Whiskey Barrel Russian Imperial Stout (aka Queen Jennie's Revenge)

>> Sunday, September 20, 2015

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently acquired a 10 gallon oak whiskey barrel. I wanted to brew something that would be able to stand up to the strong flavors of a freshly emptied whiskey barrel. I decided a RIS would be a good candidate. I've been wanting to brew a RIS this past year,but was never able to fit it into my brew schedule. This is going to be a big beer and it would take me years to go through 10 gallons of it, so I asked a couple buddies of mine if they'd be interested in splitting a batch. Fortunately they said yes.

This recipe is based on the 2015 NHC gold medal winning recipe from William Steimle, Dylan Vaughan, and Craig Vilhauer. Our batch will be a 10 gallon batch and will have to be split into two separate mashes. We'll then recombine for a single boil. The recipe as we brewed it is:

16.0# Crisp Maris Otter
11.0 # Fawcett Pearl Malt
2.31 # Crisp Roasted Barley
1.50 # Briess Golden Light DME
1.44 # Simpsons Double Roasted Crystal
0.63 # Crisp Chocolate Malt
0.63 # Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt
71g Warrior (60 min)
85g US Golding (10 min)
85g US Golding (0 min)
Yeast Nutrient
3 packets US-05

Mash at 152F, 90 minute boil, ferment at 63F then raise to 68F over a few days. After primary is complete, cold-crash to ensure as much yeast has dropped out as possible, then rack to whiskey barrel for aging. I'll start pulling samples after about a month to check this beer's progress.

Update 10/2/2015
No real issues from this brew session other than we missed our target gravity by a bit. We were shooting for 1.100 and got 1.090. The plan was to collect about 6.25 gallons from each mash, but I turned my back for a minute during the first sparge, and we ended up collecting almost 8 gallons. So our wort was a bit more diluted than we intended. 1.090 is still pretty high gravity, so I'm not too conscerned. Everything else went well and we wrapped up the brew session in plenty of time before I headed out of town for GABF.  This one went into the barrel today, finishing out at 9% ABV.

Update 12/6/2015
I racked this into kegs today to force carb. This beer tastes amazing...malt, chocolate, vanilla, oak, roast, and of course whiskey. The barrel has done a bit of magic; I'd say this beer is ready to drink now and doesn't need to be aged to enjoy.

Update 1/10/2016
This beer was bottled yesterday. Most went into 12 ounce bottles, but my buddy Brandon was brave enough to do a bunch of bombers for his portion. I'm interested to see how it ages, but this beer is drinkable now.