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Imperial stout complex grain bill tweaks'

The recipe I’ve been using is “Kate the Great Russian” published by the head brewer at Portsmouth Brewing Co. This is the only recipe I’ve made. The upcoming batch will be #4 but I need to make a few adjustments because the local homebrew store has a limited grain selection. I moved since the last batch.

Before I post the grain bill, just a couple of comments. The beer is great as is but the grain bill is extremely complex. Two of the components are input at only 4 oz in a 25 lb grain bill. Seems insignificant. Two of the component are not available. Lastly, I would like to increase the roast grain character a bit.

The OG is 1.100 give or take a bit. I really hop it up vs the original recipe from 60 to about 90 IBU. SAF-05. The FG will be on the order of 1.020 .

Here’s the bill:
19.25 2 row
0.88 wheat malt
0.88 flaked barley
0.63 aromatic
0.50 C45
0.25 C120 *
0.88 special B
0.25 chocolate malt **
0.75 carafa III ***
0.50 roasted barley
0.25 black malt

25.00 LB

Questions for discussion:

  • For the C120, 4 oz in a 25 grain bill seems insignificant. Considering the rest of the grain bill, would 4 oz make a noticeable difference?

** For the chocolate malt, 4 oz could make a flavor difference more so than the C120, but still, I can’t imagine 4 oz in a 25 # grain bill changing the character that much. ?

*** The LHBS doesn’t carry Carafa III. Carafa II is available or midnight wheat. I think the best sub would probably be the midnight wheat. On the other hand, I want to bring the roast character up a bit so I am considering dropping the .75 lb Carafa III and increasing the the roast barley by 0.25 lb and the black malt each by 0.5 lb.

This is a detailed post, so thanks in advance for looking and commenting,

When I’m making changes to a good recipe, I try to to make one change at a time.

My guess is that, side-by-side (original recipe vs changed recipe), I’d likely notice the missing chocolate and possibly notice the missing C120. So if these are available at your LHBS, I would include them in the recipe.

I have no experiences to offer on this idea.

Be careful subbing black malt for carafa III. Carafa is a dehusked/debittered malt, and black malt won’t get you anything like the same character. Maybe add the black malt right at the end of the mash, so you don’t extract so much roastiness from it.

I’ve been looking and pondering this grain bill fer a bit. I have to ask, before giving my 2 cents worth of not much, is it the bitterness or is it the dark malt which you seek to find? Sneezles61

I would try to source the ingredients your LHBS doesn’t carry. I hear what your saying about 4oz in a 25lb grain bill but look at that grain bill. It’s all specialty malt except for 2 row. What’s my point? There’s no other base malts, such as MO, Munich, etc contributing to the flavor. Hence, they are necessary.

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Yes, chock full of specialty malts, and some make it bitter and some bring a flavor. I can’t put my finger on it, but seems as the roasted malts WILL bring acid to the pint , where as chocolate malt bring more flavor, even though it does contribute some acid. I’ve not played with carafa, so thats why I’m axing. Would thinking of Pork Chops question then look to as dark a wheat you can find, as a sub? Special B is also dark but I don’t git as much a bitter flavor. Then Loopie makes a good point, pull some of the pale and put some, say dark munich? Sneezles61

The best alternate available to me for Carafa III would be midnight wheat with 2nd choice being the carafa II. I do want to increase the roast character in my next batch so I am still considering totally dropping the carafa III and replacing with the roast barley + black malt. That would put me at 1.5 lbs in this recipe. I’ve seen some other credible RIS recipes, heavier on crystal malts, but up to 2-2.25 lbs roast+black malts. I am thinking the 1.5 lbs roast + black would not be an excessive amount.

thanks for the input

Input appreciated. For lack of better terms, I consider the crystal malts to ‘fill in the gap’ on the flavor profile. Just struggling with 4 oz making a difference in this batch. I plan to use them. Mostly, I just want to find out what others think.

I understand. But, if you take out the 2row all the specialty malts are pretty close in percentage. To me, those aren’t filling the gap but providing wanted flavors and aromas.

Think of it this way. Take 25lbs 2 row and brew it. Take 24 3/4 lbs 2row and 4 oz black malt and it will provide a much different beer.

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