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Russian imperial stout secondary time

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phish2160

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Post Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:05 pm

Russian imperial stout secondary time

I am about to transfer my imperial stout into secondary after 10 days. Suggested total time is 4 months. Should i really keep it in secondary for 3 months? What r the pros of aging a beer like this so long? Is there a risk of contamination for keeping something so long?
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Waylit

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Post Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

That's a long time in secondary. Unless you plan on adding oak chips, just age the beer in bottles or a keg.
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The Professor

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Post Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:56 pm

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

phish 2160, you're absolutely on the right track. No need to be in a rush.

In my experience (let's just say it's a LOT of years), 3 months in secondary isn't long at all for a Russian Imperial (I routinely go longer than that for RIS and similarly strong beers ...up to 5 months even). A slow fermentation will continue there and depending on your starting gravity, the beer could easily still be slowly fermenting at the end of 3 months. Slow is good. A strong beer like that is always going to taste better with age on it anyway.
I wouldn't even think of taking out of secondary before 3 months, and would probably leave it longer. Sure, it will be drinkable and tasty at that point, but it will get better if you leave it alone.

Make another brew not quite so hi-test to drink in the meantime. As long as your sanitation was A+ good, I don't think you'll regret waiting.
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1vertical

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Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 12:04 pm

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

The Professor wrote:phish 2160, you're absolutely on the right track. No need to be in a rush.

In my experience (let's just say it's a LOT of years), 3 months in secondary isn't long at all for a Russian Imperial (I routinely go longer than that for RIS and similarly strong beers ...up to 5 months even). A slow fermentation will continue there and depending on your starting gravity, the beer could easily still be slowly fermenting at the end of 3 months. Slow is good. A strong beer like that is always going to taste better with age on it anyway.
I wouldn't even think of taking out of secondary before 3 months, and would probably leave it longer. Sure, it will be drinkable and tasty at that point, but it will get better if you leave it alone.

Make another brew not quite so hi-test to drink in the meantime. As long as your sanitation was A+ good, I don't think you'll regret waiting.


+1
I just took a Flanders Red out of secondary and it was 13 months in that carboy.....yummo.
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Tomthebrewer

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Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

I've had a RIS in the secondary for around 3-4 months. I'll add oak chips around mid-November and bottle mid-December. Should be ready to drink at Christmas.
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tankdeer

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Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:49 am

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

3 months is about the MINIMUM I would go on an RIS. I usually go much longer. 6 months at least.
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Cheshire_Cat

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:44 am

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

What about tempature? I have my RIS in a secondary now but after reading up some it seems best to keep it at cellar temp. Unfortunately the best I can manage is about 70 give or take a couple degrees. Since I can't maintain cellar temp would it be better to age in the bottle?

Thanks!
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1vertical

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:01 am

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

Cheshire_Cat wrote:What about tempature? I have my RIS in a secondary now but after reading up some it seems best to keep it at cellar temp. Unfortunately the best I can manage is about 70 give or take a couple degrees. Since I can't maintain cellar temp would it be better to age in the bottle?

Thanks!

What I recall about the historic RIS, was that it was made strong to survive the trip
from England to Russia in the hold of a cargo (sailing) vessel for many months at sea.
I do NOT believe that was a temperature controlled environment. IMO you should
just avoid wild temperature swings. RDWHAHB

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Wahoo

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:15 am

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

I would not transfer into the secondary until you are sure your fermentation is totally finished. Leaving it for an extra week on the yeast is probably a good idea.
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Baratone Brewer

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Post Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:02 pm

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

I primary my RIS for 3 weeks and then secondary for 3-4 months.
+1 to the main objective being to avoid temp swings.
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Cheshire_Cat

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Post Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:28 am

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

Thanks everyone. Thankfully living in the Bay Area I don't get to many temp swings even in the summer. Appreciate the input!
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Karl750

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Post Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:27 am

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

Waylit wrote:That's a long time in secondary. Unless you plan on adding oak chips, just age the beer in bottles or a keg.

+1
Bulk aging in a carboy sounds like a great way to possibly oxidize your beer before it's time. I bottle mine as soon as they're done fermenting. They age well, score great and are uniform in taste from bottle to bottle.
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S.Scoggin

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Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:10 am

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

Karl750 wrote:
Waylit wrote:That's a long time in secondary. Unless you plan on adding oak chips, just age the beer in bottles or a keg.

+1
Bulk aging in a carboy sounds like a great way to possibly oxidize your beer before it's time. I bottle mine as soon as they're done fermenting. They age well, score great and are uniform in taste from bottle to bottle.



why would it be a risk of oxidation aging in the secondary?
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Karl750

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Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:24 pm

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

S.Scoggin wrote:why would it be a risk of oxidation aging in the secondary?

...because you're exposing your beer to oxygen for a long period of time. This is why I would recommend you age in a purged keg or just bottle it.
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mvsawyer

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Post Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:39 pm

Re: Russian imperial stout secondary time

Karl750 wrote:
S.Scoggin wrote:why would it be a risk of oxidation aging in the secondary?

...because you're exposing your beer to oxygen for a long period of time. This is why I would recommend you age in a purged keg or just bottle it.

Just the oxygen in the headspace of the secondary vessel. I've found that racking to a secondary gets enough CO2 out of the beer to purge the air from this headspace. As long as you have an airlock, I don't see how any of the beer would be in contact with air.
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