Washington Imperial Stout Mead - The Darkest Sin -

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seth8530

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Brewing up an 18 gallon batch of a buckwheat bochet Washington Imperial Stout a mead akin to a Russian imperial stout but with no grain. I am basing my recipe off of the 2005 American homebrewer association Russian Imperial Stout winner. http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/VeronicasImperialStout

The general plan is to have an OG of 1.080 volume of around 16ish gallons, ferment dry, maybe add a bit of wood and backsweeten to around 1.030. Giving me the same ABV, 10.5%, and final gravity, 1.035, as the award winning Russian Imperial Stout.

But wait, ain't RIS supposed to be roasty with a complex grain character? Why yes, yes they are. That is why I plan on taking the original gravity up to 1.080 with buckwheat honey caramlyzed to around 290F and tasting for roasty character once dry. If it lacks the needed complexity and roasty character I plan on backsweetining with some buckwheat honey that is taken up to around 300-310F. (Note: that at around 300ish F buckwheat honey starts to go from a malty chocolaty flavor to a slight burnt flavor).

But wait, isn't RIS supposed to be hoppy. Why yes, yes it is. Keep in mind that the maximum hop extraction from a boiling process is around 100 IBUs. Also note that if you calculate the IBUs for Veronicas Imperial Stout you get an IBU count over 100. Thus if I want the same IBUs and a 16 gallon batch I will have to boil an entire 16 gallons of hop water instead of simply boiling a super hop dense 5 gallons of water and diluting down to 16 gallons.

So here I am, after quite a few trial runs caramelizing different kinds of honey to a variety of temperatures. I am finally committing, The Darkest Sin.
 

seth8530

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Zeroth Step:

Starter!
Back a 4 gallon starter of WLP007 yeast.
I used sugar water to 1.040 and added FermaidO as appropriate.

First Step:

Boil the hops! Repeat 3 times for until a total of 15 gallons of hop tea is achieved.

60 minute boils
2 oz Centennial
2 oz Perle
2 oz Fuggles

10 minute boils
1 oz Wilamette

0 minute boils
0.25 oz Norther Brewer

Second Step:

caramelize the honey.

Great care must be taken when boiling honey as its volume can expand by quite a few times higher than its original volume. To reach my ABV and volume target (18 gallons and 16 with losses) I will need to use 3.35 gallons of honey. Since my biggest pot is 8 gallons I will caramelize in two batches to avoid dangerous boil overs. Also note, that once I reach my target temperature I should let it cool for a bit and then add some cool water to it to prevent it from forming a solid in my new to me brew kettle.

Third Step:

Ferment!

Cool the must in the fermentation chamber until it reaches 64F. Plan on a fermentation temp of around 64F for a cleaner American style fermentation. Don't forget nutrition! We will need a total of 17 grams of FermaidK and 436 grams of FermaidO based on an initial gravity of 1.080 and an assumed high nutrition need from the beer yeast. Add all of the FermiadK up front and 218 grams of the FermaidO up front. Once we reach a gravity of 1.053 add the remaining 218 grams of FermaidO.

Fourth Step:

Rack!
Once ferment is nearly complete rack into carboys and wait for a while. Consider giving them some oak staves to think on.

Fifth Step:

Wait! ... Patiently

Sixth Step:

Taste!

Stabalyze and backsweeten to around 1.030 with caramelized buckwheat. If needed use some slightly over done buckwheat to provide some roasty flavors.

Seventh Step:

Thirsty!

Rack to kegs and serve! Yum!
 

seth8530

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Alright, batch got started. Ended up having to make three or four separate batches of hot tea to get a total of around 12.5 gallons of hop tea with IBUs likely north of 100 ( likely pretty much hit extraction limit). 38 lbs of buckwheat honey was caramlyzed in two batches. The smaller batch made it up to around 250F and the larger only up to around 242F (stove suffered an electrical failure). I suspect I have somewhere between 16 and 18 gallons of must at 1.084. I have begun fermentation under temperature control at 64F. I did observe that the honey continued to change color even when the temperature stalled out at around 245F. This does seem to indicate part of the bochet reaction is a temperature vs time phenomena.

As of right now the must is quite bitter (hops) but taste of chocolate. I am pretty excited to see how this guy turns out. Other than the greater than expected difficulty in producing all the hop tea that I needed and not getting the bochet temp as high as I wanted I would say it went pretty well. This would of been much faster and easier if I had a large induction/gas burner and some sort of cooling coil. Once the mead goes dry if more color and toasty bitterness is desired I can backsweeten with some extra carmalyzed honey.






 

seth8530

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Gravity is down to around 1.050, Fermentation is moving fast. I added the rest of the nutrient in. The watch sample I set to the side is already at 1.030. As the sugar content has dropped a bit I am starting to pick up some of those distinct buckwheat notes... Hopefully they will pass or I can integrate them in.
 

seth8530

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Racked into 3 5 gallon carboys. Had to dilute the last carboy by 1.5 gallons in order to reach the neck. Batch ABV was (1.084-1.004)*131 = 10.5% ABV. After dilution our ABV should be 9.5%.
 

seth8530

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Well, racked this guy and backsweetened with around a gallon of carmalyzed buckwheat to bring the gravity to around 1.026. I added about 1 gallon of honey to 13 gallons of mead abv should be around 8.8 aka 9% abv. I racked some of the stuff that would not fit into carboys into a keg. Should be fun to see how long it takes for this guy to turn out. At the moment, it taste a lot like a super dank ipa.
 

meadmaker1

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So. When I was in school in the late seventies dank was a less than flattering term, may daughters and their friends use it a description of high quality. For propose of clarification, how old are you lol.
 

seth8530

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So. When I was in school in the late seventies dank was a less than flattering term, may daughters and their friends use it a description of high quality. For propose of clarification, how old are you lol.
Hah on the young side lol, at least at heart 26.
 
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