Thursday, January 11, 2018

10 Year Old Courage RIS Clone

A torch passing of sorts. With the bottles of my 2007 batch of Courage Russian Imperial Stout clone running out I rebrewed the recipe (with a few tweaks) in 2015. I’ve labeled the caps from 2017 to 2050, so this marks the extension of my now decade-long Christmas tradition!

Watch me drink the two beers, or read my thoughts below. If you've got any comments on the videos (other than my microphone induced v-neck) let me know!

Courage RIS 2007

Smell – Fantastic mixture of deep/dark Port-like fruitiness and rich caramel. Roast is subdued, more coffee than a Quad or Belgian Strong Dark, but not by much. Brett provides subtle leathery notes, but it isn’t obvious with everything else going on. I could pass it off as "age" if I hadn't brewed it.

Appearance – The head is soap-sudsy, the bubbles are larger than expected. Nearly pitch-black body. When I returned for a second pour it came with hard bits of desiccated yeast. Should have poured it all to start!

Taste – Similar to the nose, rich and full of plums, figs, caramel, and light roast. The Brett lingers softly in the finish. Leather, and maybe a little cherry. Harmonious, really balanced thanks to the added attenuation by the Brett. Minimal hop bitterness thanks to the aging. Still tastes remarkably fresh compared to big stouts I’ve brewed more recently, thanks to the metabisulfite.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and full, without being sticky. Low carbonation, perfect for a big dark beer.

Drinkability & Notes – Would have opened another bottle if it was an option. One of my favorite batches of homebrew to date.

Changes for Next Time – As close to perfection as I can imagine creating in a big-dark-funky-fruity-historic stout! I don’t know what Courage Russian Imperial Stout tasted like 100 years ago, but I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t this good!

Courage RIS 2015

Smell – Fresher and more apparent English-maltiness. That brown malt provides a coarse toasty note that clashes with the bolder Brett funkiness. Comparatively mild caramel and dark fruit.

Appearance – Darker, denser, creamier, longer-lasting head. Part of that is higher carbonation, and the rest is likely freshness.

Taste – Coarser, with burnt toast, Brett-funk, and oak competing for attention. There are some nice flavors there, and the fresher-brighter-cleaner biscuity and roasty notes are pleasant. Hopefully with time the oak will mellow and the Brett and malt will balance.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation disrupts the smoothness, especially when combined with rough tannins from the oak. Hopefully the latter will mellow, and swirling helps with the former. Not sure if I was unsuccessful at killing the Brett, or if I simply over-primed (or had attenuation from the bottling strain).

Drinkability & Notes – It’s OK, but still young, rough, and discordant. It has a lot of time to improve, and I'll be disappointed if it doesn't!

Changes for Next Time – Hopefully time is all that is needed, but would be hard not to revert to the original recipe if I were to brew this again… especially on a larger scale!


Marco B said...

I made a dark beer with Brett (TYB 261) and at nearly 5%, none of the special B makes it through. Would you recommend dark candi syrup to attain that sort of figgy, raisin, dark Belgian flavor? I was going to up the special B and add some crystal 120 this next time...

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I think the combination of dark crystal and candi syrup is a good way to get those flavors. They reinforce each other and lend depth.

Andrei said...

nice subliminal advertising, on the barrel head... :)

Marco B said...

Hm, ok. I may end up having about 4% of the bill be some Candi syrup then. For those flavors, does the 90 do the job?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Yes, 90 is a good choice for dark fruit.

Anonymous said...

Any reason for using Candi instead of brewers syrup as talked about in Ron Pattison's vintage beer book? To my taste they're similar, but brewer's invert is a bit different at similar darknesses.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The first time I brewed the recipe I wasn't aware of brewer's caramel. It worked so well with candi syrup, and I was planning to age the new batch so long that I was reluctant to change things too much. Certainly would be fun to try it with the more authentic sugar though!