Author Topic: Russian Imperial Stout color issue  (Read 383 times)

Offline wepeeler

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Russian Imperial Stout color issue
« on: March 15, 2019, 09:30:26 AM »
So I figured I'd jump ahead of the game for this coming Winter and brew my Russian Imperial stout. Made it last year and decided to tweak it a bit. Problem is the color was predicted to be 35ish in Beersmith, and it came out more like 20. Looks like a dark amber. Wondering if anyone has had an issue like this? Kind of disheartening to be honest. I'm sure it'll taste fine, but the color is going to bug the heck out of me. I made sure to measure everything accordingly. I even went back and double checked with the ingredients I had left to make sure I used the right amounts. It's a revamp of last years batch. I had mashed for 90 minutes last time and only 60 this time. Could that be the issue?

Is there anything I can do to darken this beer? Cold steep some black patent or roasted barley or chocolate? Boil it and then dump it in? 5.5 gallon batch, by the way. I wouldn't even begin to know how much to add after the fact.

8.13 gal Distilled
9.19 g Baking Soda (Mash)
3.24 g Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)
3.18 g Calcium Chloride (Mash)
1.64 g Chalk (Mash)
1.15 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash)
20 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
1 lbs Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM)
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
4.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)
4.0 oz Caramel Malt - 60L (Briess) (60.0 SRM)
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
28.00 g Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 15 28.8 IBUs
14.00 g Centennial [10.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 16 8.5 IBUs
7.00 g Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 17 5.5 IBUs
14.00 g Centennial [10.00 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 18 5.5 IBUs
29.00 g Centennial [10.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 19 4.7 IBUs
5.90 g Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 20 1.2 IBUs
2.0 pkg Scottish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1728) [124.21 ml] 3L starter


Est Original Gravity: 1.112 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.036 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 10.4 %
Bitterness: 54.4 IBUs
Est Color: 35.5 SRM
Measured Original Gravity: 1.110 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.030 SG
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 10.9 %
60 min mash @156

Offline Oginme

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Re: Russian Imperial Stout color issue
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 10:08:46 AM »
The first thing that hit me is the low amount of roasted grains you have.  Your total is a bit above 5% of the grist as dark roasted malts.  When I compare this to other recipes I have for this style, they are in the range of 10% to 14% dark roasted grains. 

If you cold steeped these dark grains, you will realize a lot less color than if you added them to the mash.  I never did realize the same color steeping the dark roasted grains than when I mashed them, so I went back to mashing them when I wanted the roast flavors to be prominent.

I would also check on the actual color of the roasted malts you are using.  Some malts, Chocolate being one of the main culprits, can easily range from upper 200's up to 500 SRM depending upon the maltster producing the product.  Similar, though not so wide a variation can be found in the black malt and roasted barley.

BTW, when I opened the file it gave me a brew house efficiency of 704%.  I quickly guessed that this should be 70.4% and fixed it to see the rest that is going on. 
Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline wepeeler

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Re: Russian Imperial Stout color issue
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 11:10:54 AM »
I had about 10% dark grains in my old recipe, and this one comes in at 7.5%. That could be the culprit. And the SRM of the grains matched what was in Beersmith. I did bump up the maris otter from my old recipe. But it's still weird that Beersmith predicted 35 and I got maybe 20 or so. Haven't had any issues before. My main concern is future recipes. I would absolutely have gone heavier on the dark malt if I knew I wouldn't be in the ballpark of what was predicted.

Also, I mashed 90 minutes in my old recipe and only 60 in the new one. Maybe that could affect color?

I attached the updated recipe. The other export file was wacky.

Offline Oginme

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Re: Russian Imperial Stout color issue
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 11:14:20 AM »
This is what I got with the new file for grain bill

Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline wepeeler

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Re: Russian Imperial Stout color issue
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2019, 11:21:39 AM »
Yeah, that's right. I was under the impression the caramel 60 and 120 would add color as well. Maybe I should have doubled up my chocolate, roasted barley and black? Either way BS predicted 35 SRM...
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 11:24:12 AM by wepeeler »

Offline wepeeler

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Re: Russian Imperial Stout color issue
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2019, 11:24:26 AM »
Here's my 2018 for measure. A bit higher in % but almost the same amount. Should have probably kept %s the same...

Offline dtapke

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Re: Russian Imperial Stout color issue
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2019, 08:04:21 AM »
in those amounts the caramel isnt going to add much (if any) color.

mash duration shouldn't matter as with an efficient system you should have full conversion in 30 minutes. so changing from 90 to 60 shouldn't matter.

I'm curious your sampling of the color, 20-35 is a relatively noticeable difference but with any haze or turbidity you may have a difficult time differentiating the two (this is why professional samples are usually spun clear or checked on a haze/turbidity meter)

it seems that judging by your session data, this was a pretty awful attempt at the recipe. You show a 56% mash efficiency, so if the program is allowing for a 70% efficiency and you came in 15% lower, it would make sense that your color, as well as sugar, and everything else would be off. If any of this session data is accurate, id say you need to work on becoming more consistent, then tweaking the program for that consistency. at that point you may get more accurate predictions.
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