Bottled the Stout

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bottled the Stout

A few days before I made all the changes and moved the kolsch and cream ale around, I bottled my Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout cone. If you remember right, I noted that I was WAY over on the oak chips and it was a little like drinking bark.

To help deal with this, I added some water, about 2qts or so, and let it hang out in secondary for a while.

I had another taste since doing this and I have to say it made a big difference. The oak flavor is still there and pretty strong, but nothing like it was before. I am going to let them mellow out in the bottle for a while. As you can see from the pictures, the watering down did not impact the SRM in anyway.

With this bottling I tried a trick Nick was telling me about for long-term storage. You wrap the threads of the growler with Teflon tape and then screw your top on. With these I am going to be bottle conditioning so I have to be sure not to over tighten the caps because the plastic caps (with the plastic diaphragm in them) will break if you try to over tighten them too much. With the Teflon tape it allows you to tighten them snug, without feeling like you have left them loose.

This weekend we are brewing an IPA and a flavored porter. For the flavors we are looking at anise to do something like the pugnacious porter I did a while back, or perhaps some maple sugar to try something different. Any input would be appreciated!



grove said...

Ouch. A full pound of oak chips to the secondary? That's quite a bit of oak, especially considering it was chips -- which have a lot of surface. Did you use American or French oak (or something else)? American oak is supposedly a lot "stronger". :)

I thought an ounce or two would be plenty in a 6 gallon batch. Did you prepare the oak chips in any way before adding them to the secondary? (like soaking them in whisky or boiling to sterilize them)

I'm seriously considering making an oak aged imperial stout soon, so experiences like these are very useful.

Travis said...

Yea so Nick said the same thing you did about the oak chips. We used American to boot.

Prepping wise, we just dropped them in. It was one of those "on the fly" decisions where we hadn't thought about it and just figured 'meh' and dumped them.

Considering how much of the oak chips were used, adding water really helped and because it was an imperial stout, it just knocked us down to a regular stout.

Honestly, I would go pretty light on the American oak chips. Maybe it's because I have had a mouthful of them, but it's not a very appealing taste in anything greater than a hint.

Otherwise the recipe we used is pretty good. Great Divide makes some BIG beers and this is no exception.

Jonathan said...

Sounds like you tried to cram a whole tree into that carboy... We just brewed an applewood pale ale and used 1 cup of applewood chips per 5 gallons. We actually thought this was a little underkill (not a word), so we'll probably up it to 1.5 or 2 cups next time.

Travis said...

Yea we definitely got the "earthy" flavor we were looking for ;-)

Nick learned an important lesson with this one: just because I have brewed for a lot longer than him, it doesn't mean that I was brewing correctly for a lot longer.

Seriously though, I have a tendency to "brew by the seat of my pants" where Nick is very calculated and thinks things through. Together we should be able to brew some good beers.

Adam said...

Perhaps with age things will mellow.

Two heads are better than one. I too brew by the seat of my pants. I'd much rather be the one keeping me on track or in check, but, I can't do both well.

In general I would say adding a little bit of something is much better than adding a lot. That's assuming that you will try and perfect the recipe the next time if there are problems.

Never seriously thought of using oak chips up until this point. Thanks for sharing!

grove said...

The January-February 2008 edition of Brew Your Own magazine showed up in my mailbox today. The main feature is, not surprisingly, "Beer & Oak". :)

Travis said...

Nice! Better late than never.

Brian said...

Howdy! I may be confused but I believe that with American Oak you may have a lessor degree of "Oakiness" in your brew than with French oak?

Travis-I really enjoy your "brew by the seat of your pants" approuch, and subscribe to that approuch myself..also I'm digging your photo there..some of my favorite movies in fact I just wrangled my "For a few dollers more" album cover this past weekend! That completes the man w/no name trilogy..kick ass (fyi-my next brew is going to be named the "Bounty Killer").

Travis said...


Yea, this was actually from the Outlaw Josey Wales. Don't ask me what train of thought got me to that picture and quote other than I liked it.

I was told that the Amreican were the stronger of the two, but I could be wrong...God knows I was wrong on everything else to do with Oak.

No matter what though, at least I am not brewing in Georgia.


Jonathan said...

Wait a second...