Russian Imperial Stout

28Aug11_RIS_DSCF0770A few weeks ago, I wanted to make a Russian Imperial Stout (RIS), so I made a 2 liter starter using Yeast 1056 – American Ale Yeast.  Unfortunately, time management became an issue, and I was forced to delay the brew until yesterday.  I have made starters in advance, and have kept them in the refrigerator until ready, so I was not worried about this one being viable after almost two weeks.  One thing I wanted to try with this grain bill was a second small beer which may or may not have turned out well.

The day progressed easily, but my usual 80+% efficiency declined to 68%, which it sometimes does with large grain bills.  So, I boiled 7.10 gallons for 70 minutes and and later decided to add a pound of DME with 5 minutes left in the boil just to get the gravity (alcohol) up a bit.  Gravity post boil, with 5.5 gallons of liquid, came in at 1.090, which is low for the recipe, but should turn out to be good drinking anyway.  Pitched yeast at 68 degrees with activity at 5 hours.  Nice!

Hitting the numbers!  Wanted 151 – got it! – 2nd picture is my hi-tech vorlauf setup – RIS and small beer – Cozy my daughter made for me (it is a 5 gal cozy on a 6 gallon carboy):


As for the small beer, I simply added ~4 gallons of 168 degree water to the grain, and drained.  I retrieved about 4 gallons at 1.036, and boiled for 60 minutes adding .50 ounces of Fuggles at the 60 and 30 minutes, and .50 ounces of year old Cluster at flameout.  Gravity post boil was 1.042 with 3 gallons of wort left.  I was aiming for 2.5 gallons, but was using my spare canner as a boil pot, and the evaporation rate seems quite different than my regular brew pot.  Not really bothered with this as the beer should turn out to be in the 4% ABV range, hopefully.

The recipe is based on the Russian Imperial Stout recipe from


Boil Size 7.10 gallons

Batch size 5.5 gallons

IBU’s 70.0

Total Grains – 21.75 lbs.


78.2% – 17 lbs. Brewers Malt 2-Row

4.6%  -  1 lbs Black Barley

4.6%  -  1 lbs Special B

3.4%  -  12 oz. Chocolate Malt

2/3%  -  8 oz. Carafa II

2.3%  -  8 oz.  Cara-Pils

4.6%  -  1 lbs. Extra Light Extract


2 oz. Challenger (pellet – 31.4 IBU’s) – 70 minutes

2 oz. Cascade (pellet – 23.0 IBU’s) – 70 minutes

2 oz. Goldings, East Kent (pellet – 15.6 IBU’s) – 30minutes


Wyeast Labs # 1056 – American Ale – 2 Liter Starter

What I did incorrectly:  I usually take out all grains and other products I will need the day before I brew.  That way, if I am missing something, I will have time to get it at my brew store.  This time, I did not do that.  Even though I have an inventory of all products on hand, I failed to look at it.  So, I was missing 2 ounces of Challenger, and 8 ounces of Black Barley.  I substituted 2 ounces of Cascade and 8 ounces of Carafa II.  This made the IBU’s lower than I wanted, and the SRM to be a bit lower also (but still high).  However, I feel that all will turn out well for this beer, as 70 IBU’s are still rather nice, and Carafa II is a good addition.  I will let this beer sit in primary for 30 days, then bottle and age for a few months.

As for the small beer – again, 30 days in the primary and bottle.  However, I will start sampling after a month in the bottle. 

New York Steak Burgers

Garden_02Aug2011DSCF0575Every once and awhile, while walking in the garden, you will see a volunteer of some type of viola.  The picture on the right is from our primrose garden, and of a viola that just appeared one day.

For my birthday, we decided to BBQ some hamburgers.  But regular hamburgers, while good, are really not that great.  New York Steak Burgers however, are great. 

I started off with three nice New York Steaks and cut them into strips.  These were fed into the meat grinder attached to my Kitchen Aid.  I ground them once with the course grinder attachment to leave some texture in the meat.  Three burgers were formed, and them BBQ’d for 7 minutes per side, seasoning with salt and pepper.  This resulted in a burger that was medium-well, and totally juicy – though I will go for 6 or 6.5 minutes next time. 

The burgers were placed on homemade Vienna rolls, and consumed.  They were wonderful.  Flavorful, juicy, and tender, but with a bit of texture.

The progression:



The Vienna Rolls are from Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Bakers Apprentice”.  The rolls are very light and perfect when warm and toasted, and dense and chewy when cold.  I use these rolls when I make burgers, or most type of sandwiches.  They are always well received, especially when I make pulled pork.  I recently make the Italian Bread from the same book – again:  Great!