Russian Imperial Stout Recipe (Countertop Partial Mash)

Char_T-34

The Russian T-34 tank, one of the best all-around tanks of WWII. I think they are very fun to drive (when playing Medal of Honor on my Playstation).
(Photo from Wikipedia’s T-34 page, used under Creative Commons license.)

This is a partial mash recipe for a Russian imperial stout. The recipe will work with any partial mash method, but the procedures specifically refer to countertop partial mashing.

There are several challenges to brewing a beer this big and hoppy. One of them is that there will be a lot of break material and hop debris at the bottom of the kettle. I employ a settling stage of about two hours to let the kettle debris settle and compact a bit. (If you have a way to filter the wort, this will also work.)

The classic rookie mistake when making a big beer is to pitch an inadequate amount of yeast. For this recipe, I recommend pitching two packets of dried yeast so the fermentation will start quickly and proceed without sticking. Aerating the wort thoroughly and holding the fermentation temperature steady around 68 °F (20 °C) are the other most important factors in brewing this beer.

My procedures call for collecting the wort from the mash and holding this at 150 °F (66 °C). A little less than half of the malt extract will be in the brewpot at this point. The point of this is to let the enzymes from the mash work on the carbohydrates from the malt extract. If you follow this instruction, and pitch the amount of yeast I recommend, you should get between 75 and 80% apparent attenuation. Given the OG, this will still be a full-bodied beer. However, it will not be sweet and will instead be surprisingly quaffable for a beer of it’s size.

This beer requires some aging to come into the proper condition. However, if you pitch enough yeast and run your fermentation well, you don’t need to wait forever for it to get good. Try sampling the first beers roughly two months after your brew day. You can age of your batch for extended amount of times if you’d like. However, don’t forget to drink some of it while it’s fresh and full of hop flavor and aroma. This will decline with aging.

To brew this beer, you will need a 2-gallon (~8-L) beverage cooler with the spigot on the bottom and a steeping bag large enough to line it. You will also need a second steeping bag capable of holding 3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) of crushed grains. Follow the instructions as closely as possible, and review the general instructions for countertop partial mashing before your brew day.

 

T-34 Stout

Russian Imperial Stout

Partial mash; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A big (9.6% ABV), roasty, hoppy stout. This ale is very flavorful and full-bodied, but attenuated enough that it is not too sweet.

INGREDIENTS (for 5 gallons)

 

Water

carbon filtered tap water

if you adjust your water chemistry, shoot for 100 ppm Ca2+ and 300 ppm HCO3(if you know you have little or no carbonates in your water, add 1/4 tsp. sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the mash and 1/4 tsp. to the steeping water)

Malt (for an OG of 1.095 and 77 SRM)

3.5 lbs. English pale malt

1.5 lb. black malt

1.0 lb. roasted barley

0.75 lb. chocolate malt

0.75 lbs. dark crystal malt (90 °L)

7.0 lbs. light dried malt extract

Hops (for 76 IBU total)

Challenger hops (68 IBU)

1.5 oz., at 14% alpha acids, boiled for 60 minutes

Fuggles hops (4 IBU)

0.5 oz., at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 15 minutes

Kent Goldings hops (3 IBU)

0.5 oz., at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 10 minutes

Kent Goldings hops

0.5 oz., at 5% alpha acids, added at knockout

Yeast (for an FG of 1.021 and 9.6% ABV)

two 11.5 g sachets Fermentis Safale US-05

Other

0.5 tsp. Irish moss (boil for 15 mins)

1/2 tsp yeast nutrients (boil for 5 minutes)

5.0 oz. corn sugar (to prime for 2.4 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURES

Crush the pale malt separately from the other malts. Mix the crystal malt and the dark malts together. Line the 2-gallon beverage cooler with a large steeping bag. Heat 5.5 quarts of water to 163 °F.  Add a couple cups of hot water to the cooler, then add the same volume of pale malt, stir, and repeat until you’ve used up all the pale malt. Then add 0.50 lb. of the mixed roasted and specialty malts in the same fashion on top of the pale malts. Add the rest of the water, if needed, so you have 4.0 lbs. of grain in the cooler and 5.5 qts. of water. Let this sit, at 152 °F, for 60 minutes to mash. (The temperature will likely drop 4–5 °F in this time. This is fine.) While the malts are mashing in the cooler, steep the remaining specialty malts at 150 °F in 7.0 qts. of water in your brewpot. In a separate pot, heat 5.0 quarts of water to 170 °F. When the mash is done, remove the steeping grains from your brewpot, and stir in roughly 3 pounds of the malt extract. Heat this to 150 °F and hold the wort in your brewpot around 150 °F as you collect the wort from the cooler. Recirculate the wort in the cooler, and run off the wort as you normally would — collect a cup or two of wort and pour it in the brew pot, then pour the same volume of sparge water on top of the grain bed. Wait about 30 seconds between each round of collecting wort and adding sparge water. When you are done, you should have about 3.5 gallons of wort in your brew pot. Bring the wort to a boil, add the first dose of hops, and boil for 60 minutes. Add the other hops, yeast nutrients, and Irish moss at times indicated. Stir the remaining malt extract into the wort in the last few minutes of the boil. (The best way to do this is put a portion of the dried malt extract in a separate pot, then ladle hot wort onto it. Once dissolved, pour it into the boil. Stir the wort, then repeat until all the extract is stirred in.) Put the lid on the brewpot, loosely, for the final few minutes of the boil and let the steam sanitize it. Chill the wort to 68 °F, then cover the pot and let it sit for two hours. This will let the hops and break material settle, and compact a bit. Siphon off as much clear wort as you can to your fermenter. Cover the brewpot again. Add water to your fermenter make just short of 5 gallons, aerate this wort, and pitch the yeast. Several hours later (or the next day), the “gunk” at the bottom of the brewpot should have settled some more. Pour off the clear wort and add it to your fermenter. Adjust the volume with water to make 5 gallons, if needed. Ferment at 68 °F. When the fermentation slows greatly, swirl the fermenter wants, and let the temperature rises to 72 °F. When fermentation stops, rack to a secondary fermenter and let the beer age for 3 weeks before bottling or kegging. Let the beer age for at least another month.

 

 

T-34 Stout

Russian Imperial Stout

Partial mash; metric units

 

INGREDIENTS (for 19 L)

 

Water

carbon filtered tap water

if you adjust your water chemistry, shoot for 100 ppm Ca2+ and 300 ppm HCO3(if you know you have little or no carbonates in your water, add 1/4 tsp. sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the mash and 1/4 tsp. to the steeping water)

Malt (for an OG of 1.095 and 77 SRM)

1.6 kg English pale malt

680 g black malt

450 g roasted barley

340 g chocolate malt

340 g dark crystal malt (90 °L)

3.2 kg light dried malt extract

Hops (for 76 IBU total)

Challenger hops (68 IBU)

43 g, at 14% alpha acids, boiled for 15 minutes

Fuggles hops (4 IBU)

14 g, at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 15 minutes

Kent Goldings hops (3 IBU)

14 g, at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 10 minutes

Kent Goldings hops

14 g, at 5% alpha acids, added at knockout

Yeast (for an FG of 1.021 and 9.6% ABV)

two 11.5 g sachets Fermentis Safale US-05

Other

0.5 tsp. Irish moss (boil for 15 mins)

1/2 tsp yeast nutrients (boil for 5 minutes)

140 g corn sugar (to prime for 2.4 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURES

Crush the pale malt separately from the other malts. Mix the crystal malt and the dark malts together. Line the 2-gallon (~ 8 L) beverage cooler with a large steeping bag. Heat 5.2 L of water to 73 °C.  Add a couple cups of hot water to the cooler, then add the same volume of pale malt, stir, and repeat until you’ve used up all the pale malt. Then add 230 g of the mixed roasted and specialty malts in the same fashion on top of the pale malts. Add the rest of the water, if needed, so you have 1.8 kg  of grain in the cooler and 5.2 L. of water. Let this sit, at 67 °C,  for 60 minutes to mash. (The temperature will likely drop 2–3 °C in this time. This is fine.) While the malts are mashing in the cooler, steep the remaining specialty malts at 66 °C in 6.6 L of water in your brewpot. In a separate pot, heat 4.7 L of water to 77 °C. When the mash is done, remove the steeping grains from your brewpot, and stir in roughly 1.5 kg of the malt extract. Heat this to 66 °C and hold the wort in your brewpot around 66 °C as you collect the wort from the cooler. Recirculate the wort in the cooler, and run off the wort as you normally would — collect a cup or two of wort and pour it in the brew pot, then pour the same volume of sparge water on top of the grain bed. Wait about 30 seconds between each round of collecting wort and adding sparge water. When you are done, you should have about 13 L of wort in your brew pot. Bring the wort to a boil, add the first dose of hops, and boil for 60 minutes. Add the other hops, yeast nutrients, and Irish moss at times indicated. Stir the remaining malt extract into the wort in the last few minutes of the boil. (The best way to do this is put a portion of the dried malt extract in a separate pot, then ladle hot wort onto it. Once dissolved, pour it into the boil. Stir the wort, then repeat until all the extract is stirred in.) Put the lid on the brewpot, loosely, for the final few minutes of the boil and let the steam sanitize it. Chill the wort to 20 °C, then cover the pot and let it sit for two hours. This will let the hops and break material settle, and compact a bit. Siphon off as much clear wort as you can to your fermenter. Cover the brewpot again. Add water to your fermenter make just short of 19 L, aerate this wort, and pitch the yeast. Several hours later (or the next day), the “gunk” at the bottom of the brewpot should have settled some more. Pour off the clear wort and add it to your fermenter. Adjust the volume with water to make 19 L, if needed. Ferment at 20 °C. When the fermentation slows greatly, swirl the fermenter wants, and let the temperature rises to 22 °C. When fermentation stops, rack to a secondary fermenter and let the beer age for 3 weeks before bottling or kegging. Let the beer age for at least another month.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Alexander Gashti says:

    Hello Chris,

    For the metric partial mash recipe, the bittering addition is listed as 15 min.

    I am brewing the beer this weekend. Wish me luck. I really want to bottle condition the beer and have concerns the yeast will be way too stressed after this fermentation. It’s my understanding that a high osmotic pressure (such as this OG) together with a long lagering time reduce yeast viability required for bottle conditioning. Is it possible for you to address adding active yeast with priming sugar such a beer to aide in the bottle conditioning?

    • Chris Colby says:

      Hey Alexander,
      It is possible for yeast to lose a lot of viability after a high-gravity fermentation followed by a long conditioning step. You can add some fresh yeast to the bottling bucket to counteract this. You don’t need much, only enough to ferment the priming sugar, which only adds about 0.002 to the specific gravity of the beer. This would require less than a gram of yeast per 5 gallons. However, in the high gravity beer, I think it’s best to “overpitch” in this situation. When I add bottling yeast, I add about 1/4 tsp. per 5 gallons. (I’m not sure of the weight of that yeast, probably a few grams.) Rehydrate the dried yeast first. Good luck!

  2. Alexander Gashti says:

    Thanks Chris,

    I was thinking if I didn’t sparge, this has good potential as Foreign Extra Stout. Do you agree?

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