.2%) — Weyermann Caraaroma — Grain — 350 EBC
50 g (2.2%) — Weyermann Carafa Special I (Chocolate) — Grain — 900 EBC
50 g (2.2%) — Weyermann Caramunich III — Grain — 140 EBC

Hops (31 g)
17 g (85 IBU) — Nugget 13% — Boil — 60 min
7 g
— Centennial 10.6% — Boil — 0 min
7 g
— Chinook 12.1% — Boil — 0 min

Yeast
11 g — Fermentis S-04 SafAle English Ale 75%
 
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Other than adding a tiny bit of sweetness, the Caramunich will get lost alongside all those roasted grains. I'm not even sure the Caraaroma will come through. The pilsner malt won't hurt, but are you including it to help convert starches, since MO is not very high in diastatic power? If so, keep in mind that the starch in caramel malts is already mostly or fully converted.
 

migi

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That's right, yankinoz. So don't you think that the Caraaroma + Carafa+ Caramunich + Smoked Malt combination will result in a too much sweet beer? I was a bit worried about it. Planning to send it for a brewing competition and I was looking for something with a degree of complexity. And I have too many malts at home!
 
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The smoked malt is probably not a caramel. It will add smoke flavour, not sweetness. It's an unusual, but not rare, component in commercial imperial stouts. What your beer's judges would think of it, who knows? At that percentage, which is near the top of Weyermann's recommended range, it will likely dominate and mask any caramel that isn't quite strong. I'm not sure how well the Carafa will come through alongside roasted barley and smoke.

Adding grains for "complexity" often loses them in the mix. They do neither harm nor good.
 

MHB

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I would like to see any stout over 100EBC, an Imperial probably over 150 even 200EBC.
Just needs the true opaque blackness to be convincing.
Not sure where you are up to with water chemistry but you might need a bit of chalk, big black stouts can be too acidic. You are looking at 9.6%ABV, I like S-04 but it might be getting close to its limits, perhaps Nottingham would be a good call, it works well in big black beers and I would probably use the whole 11g packet in your 5L brew.
A fair wack of the above is just personal taste but less than 80EBC just isn’t convincing.
Mark
 

GrumpyPaul

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I would like to see any stout over 100EBC, an Imperial probably over 150 even 200EBC.
Just needs the true opaque blackness to be convincing.

Not disagreeing by any means - because I like my stouts as black as the Ace of Spades too.

But you got me looking at styleguides and I was surprised that BJCP has 79 EBC as the upper end of the range for an Imperial Stout.

@migi did say he is planning to enter into a comp - But I cant imagine a Stout, particularly an Imperial, being marked down for being too dark.

One of the guys at our club ( that does tend to do very well in comps) always says aim for the extremes of the style so it stands out /gets the attention of the judges. Middle of the range tends to get judged as a "meh - middle of the road" beer.
 

migi

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The smoked malt is probably not a caramel. It will add smoke flavour, not sweetness. It's an unusual, but not rare, component in commercial imperial stouts. What your beer's judges would think of it, who knows? At that percentage, which is near the top of Weyermann's recommended range, it will likely dominate and mask any caramel that isn't quite strong. I'm not sure how well the Carafa will come through alongside roasted barley and smoke.

Adding grains for "complexity" often loses them in the mix. They do neither harm nor good.

Thanks for the feedback guys, finally, I decided not using the smoked malt. I didn't use the cararoma either, and I increased a bit Caramunich. I changed the yeast, I had one pkg of Nottingham yeast at home:


All Grain, 9.2%
63% efficiency
Batch Volume: 7.8 L

Original Gravity: 1.096
Final Gravity: 1.024
IBU (Tinseth): 84
BU/GU: 0.88
Color: 80 EBC


Malts (3.639 kg)
2.73 kg (75%) — Simpsons Pale Ale Finest Maris Otter — Grain — 5 EBC
390 g (10.7%) — Weyermann Extra Pale Premium Pilsner — Grain — 3 EBC
160 g (4.4%) — Weyermann Caramunich III — Grain — 140 EBC
156 g (4.3%) — Briess Oats, Flaked — Grain — 2.8 EBC
103 g (2.8%) — Weyermann Roasted Barley — Grain — 1100 EBC
100 g (2.8%) — Weyermann Carafa I — Grain — 900 EBC


Hops (49.1 g)
27.3 g (84 IBU) — Nugget 13% — Boil — 60 min
10.9 g
— Centennial 10.6% — Boil — 0 min
10.9 g
— Chinook 12.1% — Boil — 0 min

Yeast
1 pkg — Lallemand (LalBrew) Nottingham Yeast 75%

Totally agree with @GrumpyPaul and @MHB about the color. I was also surprised about the EBC limit of 79 for this style (actually I realized because the brewfather app advice). The beer it's on the limits for EBC and IBU, so let's see what the judges think...
Brewed yesterday, airlock bubble very vigorous in less than 24h
 

MHB

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Makes no sense to me, just looked at a couple of beers for the "Commercial Examples" listed in the BJCP, they are all 100EBC (50SRM) or above, where I can find any info. The others show pictures that are likewise way darker than the BJCP upper limit. Mind you, far from the first time I have disagreed with the BJCP - just don’t get me started on Kölsch!

Michael Jackson says 40+SRM so roughly 80EBC and above.
Personally I would aim for "As black as my evil heart" and damn any judge that didn’t like it.
Again personally, I find a fair whack of Aromatic malt helps to fill in the aroma. Would also look to get a fair amount of my blackness from de-husked or husk-less black malt/grain, say Carafa Special, Roast Wheat, Roast Rye... Just to avoid the astringency in Dry Irish Stout getting too far out of hand.
Mark
 

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