Cooking with Beer: Chocolate Stout Cake

Monday, July 11, 2011

Brewday IRS

So, in lieu of doing a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout as originally planned, I decided to go for broke and finally do my favorite beer style, the glorious, Russian Imperial Stout.

For the less beer savvy out there, the history of the Russian Imperial Stout basically is that British brewers brewed a big, high alcohol stout with oodles of hops to please the palates of the Russian Imperial court. Imperial stouts are also a favorite of American craft brewers, with wonderful examples such as Old Rasputin, Stone IRS, and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout being fairly easy to find, along with some more difficult to find beers, that are amongst my favorites, such as Southampton IRS, Deschute's the Abyss, and the infamous Three Floyd's Dark Lord.

I wanted my beer to be really big. I don't like my Imperial Stouts to be light in body, in taste or in alcohol. I want big roasted flavors, to be on the upper limit of alcohol for the style, and have a very big body. Brewing was going to test the limits of my mash tun, or so I thought. For a five gallon batch, I was going to be using 22.5# of grain over all. Knowing I would need a lot of strike water to fully submerge the grain in the mash, I struck with 5 gallons.

And by the time mashing had finished, a lot of the water had been absorbed by the grains, which you can see here:

I wanted this beer to be thick and dark. On BeerAdvocate, when I review an imperial stout as "being thick like motor oil," that means its good. I'm happy to report this one looks a bit like motor oil.

And heating it up for the boil...

For hops, I wanted some high in alpha acids so I could reduce the amount of hops I used, meaning less beer gets wasted when I transfer it off the trub. I settled on Nugget.

Classical imperial stouts were heavily hopped, but I'm not the biggest fan of hoppy imperial stouts so I just added 2 oz for bittering.

The brewday was fairly successful but that remains to be seen when the beer is ready, which is going to take awhile. The recipe for this beer was:

16# 2-row
1# carapils
1# flaked oats
1# flaked barley
1# chocolate
.5# Caramel 120
.5# roasted barley
.5# black patent

2 oz 12.2 alpha Nugget @ 60 minutes

Maltodextrine @ 15 minutes
Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
Irish Moss @ 15 minutes

Wyeast 1056 - American Ale

Now, I've read many different things when coming up with recipe formation for imperial stouts, mostly regarding the amount of roasted grains. I've seen as high as 15% and as low as %5. I am a big fan of roastiness but didn't want to overdo it, so I went somewhere down the middle. The maltodextrine is there to add more body, because I want this beer to be very chewy, so I figure between the carapils, oats, flaked barley, and caramel malt the body will be very substantial and I don't think I can overdo it on the body for this beer.

The plan for this beer is that I'm going to bottle half of it as a straight imperial stout and the other half, I'm going to condition on heavy char oak chips that I'm soaking in some Knob Creek single barrel bourbon whiskey to create a barrel aged type flavor. I'm going to bottle the bourbon aged beer in some 750ml bottles and seal them with wax for extended cellaring. The straight IRS is going to go into 12 oz bottles and also be wax sealed for extended cellaring. I will love seeing how this beer changes with age, and if I am pleased with how this beer came out, I'll brew it again in years to come and create my own verticals, which should be awesome.

I think the biggest issue on this beer might be the yeast. This beer should be getting up to 12% alcohol, which is a size I've never brewed before so hopefully the yeast can handle it.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cooking with Beer: Beer Battered Fish Tacos

My girlfriend surprised me with some beer battered fish tacos the other night and they came out great so I thought I would share... after bugging her a bit for the recipe, that she kind of came up with on the fly.

1# flounder
Taco seasoning to taste
1 cup flour
1 cup IPA (she used 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA)
Vegetable oil
Hard/soft taco shells
Shredded cheddar cheese

Mix taco seasoning, flour and IPA. Let sit for 45 minutes. Cut fish into pieces, coat lightly with flour then the batter. Fry in vegetable oil for one minute per side.

Pretty simple, but incredibly yummy. They paired great with the 21st Amendment IPA. Definitely give these a go. Cheers!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Das Kolsch! Tasting

Finally drinking the Kolsch. Poured it into a Gaffel Kolsch stange.

Look: very pale body with a thin layer of white head that doesn't have much retention and doesn't leave much lacing either. Its clear of sediment but has a little haze. Looks about right for a Kolsch, though it could improve with a clearer body.

Smell: light pilsner malt, some slight fruitiness, and very slight wine like character as well. No noticeable hop aroma. Its all pretty subtle, which is good because that's what I was going for.

Taste: follows the nose with a light pilsner malt character, a little fruity, with a little bit of hop bitterness, dry and slightly tart. There's a slight wheat taste in the finish that lingers. Overall, pretty much what a Kolsch should taste like.

Feel: light bodied, lightly carbonated, dry, and very drinkable. This is definitely a beer I could see myself drinking a few of on a hot day.

Overall Impression: this more or less nailed what I wanted this beer to taste like. Its easy drinking yet interesting enough to make me want to drink it. I definitely see this one appealing to fans of light beer. I think if I make this one again, I would brew it the same way. Cheers!

Posts About this Beer:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cooking with Beer: Chocolate Stout Cake

So, I haven't had much in the way of home brewing activity lately since I've been busy moving in with my girlfriend and thus have been quite busy. However, to celebrate, I wanted to do something special for her. It obviously had to involve beer. How about a chocolate stout cake? Sounds good to me.

After tinkering around the interweb for awhile, I found this recipe. I picked up a 4 pack of Young's Double Chocolate Stout and hit it. I'm not that great at baking cakes, having only baked once before but it came out quite nicely.

The icing was really easy and also really delicious. Simmer whipped cream and then whisk in 1# of chopped semi-sweet baker's chocolate. Yeah, I thought this was going to be too much chocolate too.

Frost it and here you go!

It will give you diabetes but it went nicely with a snifter of Stone's 2011 IRS. Cheers!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What's Up at the Boner

The Kolsch is fermenting away still. That begs the question of what is next for the Lonely Boner? After debating whether or not I should re-attempt the saison, try the Citra DIPA again, or do some style I've never attempted before, I figured it's best to stick to my roots and do something malty, dark and roasty:

Yup. Time to do the Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. I decided to bump it up to Foreign Export strength after reading a good deal about Stone's mythical Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (Beer Advocate reviews here... unfortunately I've never gotten to taste it), considered going up to Imperial strength and finally doing my IRS, but decided that Foreign Export is a nice compromise.

I think the silkiness that the oats should provide will work nicely with the added chocolate. I want a beer with a good bit of body to it as well. Here's how I think it's going to look, as of right now:

8# Maris Otter 60.6%
1.5% flaked oats 11.4%
1# Carapils 7.6%
1# Caramel 10L 7.6%
.5# Carafa 1 3.8%
.5# Chocolate 3.8%
.25# roasted barley 1.9%
.13# black patent 1%
.33# sucrose

1 oz Galena @ 60 minute

Wyeast 1084 - Irish Ale

8 oz cocoa powder @ flameout
4 oz cacao nibs in secondary

I might also add some vanilla bean because chocolate and vanilla will make it closer to milk chocolate. The sugar is just being added to boost the ABV a bit

The stats should look something like:
7.1% ABV
OG: 1.069
FG: 1.016
IBU: 47.9
40.2 SRM

Any input? Cheers!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Brew Day: Kolsch part eins

Today was a brew day that went swimmingly. Shockingly, everything seemed to go well. It was absolutely beautiful out and a perfect day for brewing.

Of course my first German beer is going to be introduced by a photograph making a brew kettle look as ominous as possible...

I had no issues with my mash tun, which was pretty awesome. Mashing was done at 148 degrees F for 1 hour, using 3.5 gallons of strike water (just Long Island tap water). Then I Vorlaufed and then lautered with 3 gallons of 185 degree F water. Mash pH was around 4.6 from my test strips.

Since I was only using 8# of grain, mashing out went quickly. The hot break took awhile to build up steam though...

In the meantime, the yeast starter was looking pretty healthy.

Blogger is only letting me upload a few pictures per post and since everything went easily today, I ended up taking a decent amount of pictures. So, stay tuned for the second and more substantial part of this post! Cheers!

Brew Day: Kolsch part zwei

When we last joined our brew-heroes, they were patiently waiting for the hot break, which should be coming up right about NOW!

You'll see later that the Hallertau hops were two different alpha acid contents, the reason being that I only ordered 1 oz from Midwest on accident and had to get the rest by Rebel Brewer since they get it out to you much faster.

Mmm, Hallertau hops...

I did a 60 minute boil with hop additions at 60 and 30 minutes, Irish moss and yeast nutrient at 15 minutes, super moss at 10 minutes, and then chilled to pitching temperature.

After the boil I was pretty spot on with nailing 5 gallons for the final batch, which I'm happy about.

And finally pitching the patiently waiting yeast. Go forth and feast, my yeast!

Damn, I'm weird.

So anyway, here's the technical crapola.

5 gallon batch

7# German pils
.5# German light Munich
.5# German light wheat

1 oz 3.8 alpha Hallertau at 60 minutes
1 oz 3.0 alpha Hallertau at 30 minutes

Wyeast 1001 - German Ale ~300 mL starter.

2 teaspoon yeast nutrient at 15 minutes
1 teaspoon Irish moss at 15 minutes
5 teaspoon Super Moss at 10 minutes

Single step infusion mash at 148 degree F

Fermenting at 60 degrees F.

So yeah, no drama today. Just got to sit and enjoy brewing this beer. Can't wait to try it. Cheers!