Kate the Great Inspired Russian Imperial Stout

Last updated 12/9/2011
ris-roasted-grainsLast weekend I brewed a monster of a Russian Imperial Stout. I’ve made a recipe the last couple of winters based on the Old Rasputin recipe, but this year I decided to make something based on a beer I can’t get my hands on — Kate the Great.

For those of you who know the name, you know it’s one of the limited-release big RIS beers, and KtG is made in Portsmouth, NH. I’ve had it at the brewpub, but never been able to score a bottle. Fortunately, Tod Mott, their brewmaster, has made available the recipe for this incredible beer, and I decided to take a swing at it.

When we brew a batch of Kate we use 77% Pale malt, 2% Crystal 45, 1% Caramel 120, 1% Chocolate malt,1% Black malt, 3% Carafa DH# 3 (Weyerman),3.5% Wheat malt 3.5% Flaked Barley, 2% Roasted malt,3.5% Special B, 2.5% Aromatic. We dough in at 166 to stabilize the mash at 149 degrees F. Saccrification rest for 45 min. or until conversion occurs. Vorlauff (recirculate) ’til clarified and run off. Collect about 1/3rd of your wort and sparge to collect 6.5 gals (for a 5 gal. yield) at 26 degrees Plato or 1.104 degrees Specific Gravity. Yea it’s big…. but we like it like that!! (So you are going to need to use your mash tun efficiency to figure out how many pounds of malt you are going to need in total. But to tell you the truth when you get to this thick of a mash your efficiency is going to drop 3-4%).

Boil the wort for 5 mins. for the hot break and then add your bittering hops for 75 mins. We bitter at 38 IBUs with Magnum, 10 IBUs with Styrian Golding and 15 IBUs with Perle. This is the bittering addition. We add a flavor addition for 15 mins with Centennial for 2 IBUS. Our final addition of Palisade, Styrian Golding and Willamette account for about 3 more IBUs at whirlpool. Cool wort and pitch a good amount of White labs WLP 001 or Wyeast 1056 and ferment til it is done. Put into conditioning for about 5 or 6 months and you’ll have an amazing imperial stout.

Now, if you brew a partial mash, use 9#s Pale malt extract and 2# amber malt extract. Add to your brewing liquor and bring to 150 degrees. Add your specialty grains that have been lightly crushed. Add the crushed grains into a muslin sack consisting of 1# 45 Crystal malt,1/2# 120 caramel malt,1/4# chocolate malt,1/4# black malt,1/2# carafa malt,1.25#s wheat malt,1.5#s flaked barley, 1/2# roasted barley,1/2# special B and 1/2# aromatic. Steep the specialties in the 150 degree liquor for 45 mins. Remove the sack from your kettle and let the gains drip dry over the kettle as you bring the brewing liquor to a boil. Then add your Malt Extract (off the flame of course so not to scorch it), 18-20#’s of it should give you enough fermentables. Once you hit a boil add the hops as above and cool and ferment as above.


Now, with baking and brewing, I like to follow a new recipe pretty straight the first time through, but this one just had a few too many specialty grains that I didn’t have on hand, so I decided to take my own spin on it from the start. I also spoke with Michael Tonsmeire about his experience making this beer, and after his feedback, I decided to bump up the roasted grains.

This is the recipe I brewed. I use a 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler for my mash tun, and suffice to say that it was full. I had to use a grain to water ratio of 0.9:1 for my mash, hence the long mash time.

Wort Volume Before Boil: 8.25 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.06 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.06 US gals
Water Added: 0.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.06 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.081 SG
Expected OG: 1.110 SG
Expected FG: 1.026 SG
Expected ABV: 11.5 %
Expected ABW: 8.9 %
Expected IBU (using Daniels): 55.8
Expected Color: 57.2 SRM
Apparent Attenuation: 75.0 %
Mash Efficiency: 75.0 %
Boil Duration: 90.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 64 degF

UK Pale Ale Malt 20lb 0oz (82.5 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Roasted Barley 12.00 oz (3.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
German Chocolate Wheat Malt 12.00 oz (3.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Wheat Malt 12.00 oz (3.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Chocolate Malt 8.00 oz (2.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Medium Crystal 8.00 oz (2.1 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Black Malt 4.00 oz (1.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Dark Crystal 4.00 oz (1.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Flaked Barley 4.00 oz (1.0 %) In Mash/Steeped
UK Flaked Oats 4.00 oz (1.0 %) In Mash/Steeped

US Columbus(Tomahawk) (13.9 % alpha) 1.10 oz Loose Pellet Hops used First Wort Hopped
UK Golding (5.5 % alpha) 0.50 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 15 Min From End
UK Golding (5.5 % alpha) 1.00 oz Loose Pellet Hops used 1 Min From End

Other Ingredients

Yeast: DCL US-05 (formerly US-56) SafAle

Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Full Mash
Step: Rest at 149 degF for 75 mins
Step: Raise to and Mash out at 165 degF for 10 mins

conversion-testMy mash came out converted after 75 minutes, which I haven’t been testing for recently with my small beers, but I decided that this one was worth checking in on. My runoff was slow — I attributed that to the massive amount of head pressure from all the grain. No room for rice hulls in this mash.
ris-pre-boilAfter the boil, I transferred to a 13 Gal. carboy I have, after reading horror stories of blowoff from this wort, and pitched a fresh pack of S05 along with the washed slurry from my fresh hop pale ale a month back.

I put it in my basement, where ambient has dropped to 60ºF, and fermentation chugged along for a week, never getting warmer than 66ºF. Airlock activity has stopped as of the 27th, I’ll give it another week or two then rack to secondary, and let it mature cold through the next few months. In secondary, I’m going to follow Michael’s lead and age it with Port soaked oak cubes. March can’t get here fast enough!




Update 12/9/2012: I racked this on 11/18/2011 to secondary, and the gravity was 1.038 at that time. I gave it a few more days after transfer to show any signs of renewed fermentation, in addition to warming the wort to the high 60s (from low 60s). The gravity did not change. At that point, I pitched slurry from Wyeast 9097 Old Ale, which had a good brett portion. The brettanomyces has begun it’s work, and this batch is no longer going to taste anything like KtG in 4 months.


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