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Strange Brew - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
Strange Brew


What you're looking at is cooling wort (proto-beer) for what we're calling Zero Hour Russian Imperial Stout. Since I've still not gotten a pot large enough for a full-volume boil, this is only 1/2 of the beer, and in this state it had the consistency of some motor oils. Also pictured here is the mighty cooling coil that Pablo fashioned for me last year. He is mighty, and I will continue to sing his praises.

The reason that you're looking at this is probably less of a surprise for you than it was for me. Pete had asked about doing an Imperial off and on, but yesterday, mid-afternoon, he simply announced that we were brewing it. Now, in order for this to make sense, I need to impress to you that Imperials are not small projects. My normal approach for something of this magnitude would have been a week's worth of planning, including a trip to the brew store to make sure they had precisely what I needed, and a full day set aside for the boil. Pete was in Full Project Mode however, so once I expressed my disbelief and reservations, I sat down and formulated a recipe (mostly pale malt with roast and black patent for color and character, and an enormous quantity of hops) that I think might be worthy of the undertaking. I sent him shopping while I took care of the janitorial elements of the brew.

Once we were supplied, he donned the hat of authority and wondered out loud if I was crazy for all of the stuff the recipe called for while I racked The Brown Pants and bottled the latest English Bitters variant. I'm thinking that we're looking at at least 5 weeks before the brew hits the bottle (1 week in primary, 2 in secondary for conditioning/clarity, 2 in tertiary for dry hopping), and then at least a few months before we can say that it's ready.

At any rate, we finished around 8PM. There's now an empty carboy and ideas for about a dozen different beers/meads/wines that I jotted down based on the conversation we were having. I won't be caught off-guard again, I can promise you that. Multiple brewers under one roof may mean that we'll need still more bottles as the season continues.

Iron chef notes are forthcoming. As I mentioned, yesterday I was otherwise occupied.
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Comments
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: November 14th, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
This one's non-standard. The pipe is a full 1/2" in diameter and just fits into the 4 gallon pot. Normal beers take about 5-10 minutes to drop to pitch temperature. It's crazy.

I thought brewing was magic? You're making me confused now.
mittenstone From: mittenstone Date: November 14th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
looks brutal, and i bet it will be brutally delicious.
komos From: komos Date: November 14th, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
My experience with homebrewed stouts has been mixed. While I think I've got a pretty good handle on porters, as soon as we move into the realm of roasted and black patent, I always worry that the beer I'm brewing will taste more burnt than anything else. I think that the pale malt will help a lot, but this is a grand (and expensive) experiment.

We'll definitely hook you up with some once it's ready, though. Would love to hear how we hold up to the big boys.
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: November 14th, 2005 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooh...

Color me Jealous!!
komos From: komos Date: November 14th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can I ship stuff to you yet?
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: November 14th, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
You can ship stuff to me whenever you want to!! :D
komos From: komos Date: November 14th, 2005 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I mean, legally ship stuff...
clayrobeson From: clayrobeson Date: November 14th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's all on YOUR end man. I dunno when MA will make it legal to ship, but it's legal for me to receive!!
d2leddy From: d2leddy Date: November 14th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Are you going to sell any (to us via the USPS)?
komos From: komos Date: November 14th, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I'd have to break both federal and state law to sell and ship without proper licensure, but I may well be able to 'gift' depending on whether it's legal to ship at this point.
d2leddy From: d2leddy Date: November 14th, 2005 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh damn. Forgot about those laws.
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: November 14th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
hey, any chance the pablo would want to whip up another of those beauties? I'd be happy to pay for it.
I'm finally biting the bullet and giving up on the "pot in a sink of cold water" method of wort chilling, but retail on the crappy 'lil chillers is like $50. sheesh.

And I was pretty sure that looked like an imperial stout. BYO magazine (arrived yesterday I think) featured them this month, so it was on my mind. heh.
komos From: komos Date: November 14th, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Since he's working at an entirely different shop, I don't know if he has the means/materials available any longer. I'll check tonight.
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: November 14th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
awesome.

so how much grain did you use in that batch?
We did that Orange Porter recently (tastes good at 2 weeks in the bottle, but definitely needs more time) and used almost 6lbs of grain plus lots of extract. OG was about 1.060, heaviest one we've done yet. That was about the limit of our grain usage potential with our current hardware. heh. I think I'm getting a false bottom for my bottling bucket soon though, so we'll try a small all-grain batch.
komos From: komos Date: November 14th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Grain itself? I think it was in the realm of 3lbs. The rest of the sugars took the form of light DME and honey. The OG was somewhere in the realm of 1.089
komos From: komos Date: November 15th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Paul said that he could probably hook you up provided that you gave him the measurements of your brewpot and were willing to cover the cost of the copper tubing. You'd also have to figure out the feeder/exhaust hose setup, but he's willing to do the work for you for no cost.
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: November 15th, 2005 12:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
wicked. shoot me some contact info for the man, if you please.
komos From: komos Date: November 15th, 2005 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
byksm at yahoo dot com should reach him.
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