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Stout fit for a Czar – Russian Imperial Stout! Brendan’s Smoked Habanero Imperial Stout

As the mercury falls and we reach for the polar fleece, hoodies, beanies and mittens we also should be reaching for a well aged and matured Russian Imperial Stout.  I recently had the pleasure of a couple of pleasant local craft versions of this great beer style during #GoodBeerWeek2015.  The first was a pot of 3 Ravens little raven special release Russian Imperial Stout @theCatfish in Fitzroy after Session #1 @GABSFestival 2015 and it stood out so strongly after many sours as an exemplary example of a fine style with rich roasted coffee and toffee notes and a warmth that made it dangerously drinkable :-).  Followed up shortly thereafter was another finely brewed example the 2014 Ramjet from Boatroacker aged in Starward Whisky barrels enjoyed at Palate Cleanser as a lovely end to a great week and afternoon on the sours.  Given a good friend and great brewer of sours and imperial stouts was at the event Mr Brendan O’Sullivan of 3 Ravens & Grain&Grape fame and someone who is always willing to share tips and recipes to help homebrewers brew better – see one of my very first recipe posts here DICK’s Foreign Extra Dry Irish Coffee Stout which was greatly helped by Brendan @Grain&Grape on a busy Saturday with tips from a #hometopro brewer given with good grace patience and a smile as always, many moons ago.

Thought it was appropriate to hit Brendan up not for a sour recipe although he does do a very mean Berliner Weiss – maybe on coming soon to a future Flyday BeerCoAu Beer of Week recipe, but for an Imperial Stout Home brew recipe fit for Czar! So here goes, and thanks again to @Crowbz for sharing your tips on how to brew very big and bold beers with style 🙂  Below is a recipe Brendan brewed for a home-brew competition featuring a surprise ingredient (Iron Chef style) – which turned out to be Chillies.

Target OG: 1.100

Target IBU: 80

Target Colour: 55 SRM

Gladfield Malt Grain Bill

(Editors notes – I have taken some liberty here to do some conversion to Gladfield Malt)

Hops:

40g Simcoe 60 mins (55 IBU)
40g Columbus 10 mins (23 IBU)
40g Centennial 0 mins
40g Simcoe 0 mins

Yeast:

3 x 125ml smack packs of Wyeast 1728 (Scottish Ale)

Mash & Boil:

  • 6.5g chalk (mash)
  • Mashed at 65C for 60 mins, sparged at 80C
  • 1g gypsum (kettle)
  • 1g calcium chloride (kettle)
  • 90 minute boil

Other:

Approx 3 Habaneros (flame roasted, de-seeded, de-veined and added at start, mid and end boil)

5g Amchur (green mango powder) 60 mins

2 lemons (zest only), 30cm stick of lemon scented verbena and 1 mesquite smoked Rocoto Chilli steeped in Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Angostura Bitters then added to the kettle 15 mins before flameout

A shot of Laphroaig at flameout – that’s brewing with style right there!  Brew happy 🙂

Post Fermentation!

Brendan’s finishing touch was a Rye Whisky tincture of the remaining 6 habaneros (flame roasted, de-seeded, de-veined) as well as about 20g of cacao and a vanilla pod (added post-fermentation).

Sources and References:  Brendan O’Sullivan, https://www.facebook.com/grainandgrape/posts/786979877981706  Iron Brewer System Wars Competition, 2014 @Grain&Grape, Yarraville, Victoria.

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