This year I’m taking a more seasonal approach to my brewing, trying to brew and drink my homebrews when they’re traditionally or commonly made and enjoyed. First up is a Russian Imperial Stout (RIS) that I intend to age until the temperatures drop next autumn. Last June I brewed a RIS that I named Vlad, and it has matured into a delicious and warming beverage for a cold winter’s night. In making Son of Vlad, I increased the grain bill from 14.5 lbs. to 16.5 lbs. to raise the original gravity (OG, a measure of the amount of fermentable material for the yeast to convert into alcohol and carbon dioxide).
When I transferred Son of Vlad from primary fermentation to secondary to get it off the trub (the gunk at the bottom of the fermenter consisting mainly of dead/dormant yeast and other detritus), I took a gravity reading to see how well the yeast had done their job. Before primary fermentation, the OG was 1.067, which was below normal for a RIS. After nearly two weeks, the gravity had dropped to 1.013, which translates to about 7% alcohol by volume (ABV).
I’ll leave it in secondary fermentation for a while, then bottle it and cellar it until next fall, opening the occasional bottle for quality assurance purposes 🙂