Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Imperial Stout

12/17/02 - Imperial Stout. Oh, man, the name alone gets me salivating. The big daddy, the high muckity-muck of dark beers. Visions of how brewers get their skewed views from too many late nights dipping tasters and testers into cauldrons of this black addiction. Lucky for me making these beers isn't nearly as difficult as waking up after drinking a few. I had the pleasure of working with Chris Sheehan at The Twenty Tank where he always made awe inspiring stouts (still does at Chelsea Brewing in NY.) His thoughts were to really build up the base of the beer with tons of character malts before the addition of your roasted grains. I always figure a stout can't be too dark so load up on those caramel malts. All that sweetness needs to be balanced with a healty portion of bittering hops, we went with 75 IBU's. The most interesting part of this recipe was the use of Magnum hops for our bittering addition. This was my first time using them and at 14.8% AA and, or so I'm told, low cohumulone levels I was excited to check 'em out.

The brewing was fairly straight forward. We added a small percentage of oats directly to the mash and rested at 152°F. The lauter for this took an extremely long time (partly due to the oats but we've been having grain issues of late.) I ditched the oats in the second batch and it'll be interesting to taste the difference. Hop additions were made at the beginning of the boil, ten minutes before the end of the boil, and at the whirlpool. We fermented at a cool 64°F and allowed it a good month of fermentation / aging time.

The beer came out tasting great. The nose has a nice balance of chocolate and coffee with hints of sweetness / alcohol underneath. The body is big and velvety with the hopping present as an underlying spiciness. It tails off into chocolate milk shake. I'll try and dry out the second batch, but right now everyone here seems happy with the results.

As a side bar, we've opened up some bottles of our Big A IPA recently and, closing in on six months old, they've been tasting awesome. The huge hop and alcohol flavors have rounded off and a real pleasant orange character is coming through. Definitely a departure from the West Coast style of IPA's, which is what we were shooting for. If you were lucky or smart enough to have some aging try one out soon. Cheers!. (back to top of page)

2 Row Pale
10° L Munich
120° L Crystal
17° L Carastan
Chocolate Malt
Roasted Barley

OG 20° P
TG 6.1° P

Magnum -  Bittering
Cascade - Flavoring
Cascade -  Flavoring
Fuggle - Aroma

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