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07/29/07 12:58 PM  
Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Hi All,

I have never made a stout (drank lots) or a belgian dark (drank lots more) and this Belgian Imperial Stout looks interesting challenge. Any thoughts?

**Podge Belgian Imperial Stout - Impromptu Tasting @ The Publick House


Based on the Russian Imperial Stout style, it weighs in at 10.5% alcohol by volume, and is brewed with Pils malt, 6 specialty malts, Challenger and EK Goldings hops, dark candi sugar, crystal sugar, and a Wyeast Irish Ale yeast strain. Unfiltered, unpasteurized, and bottle-conditioned. Quite unique as it's probably one of the only examples of the style to from out of Belgium, and using an Irish Ale yeast strain is also most interesting.**

I presume the irish ale yeast produces the dry stout profile. I have a WY3522 yeast cake that will be freed up in a couple of weeks. The 3522 profile at ferm temps below 75F is "clean & malty" . I wonder if this would be a good yeast to emphasize the specialy grains and get close to a stout profile although i'm not sure what ingredients or processes would give me the dryness.


07/29/07 03:57 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
DBear, I'd go over to the other board and ask. Its not a coincidence that there is a guy named Podge who sometimes contributes there.
07/29/07 04:37 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Thanks SteveG I plan on doing that.

I also come to this forum because I value the collegiality shown and expertise shared by the members about things Belgian, especially yeasts.


07/29/07 05:43 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
You know, its worth mentioning that Podge is also a writer, he and his lady did a book on beer hunting in Bruggse. Sorry I can't say I have any well infomed data here for you, but I bet if you hunted around online you'd find some material on the beer penned by Podge. I zap off a note to him tomorrow, ask him if he can come by to help you out. Real good guy that Podge. Steve
07/31/07 09:47 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Not sure if you noticed my reply on your last post but I just did a belgian imperial stout with 3522 aged on french oak chips.....I used a whole lot of malt, honey, dark belgian candy syrup and chocolate, roasted, special roast, and honey malts, with northern brewer/mt. ranier hops.....it too weighs in around 10.5 % alcohol. While it is still young in the bottle, I tasted one several days ago (after a little less than two weeks of bottling) and it tasted PHENOMINAL. I am very excited to see what happens with this beer over time. The sweetness of the yeast compliments this style very well, and it really lets the roasty character shine through. It also produces very clean, easily drinkable beers with high alcohol percentages. I also used it on an multi-award winning Belgian Barleywine which came in at around 9.5% ABV and that was dangerously drinkable. So, indeed try this yeast with your recipe, I'm sure you'll be pleased!
08/01/07 02:00 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
BPotts, would you be so kind as to share your recipe and particulars for your Belgian Imperial Stout?
08/01/07 10:24 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Keep it simple. Take a base Imperial Stout HB recipe and use Chouffe's yeast or Westmalle's.
08/01/07 11:24 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Sure slavetotheyeast.......

Specialty grains for steeping included:

3/4 lb. chocolate malt

1/2 lb. roasted malt

1/4 lb. special roast

1/4 lb. gambrinus honey malt

For the boil:

12 lbs. of amber DME

About 1/2 cup of raw honey (a very generous cooking spoon full)

8 oz. of belgian dark liquid candy sugar


1 oz of Northern brewer and 1 oz of Mt. Ranier for bittering

2 oz of Mt Ranier for flavor

(Mt. Ranier is a new american low alpha acid variety from which lends a licorice/citrusy flavor to beer, perfect for porters and stouts)

Yeast: WY3522 of course.

I used a longer boil for this beer, around 90 minutes. I fermented in glass for two weeks around 70-72 degrees, then transfered to secondary and added a healthy handfull of french oak chips which had been boiled for awhile to sanitize and extract tannins.

Like Loren suggested I usually take a simple recipe and tweak it by changing the yeast/hops and adding or subtracting certain ingredients. I love trying Belgian Stouts, (there are several available around Philly) so I figured I should try one with my favorite belgian yeast! My recipe is LOOSELY based on the Avery Imperial Stout Recipe from Sam Cologione's book Extreme Brewing. Some of steeping grains were modified, the hops changed out, and the yeast switched to 3522. Instead of cane sugar which that recipe called for I switched to honey and dark liquid candy syrup.

When first bottled it tasted really crazy, the flavors seemed to be all over the place. After a week and a half longer I tasted a small 8 oz bottle....I was very surprised and happy....the flavors all seemed to be melding together very quickly and well. The taste is sweet from all the malt and the chouffe yeast, but I know this yeast tends to dry out over time. It was deliciously roasty and chocolately. As I said before, with a couple more months of age they should be amazing. I bottled 90% of it in 22 oz bombers and I plan on just sitting on them as long as possible, dinking one every once and awhile to see how it's changing. This one is definitly one for cellaring.

08/01/07 03:13 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
I too have noticed that 3522 seems to have bizarre, funky, almost undescribable flavors when you taste a very young beer, like 7 days or less in the bottle (sometimes I taste one around that time just for kicks). Seems like that all goes away fast, though.
08/01/07 04:07 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Every time I used this yeast it takes around 1-2 months to condition fully in the bottle.....it's a very low flocculater but attenuates high in the end....I'm always surprised how different my beers end up tasting after that 1-2 month period.

By the way, I think I also added a 1/4 lb. of black patent for steeping....I know my total steeping weight was 2 lbs.....

08/01/07 05:50 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Funny--my experience has been that 3522 is very flocculent (and yet, as you say, it still attenuates very well).
08/01/07 06:44 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Hmmmm....interesting...what temp do you ferment at? I found at warmer temps it finished a little quicker (logically) but still took twice as long as 1056 might take....I've also used it primarily on higher gravity ales so maybe that's why....
08/02/07 07:04 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
BPotts wrote:

"(Mt. Ranier is a new american low alpha acid variety from which lends a licorice/citrusy flavor to beer, perfect for porters and stouts)"

Interesting...I bet some smoked (rauch) malts in this recipe would be a perfect add.

08/02/07 08:24 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
That would be interesting....i forgot about spice additions that I put in there too....a half a teaspoon of vanilla extract (no beans were on hand unfortunately) and 1 oz. of cracked juniper berries
08/02/07 10:05 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
I'm not sure how exactly "flocculent" should be defined, but what I mean is that the yeast drops out fast *once it's done fermenting*. I'm not considering how long the beer takes to ferment, so it sounds like we're talking about two different things.

I agree that temp, and especially pitching rate and yeast aeration, play a huge role. I find 3522 floccs great at 75F, even down at 1/2 million cells/ml/P, with the yeast well aerated either in the starter (but not the wort), or else in the wort itself. I just noticed this morning that a similar beer, made on Saturday, has developed the usual thin clear layer at the top as the yeast has begun to settle out.

08/02/07 10:56 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Really? Huh.....I usually end up with both lengthy fermentations and long settling times while bottle conditioning. I have noticed that the stout I bottled about 2 1/2 weeks ago has conditioned quicker than usual (for me), and I think it's because it's been really hot here and warmer than usual in the basement. It spent about a month in fermentation including primary and secondary and even when I bottled it was still slightly in suspension (perhaps I bottled a little early but I think it's ok). I ferment all of my beers at the same temp. except for the sour ales, and they never take as long as the 3522. I have pretty much just been working with 1056 otherwise with IPA's and PA's and they all finish up in a few days and have cleared within a week and a half. I haven't even needed to rack them to secondaries and they settle quickly in bottle...

During the winter I had barleywine with 3522 and it took a month just in the primary....when I got around to bottling it took another 2 months to come around....my belgian IPA with 3522, which was a much more modest than the barleywine, took a month or so to clear in the bottle....I'm thinking aeration may have something to do with it...I don't use a pump or stone or anything...I just pour it into the fermenter from altitude and let it splash as much as possible switching between wort and filler water....or use a funnel in glass carboys which i think aerates pretty well but not as much as a pump.....I used some nutrient with the stout and combined with the warmer temps I believe it's clearing a little quicker than my others....

Hmm.....just checked out the website and it does say it's a high flocculater....I'll have to try a light low gravity beer with it and see how that turns out.....experiment time....

08/02/07 11:00 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
By the way I went to Monk's last night and they indeed had the Podge beer in question.....but just as I was about to order that to taste this new stout I also noticed they had the 2006 De Struiss Pannepot Imperial Porter/Sout(?).... Delicious!!....I read a bit about this on beer advocate or ratebeer or something and it got rave reviews as "the best beer no one knows", I would recommend it to anyone....i'm sorry to say it put my imperial stout to shame! Maybe after a year it'll be something closer....
08/02/07 11:10 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
It could very well be that with more aeration you'd see the same 3522 ferment/flocc. But, it's impossible to say without knowing how much yeast you pitch and how you treat it before pitching. I think I understand your aeration practices, but what are the details of the yeast you pitch? Right out of the pack? Starter with airlock? Starter on stir plate? How big?
08/02/07 11:18 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
I use the standard Wyeast Acivator smack pack, just let that puff up all big and throw it right in before i've added all the wort to the fermenter....no starters....
08/02/07 12:21 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
At the risk of being pedantic (especially to a guy who has brewed multi-award winning beers), let me explain the background I'm using when I think about pitching rate and aeration...

To avoid an extended /stuck ferment (with other possible issues such a solventy esters), we need to ensure the yeast don't run out of anything they need before all of the sugar is fermented. Two of the things they can run out of are sterols and fatty acids. To make these things, they require oxygen.

(Okay--they could also make the fatty acids from olive oil or from a lot of trub. But not the sterols.)

Unfortunately we can't give the yeast oxygen once the fermentation has started, because it would create nasty flavors. Therefore, we have to give the yeast oxygen *before* fermentation starts in earnest, so they can stock up with all the fatty acids and sterols they will need for the entire ferment.

The more yeast we pitch, the less each one has to be stocked up. The less yeast we pitch, the more each one has to be stocked up. If the pitching rate is low enough, no amount of oxygen will be enough because each cell can only store up so much sterols and fatty acids.

So, we can't just talk about a required pitching rate or a required amount of aeration--we have to talk about the combination of how much yeast we pitch, with how much oxygen we've given it.


One combination that historically seems to work (a rule of thumb) for almost all yeast strains is 1 billion cells/L/Plato, with these yeast cells stocked up by fully saturating the wort with oxygen.

Alternatively, the yeast cells can be stocked up *before* they are pitched into the wort, and then the wort doesn't need to be aerated. This can be done in a continuously aerated starter, a stir-plate starter with a loose cover, or at the dry yeast factory. (Dry yeast are generally fully stocked with sterols and UFAs.)

Some strains seem to be okay at pitch rates somewhat lower than the rule of thumb--and I think 3522 is definitely one of these. But, I am also not aware of ANY commercial brewery, US or Belgium, that pitches much less than half of that rule of thumb.


Say you made 5G (19 liters) of 1.080 (20 Plato) wort. The rule of thumb pitch rate, with 100% oxygen saturation, is then 19*20*1 billion = 380 billion yeast cells. And I'm aware of no commercial brewery with a pitch rate corresponding to less than 190 billion cells.

The Wyeast pack you are using has ~100 billion cells (if it is fresh). You are getting no more than 33% oxygen saturation (based on A.J. Delange's experiment posted in Homebrew Digest #2271, available at hbd.org). This doesn't sound like a good enough combination to get the best performance.

On the other hand, maybe it does give you the performance you want. And if not, then I think we understand the whole thing well enough to figure out what options you'd have to change that.

08/02/07 12:39 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
It's quite alright, I'm very simple when it comes to making beer I (I have yet to make my own first batch of all grain beer...) and I've only been brewing for 4 years or so (this being the first year I felt confident enough to start entering comps...) so I have a lot to learn on the more technical side of things.

I'm glad you've brought this up because I've always wondered whether starters were really necessary or not, and clearly in some cases they are. I could also pitch two yeast packs, which would be the lazy expensive way of doing it. From now on I will definitly take this into greater consideration when brewing higher gravity ales (my regular beers have been fine....). I did notice a slightly solventy character to the Imperial Stout, and perhaps I was a bit hasty in bottling (the yeast seemed to still be going a tiny bit).

The last competition I could have taken a pump as a prize, but I opted for a bunch of hops....next time I wont pass it up!

08/02/07 12:48 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Although, as a side note, the rigerous fermentation period for the stout was VERY rigerous....After twenty four hours it was happily bubbling out of the blow tube... when I came back the next day, blow-off was coarsing through the blow tube, and the pitcher was erupting with a huge mountain of foam and large puddle of sanitizer and blow-off was gathering around the fermenter...what a mess! So here's my next question...after such an intense primary fermentation is it not safe to assume the yeast is healthy enough? After I cleaned up that mess and things calmed down, even when I transfered to the secondary, about a week and a half/two weeks later, it was still bubbling out of the airlock once every 45 seconds - minute.
08/02/07 01:59 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
"after such an intense primary fermentation is it not safe to assume the yeast is healthy enough?"

Unfortunately, it's not safe to make that assumption. The thing is, the yeast can ferment vigorously at the start because they haven't yet run low on sterols and fatty acids. It's only when these compounds get low that you see an effect--almost like a car that runs out of gas.

A good way to tell if your pitch rate and aeration were optimal is how fast your fermentation finishes. For room temp ales (even of very high gravity) the final gravity should be reached in about a week, and after that the yeast should start settling (the settling may be faster or slower depending on the strain--but 3522 can go pretty fast).

Of course there are a few exceptions, yeasts that just seem to go slower. Dupont is the only one I can think of though.

The two Wyeast pack idea would get you in the ballpark for cell count, but the packs would have to be pretty fresh and you still might want to think about your aeration. Lots of ways to approach that, but the cheapest thing would be to just shake the carboy hard for 5 minutes, which would get you a lot closer to saturation. If you lay it on its side and rock it back and forth you can keep generating a lot of froth without too much effort. (You have to hold a solid stopper in, the whole time, with your hand.)

Personally, I either use dry yeast (2 packs gives you 400 B cells that are already fully stocked up!) or make a starter on a stir plate. (On a stir plate, a 1L starter grows ~100B additional fully stocked cells.) But that's just what's easy for me.

08/02/07 02:18 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Good to know! I'll definitly do extra to get the yeast ready next time.....Thanks for all the input.
08/02/07 02:24 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
At this point maybe I should just start a new thread...but in response to that... if that does happen, then what's the best thing to do? Add more yeast? Or just let sit and finish slowly?
08/02/07 02:33 PM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
I'd add more yeast, because flavor impacts are possible when the yeast is sitting there but running low on the stuff it needs--you want to minimize that time. (Mostly it would be acetate ester problems.) The added yeast doesn't really have to be "Belgian" because you've already developed a lot of flavor. So a pack or two of rehydrated Nottingham will add a lot of well-stocked cells for not much money. I wouldn't just throw the dry yeast in--not sure how well it would fare rehydrating in 7% alcohol or whatever.
08/03/07 10:16 AM  
Re: Belgian Imperial Stout...WY3522
Thanks all for the recipe details and the informative exchange.


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