“Dolph” Russian Imperial Stout 2013 (All Grain)


Brewed with Chocolate Rye, Belgian candi sugar and vanilla beans, Dolph offers up some interesting complexities not typical to stouts.  This may be my most popular brew to date.  It seems to be all my friends’ favorite.

Dolph, named after the actor who played the Russian boxer in “Rocky 4″ (…see what I did there?), was my shot at a very approachable Russian Imperial Stout.  I had high hopes for this one in the CT Beer Trail Homebrew Contest, but was disappointed when I saw my score sheets (below).  Unfortunately, I later found out that a big part of why my scores might have been lower than expected was because I neglected to mention the use of rye in this brew.  Rye is known for creating a “spicy” flavor in beers.  That is likely the off-flavor the judges picked up on but couldn’t identify.  That spiciness could be misconstrued as an off-flavor from stressed yeast.  I’ve also been told that any rye beer should be categorized as “specialty”.  Oh well… live and learn.


Batch Size:  5.5 Gallons
Measured Original Gravity: 1.076 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.018 SG
IBUs:  71.3
ABV:  7.6%



Mash at 152F for 75 minutes then fly sparge until desired volume of wort is collected:

11 lbs Irish Stout Malt (substitute other 2-row if not available)
1 lbs 8.0 oz Chocolate Rye Malt
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
8.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt
8.0 oz Oats, Flaked
8.0 oz Roasted Barley

1.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min
1.00 oz Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 40.0 min
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 20.0 min

1 lbs Candi Sugar, Dark – Boil 15 min
1.00 Items Vanilla Bean chopped – Boil 5.0 min

2.0 pkg Nottingham Dry Yeast

1.00 Items Vanilla Bean chopped (Secondary 1.0 weeks)


Tasting Notes:

Contest scores aside, I love this beer.  There are so many flavors going on – spicy rye with subtle vanilla over layered caramel, coffee, plums, raisins and mild floral hop aromas.  It continues to evolve with age and is an almost entirely different beer 9 months later than it was fresh.  Since the original brew I’ve re-engineered and re-brewed, though not yet bottled.  The new recipe will be posted once it has matured and I’ve had an opportunity to taste it.

Score Sheets:

Homebrew contest score sheet        Homebrew contest score sheet        Homebrew contest score sheet




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