Sunday, September 1, 2013


"I do not like this word 'bomb'. It is not a bomb. It is a device which is exploding." 

       - Jacques Le Blanc, French ambassador to New Zealand, 
on France's 1995 nuclear tests in the Pacific

Take your pick:

All bombs, or bombes. Some are more chocolate than others.

The reality is more like:

The rig above is a blow-off hose into a large plastic jar with water that serves as the airlock. While I've seen foam pushed through before, this blow-off rig has never been defeated. Until now.

In action:

And really, that's just the fermentation. I had a wonderful picture of the surprise boilover that occurred during brewing, but managed to lose it.

I'm glad I didn't name this beer beforehand! This was to be a self-indulgent brew day. An imperial stout is self-indulgent enough, but this one will see the addition of some booze-soaked cacao nibs and vanilla bean to make it a chocolatey. It already has the barley flakes to make it smooth and rich, and that's why it's so prone to explodiness-- it's almost viscous. And I think I've lost about 4 or 5 bottles' worth already to boilover and fermentation foaming.

Assuming it doesn't foam itself entirely out of the fermenter, this beer will get its cacao and vanilla additions in a few weeks, see some further aging, and be bottled in November. It will then get some nice shelf time, probably requiring until at least January before it's ready to be cracked open and enjoyed as a mid-winter treat.

Self-indulgent indeed, and self-named, too."Bombe" it is. Chocolatey and explodey.

The recipe below doesn't include the cacao or vanilla additions. Also, because of the boilover I mentioned, the hopping is... unknown. I don't know how much hops were lost when the pot turned into a mad, frothy god and whether replacement additions were less, more or about the same.

Imperial Stout
Type: All Grain Date: 31/08/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer: Chris Klein
Boil Size: 6.67 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Brew Pot (8gal) + Coleman Cooler
End of Boil Volume 6.12 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 67.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 71.6 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5.00 gal Distilled Water Water 1 -
5.00 gal Kitchener Water Water 2 -
8 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 42.7 %
8 lbs Vienna Malt (Weyermann) (3.0 SRM) Grain 4 42.7 %
1 lbs Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 5 5.3 %
12.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6 4.0 %
8.0 oz Barley, Flaked (1.7 SRM) Grain 7 2.7 %
8.0 oz Special W (Weyermann) (150.0 SRM) Grain 8 2.7 %
2.20 oz Northern Brewer 10.6% Pellet [10.60 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 9 60.7 IBUs
1.10 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 10 -
2.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 11 -
1.10 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days) Other 12 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.084 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.086 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.022 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.2 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 9.4 %
Bitterness: 60.7 IBUs Calories: 295.6 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 39.1 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, No Mash Out Total Grain Weight: 18 lbs 12.0 oz
Sparge Water: 3.56 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 23.44 qt of water at 170.6 F 154.0 F 45 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 1 steps (3.56gal) of 168.0 F water
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Bottle Volumes of CO2: 1.9
Pressure/Weight: 3.00 oz Carbonation Used: Bottle with 3.00 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 65.0 F
Exciting boilover. Had to re-hop 1oz based on best guess of what we lost.

Exciting fermentation, too... possibly a quart lost to mass foaming, and a mess to clean up.
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