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MichaelL

"Mad Scientist" Imperial Stout

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Let's say that some unbalanced person was planning to brew (later today) a beer using an insane amount of fermentables.  Theoretically, this might include two cans of St Patrick's Stout, some amount of Muntons amber DME (a pound or so), perhaps a cup of dark brown sugar, and what the hell, 4 oz of carapils (mashed, of course).  If one were to, hypothetically, plug that formula into QBrew one might see a resulting ABV of some 9.2%.  One would expect an almost 100% chance of overflow during fermentation, but of course anyone crazy enough to make such a brew would prepare to handle that.  The question is, would one packet of MrBeer yeast be enough to ferment this concoction?  

 

By the way, thanks to the dear departed Slym2None for the idea for this recipe.

 

And, of course, this post should be in Advanced Recipes, not Techniques.  Mea Culpa.

Edited by MichaelL
Made an oops!

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1 yeast will do, but it wouldn't hurt to add 2 just to be sure you get a healthy starting fermentation. I would honestly recommend a yeast with a lower temperature tolerance such as Nottingham (59-70) and ferment it as low as you can (60-65 should work). This should prevent any major overflows. You can try using the Mr. Beer yeast, but I recommend fermenting no higher than 68, if possible. I would also recommend a gravity reading after 3 weeks just to be sure it's all fermented out. At the low temps, it may need a few more days. But "slow and low" is the preferred method for big beers like that anyway.

 

Also, this thread has been moved to the appropriate location.

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Oh, the heck with it, let's do this thing.  My basement is cool enough that I could use Nottingham if I had any.  However, the US-04 that came with the Baltic Porter Ale might be a good replacement.  If I use the MrB yeast, my temps might be a shade low; the spot I have chosen to place the LBK during fermentation is consistently in the low 60s these days.  Since I won't be brewing the BP for several weeks at least, I can always replace the US-04 by then.  I plan to start work on this in an hour or two.  Thanks to Josh for the advice!

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Those Safale S-04 yeasties are working like little microscopic demons, producing a tiny but steady trickle of overflow.  I'm thinking that it was a good thing that I loosened the lid a fraction of a turn when I screwed it on the LBK.  By the way, in case you were wondering (I'm looking at you, RickBeer!) I'm not perving my beer; doing laundry today, and since the laundry room is also in the basement I've been taking a peek at the LBK on its shelf each time I go downstairs.  The overflow containment precautions that I took are working perfectly.  

 

Rotbag, if I ever need a lab rat you're first in line.  :D

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Today marks 3 weeks in the LBK.  Now ... do I wait another few days, as JoshR suggested back at the beginning, or go ahead and bottle?  For once, I'm wishing that I had a hydrometer!  Also, it's 74 degrees here.  It's still cool in my basement, but the temp might climb into the upper 60s if it stays warm enough outside.  Decisions, decisions ... 

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Dude, you totally need a hydrometer! I know this isn't helping your case much now, unless you are buying one as we speak and take gravity readings over the next couple days. My two cents: give it a few more days while eyeing the temperature along the way. I don't know that the potential variation in temperature matters too much at this point, but I feel it's still safe to let it ride a few more days. 

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Thanks for the "Brewing 101" refresher course, Rick ;) .  

 

The only reason that I'm considering delaying a day or three is that this is a big beer and I don't want bottle bombs.  In the end, I'll probably just bottle tomorrow morning assuming the tasting sample points me in that direction.

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Well, real life intervened as it often does and I was not able to bottle this until today, after 25 days.  Not concerned, as Josh did recommend a few extra days in the LBK to ensure that it fermented out.  Since this is the biggest beer I've ever brewed (or am ever likely to brew) I thought it best to err on the side of caution.  The sample tasted superb, with a very noticeable hit of alcohol behind the thick rich goodness.  I know that I should let this condition for at least two months and probably three, but I don't think I'll be able to resist trying one at four weeks to see how it's coming along.

 

Thanks to everyone who lent their encouragement to this rather extreme experiment in MrBeer brewing!

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and again i'll add one comment, i'm brewing a "mad scientist" Imperial something. 3 cans of WDA, 1 oz. cascade hops, 4 oz. smoked cherry wood malt, 2 oz. carapils, 2 oz. dark roasted barley, 2oz. lite roasted barely, and 2 oz. of 120L caramel malt. When I racked out to the secondary and tried a sample, I almost stumbled backwards a bit. So then I added pre dissolved 2 lbs of traditional dark dried malt to bring back some of the malt flavor I seemed to lost in this maddening concoction. 1 more week and will be dry hopping 1/2 cascade , then 2 weeks after that it goes into the ever so awaiting bourbon barrel that I keep sniffing everyday 

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Today marks four weeks in the bottles for this brew, so I am going to toss one into the beer fridge for drinking on Wednesday.  My basement has been very chilly for most of those four weeks (I thought that this was supposed to be spring?) so even a standard beer might need more conditioning time there, let alone this beast.  However, I cannot resist the urge to give one a try.  As I only have 12 bottles of this (I use 22 oz bombers) I don't want to drink too much to soon.  Therefore, I plan to wait another four weeks before trying a second (that would mean drinking it on May 11, which just happens to be my wife's 50th birthday.  Perhaps I should adjust the timing slightly!).  Depending on how that tastes, it will either go into the regular drinking rotation at that point or I'll shelve it for another month.

 

Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to drinking this monstrosity.

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1 hour ago, Hoppytobrew said:

Of course, MichaelL, It is entirely possible that you may not live until Wednesday, much less May 11th if you keep telling everyone your wife's age. She may end your life and drink your beer for you! ;) 

 

Nobody ever said an MSU grad was smart... LOL

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30 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

 

Nobody ever said an MSU grad was smart... LOL

At least, no Wolverine ever said that.  Spartan intelligence is of a level too high for a Meeechigan fan to grasp.   ;)

 

BTW, is the rest of the forum sick of this back-and-forth sniping yet?  :P

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So I drank the first bottle of this concoction .  Amazing is the word that comes to mind.  Jet black and opaque, thick and chewy, creamy and silky on the tongue.  Definite sense of the high alcohol content.  Tastes pretty darn good too.  However, it is obvious that this will benefit from further conditioning.  The waiting resumes ... four more weeks until I drink another.

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