Friday, November 22, 2013

RECIPE: 1st Place KLCC #52 The Caleb (Imperial Stout on Elijah Craig Bourbon)

I really enjoy an Imperial Stout.  I really enjoy a Bourbon aged Imperial Stout.  What I don't enjoy is the outrageous prices that most breweries charge for such beers.  I realize that there are some world class BA Imperial Stouts, I have had a few, Firestone Walker Porabola and Velvit Merkin, Deschutes' Abyss (I have a 4 year vertical in my cellar), Block 15 Super Nebulat, even a Goose Island BCS a long time ago.  But when I look at my checking account logically, it becomes very difficult to spend the money.  For the cost of 2-3 22oz bottles of a world class beer I can create my own BA Imperial Stout and have 52 12oz bottles (a better format for a big beer anyways!). 

I'm not saying that I am the greatest brewer and my beers are world class, but my two past Imperial Stouts were very enjoyable, and are getting better with age.  I still have about a case of the 10.6% ABV Chipotle Cherry Smoked Imperial Stout from 2 years ago, and a few bottles of my Imperial Milk Stout (2nd batch) from 2010.

For this beer I wanted something with an Imperial Strength but not super strong.  My plan was to begin drinking it by Christmas.  I wanted it to have some time on oak before then as well.  The desired beer was for a lot of chocolate and roast, a bitter finish, low to moderate toffee and dark fruits, some pine/resin in the middle, nice coffee notes, and a silky mouthfeel.  I went high on the roasted grains with a blend of MFB Chocolate, MFB Kiln Coffee, and Roast Barley.  I used British Dark Crystal for toffee and Crystal 135/165 for burnt sugar and raisin.  I added in some Golden Naked Oats for a nice silky mouthfeel and a hint of berries.  I bittered with CTZ and tossed in some Chinook for flavor and aroma.  

I was hoping to get to 9.4%, but all the specialty grains I used combined with the Wyeast 1968 for nutty and fruity esters finished at 71% apparent attenuation with the 149*F overnight mash, leaving it at 8.8% ABV.  It was done fermenting in just over a week with the large, fresh, healthy pitch of yeast from Ninkasi.  It was kegged by 2 weeks, and drinking nice already by 3 weeks (just no real oak/bourbon character yet).  I contemplated adding some sugar to the fermenter to boost the ABV some, but then I would have to wait for it to finish out and may lose the chance to get it ready before Christmas.

NOTE: This beer took 1st place in the KLCC BJCP comp in February 2014 for Wood Aged/Smoked beer category.

Gallons: 5.00
OG: 1.094
FG: 1.027
ABV: 8.77%
IBUs: 71
SRM: 46
Efficiency: 72%
14.50# Pale Malt (Great Western) (78.4%)
1.00# MFB Chocolate Malt (5.4%)
0.50# Oats, Golden Naked (2.7%)
0.50# British Dark Crystal - 75/85L (2.7%)
0.50# Caramel/Crystal Malt – 135/165L (2.7%)
0.50# MFB Kiln Coffee Malt (2.7%)
1.00# Roasted Barley (Crisp) (5.4%) Mixed in 30 mins before Vorlauf
Mash 10 hours @ 148 dropped to 138*F overnight
Sparged with 5 gallons of water for 8.25 gals pre-boil
Boil 150 mins
 90 2.00 oz CTZ 17.5%AA
 25 1.00 oz Chinook 12.0%AA
 5   1.00 oz Chinook 12.0%AA
Kettle Additions:
Gypsum Mash 0  tsp Boil 3/8 tsp
Epsom Salts Mash 3/8 tsp Boil 2/8 tsp
Calcium Chloride Mash 4/8 tsp Boil 7/8 tsp
Baking Soda Mash 3/8 tsp
Pickling Lime Mash 1  tsp
Cooled to: 62*F
Wyeast 1968 London ESB (Ninkasi Slurry)
65-66*F 2 days
68-69*F 1 days
70-71*F 1 days
72-73*F 10 days

Post Fermentation:
2 oz Medium Toast Oak Chips soaked in 2oz (weight) Elijah Craig Bourbon for 4 weeks
45-55*F 20 days (In Keg - on Oak Chips, ambient garage temps)
40*F 2 days (Chilled for enjoyment - oak left in keg until perfect)

11/1-2 Infused with water (leaving out the Roast Barley) and brought to 148*F at 9:45pm.  Wrapped in heating blanket set on high inside sleeping bag.  Down to 138*F by 8:15pm.  Mixed in Roast Barley and heated sparge water.  Ran off first runnings into large kettle and sparged with 5 gallons.  Collected 8.5 gallons (1 gallon short of intended volume).  Adjusted boil time down from 3 hours to 2.5.  Brought to boil and added hops per recipe.  Added 1/2 gallon of water with 30 minutes left as more boil off occured than expected.  Whirlpooled for 15 minutes, then chilled to 62*F.  Pumped 4.875 gallons to 6 gallon Better Bottle, topped off with 1 pint (pre-boiled) water to 5 gallons.  Pitched just under 1 cup of thick slurry from Ninkasi at 12:30.  Aerated for 25 minutes, 3 shots of foam control.   Fermentation signs by 6pm. 

11/3 Still at 62*F, 1+ inch, thick krausen before church, added heat blanket and set to 65*F.  After church krausen is up to the neck of the Better Bottle, added 2 more shots of foam control and swirled.  Came home around 5:30pm to an airlock full of krausen.  Fitted with blow off tube in quart jar filled 1/3 with StarSan.  StarSan was black by bed time.

11/4 Quart jar now 2/3 full of liquid with thick yeast bubbles overflowing down the sides into the bottom of the ferm fridge.  Swapped out for jar 1/3 full of water to keep from bubbling so much (StarSan).  By lunch time the krausen had dropped back down to around 2 inches.  Upped temp to 68*F.

11/5 Krausen has dropped.  Swirled fermenter to get yeast back up in suspension to keep working.  Bumped up to 70*F.

11/6 Gravity reading shows 1.031.  Smells nice, hint of higher alcohols and hops.  Lots of chocolate in the taste, balanced, deep roast in the finish.  Bumped up to 72*F, swirled fermenter to rouse yeast back up.

11/7 Gravity shows 1.029, still dropping.  Roused yeast once more to keep it in suspension and doing its thing.  Flushed BB with CO2.

11/11 Gravity down to 1.027, not sure if it will drop anymore than that.  8.8% ABV.

11/16 Kegged with 0.2oz Medium Toast American Oak chips that were soaking in Elijah Criag bourbon to 4 weeks.  Strained off bourbon and added wood only.

11/25 Took a taste and there is a very prominent chemical like aroma on it, will have to watch to see what happens with this - it is not the beer, brand new keg line and it is throwing lots of chemicals into the beer in line.

12/1 Added another 0.8oz of Oak chips (I thought I had more initially but no way it was 2 oz), and 2oz (weight) Elijah Craig.  Boiled chips in water to sanitize and dumped everything in, water, chips, Bourbon.

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