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Suggestion for Honey Bourbon Stout Recipe

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by AlexHouston, Feb 7, 2013.

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  1. AlexHouston

    AlexHouston Initiate (161) May 19, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I've done some research and think I've conjured up a decent recipe, though I'm a little unsure of the total amount of grain and can always use another pair of eyes to look over it. I was thinking of doing something like this

    Marris Otter - 5 lbs
    Flaked Oats - 1lbs
    British Chocolate - 2 lbs
    Extra Special - 1lbs
    Honey Malt - 2lbs
    Coffee Malt -1lbs
    Black Malt - .5 lbs

    Dark Extract - 3.3 lbs

    Magnum, East Kent and Galena for the hops. American Oak chips soaked in bourbon before being added in the secondary. Any comments are appreciated.
  2. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    Holy cow that's a lot going on there. I'm still fairly new to the HB game so I can't even guess as to what the finished product would be but it sounds like a totally ambitious and interesting project.

    The only thing I could contribute would be that I'd consider some rice hulls to deal with the flaked oats (I would considering my equipment - to me it's cheap insurance against a stuck sparge, but you probably have a good feel on how your equipment handles that.)

    Let us know how it goes.
  3. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,609) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    What volume?

    Just looking at grains, you have more total specialty malts than base malt. I realize that you have some dark extract in there too, but even that adds some unknown quantity and type of specialty malt flavor. Not only is there a lot of specialty malt but there are lots of kinds of specialty malts. I think there is a strong chance this beer will have muddied flavors (especially when you add oak and bourbon). You have 3 lbs of sweet malts in extra special and honey malt, and 3.5 lbs of roasted/dark kilned malts in coffee malt, black malt, and chocolate malt. My recommendation would be to cut each of these categories by 50-75% and substitute more base malt for them. I also would probably eliminate at least one of them and possibly two of them completely.

    Unless you know that dark DME adds the precise flavor profile you seek, using light DME is preferred for recipe creation. Light DME provides mostly base malt flavor, so you can use specialty malts to build your recipe with a firmer understanding of the mix.

    A final, finer point about using lots of specialty malts. IMO, maris otter is a very flavorful base malt and doesn't need a lot of specialty malts to enhance it. With the load of specialty grains that you propose, no one is going to care that there is maris otter in there. It's subtle complexity is going to be lost.
  4. AlexHouston

    AlexHouston Initiate (161) May 19, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Yea, I was kind of boderline on the Extra Special or the Coffee since I was already using the British Chocolate and Black Malt, but I was hoping those in a light enough ratio would add those nice coffee and dark fruit flavors you get from imperial stouts. I'm surprised you say eliminate it by 50% though, since the coffee and extra special are only a half pound more than the black one. I know the roasted ones are used more sparingly, but are they really that potent that you only need a pound for a standard five gallon batch?

    This would be my third all-grain batch, and my bill is usually in the 10-15 lb range, so I could probably get rid of the extra special and add some to the marris like you said, though I really like the coffee flavor the imperials give off, so I think I'll cut that in half and maybe take a pound away from the chocolate, since you're right about the additional flavors coming from the oak and the bourbon. I guess I'm just worried since the last batches I've tried to make higher in alcohol have fallen short, landing in the 5-6% range, so I'm more vigorously checking my water ratios for grain absorption and mashing.
  5. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,609) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    Alex, please keep in mind that my advice reflects personal tastes and we may just differ on those points. My most recent stout's grist looked like this:

    10#s pale ale malt (it was a 50-50 blend of Briess and Crisp because that's what was available).
    1# oat malt
    12 oz of Simpsons crysal malt (blend 75 and 55L)
    8 oz Fawcett's Pale chocolate malt
    10 oz Simpson Chocolate malt
    6 oz Simpson's roasted (unmalted) barley

    I cold steeped 50% of the Simpsons Chocolate and roasted to lower the astringency that sometimes comes with roasted malts. For my tastes, this is the best stout I ever brewed, but at 1.061 OG (5.75 gal; 41 IBUs calculated), no one would mistake it for a Russian Imperial Stout. I used 25% of the amount of sweet malts in your recipe (honey malt is not a crystal malt but it does add considerable sweetness, which is why I grouped it with the Extra Special as a sweet malt) and 50% of the darker malts.

    I've never done an RIS, so maybe am not giving you the best advice. If you are unfamiliar with the recipes of Jamil Zainashef (Brewing Classic Styles), you might look there for recipe guidelines. Here's one of his recipes for RIS, from before he wrote the book:
    It looks to me like his roasted and crystal are higher than I recommended but lower than your original recipe. Ultimately, you need to try to be true to your own taste buds and explore the hobby in ways that most interest you. Good luck with your recipe; hope you knock it out of the park.
    Beerontwowheels and inchrisin like this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,063) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Below is a recipe for a Russian Imperial Stout that I hope to brew someday. As you can see, crystal/roasted malts comprise 16.6% of the grain bill.

    ProMash Recipe Printout
    Recipe : Rootin' Tootin' Rasputin (IS)
    BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
    13-F Stout, Russian Imperial Stout
    Min OG: 1.075 Max OG: 1.115
    Min IBU: 50 Max IBU: 90
    Min Clr: 30 Max Clr: 40 Color in SRM, Lovibond

    Recipe Specifics
    Batch Size (GAL): 5.25 Wort Size (GAL): 5.25
    Total Grain (LBS): 17.38
    Anticipated OG: 1.088 Plato: 21.04
    Anticipated SRM: 51.9
    Anticipated IBU: 81.8
    System Efficiency: 75
    Wort Boil Time: 120 Minutes

    Formulas Used
    Color Formula Used: Morey
    Hop IBU Formula Used: Tinseth
    Tinseth Concentration Factor: 1.19
    Additional Utilization Used For Pellet Hops: 5

    % Amount Name Origin Gravity SRM
    74.8 13.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) America 1.036 2
    8.6 1.50 lbs. Brown Malt Great Britain 1.032 70
    4.3 0.75 lbs. Crystal 120L America 1.032 120
    3.6 0.63 lbs. Chocolate Malt America 1.029 350
    3.6 0.63 lbs. Roasted Barley America 1.028 450
    2.9 0.50 lbs. Victory Malt America 1.034 25
    2.2 0.38 lbs. Black Patent Malt America 1.028 525

    Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
    1.38 oz. Cluster Pellet 7.00 28.7 105 min.
    0.75 oz. Centennial Pellet 10.50 23.5 105 min.
    1.50 oz. Liberty Pellet 4.00 12.7 30 min.
    1.00 oz. Northern Brewer Pellet 8.00 16.9 30 min.
    1.00 oz. Liberty Pellet 4.00 0.0 Dry Hop

    Amount Name Type Time
    1.00 Tsp Irish Moss Fining 15 Min.(boil)

    Wyeast 1272 American Ale II (primary yeast cake from previous batch)
    Danstar Nottingham dry yeast (bottling)

    Mash Schedule
    Mash Type: Single Step
    Qts Water Per LBS Grain: 1.25 Total Qts: 21.73
    Saccharification Rest Temp : 152 Time: 90
    Mash-out Rest Temp : 168 Time: 10
    Sparge Temp : 170 Time: 45

    Fermentation Schedule
    Primary Fermentation: 14 days at 65 F
    Secondary Fermentation: 28 days at 65 F
    Bottle Conditioning: 120 days at 60 F

    As for the shelf life, I'd say at least three years or more.
  7. AlexHouston

    AlexHouston Initiate (161) May 19, 2011 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for your suggestions and the additional link to check out. Brewing, like other crafts, requires alot of tinkering to master and I'm nowhere near it, but it's good to have more and more information on how to refine our recipes. Courtesy of the additional knowledge I'm gathering, I think your suggestion to scale back a bit on the specialty malts is a good idea and something that will make the beer more balanced overall.
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