The Making of the Imperial Stout

I really enjoy stouts….not an everyday beer but as one of those that can top the evening off with that deep dark and sensuous flavors abundant in mature stouts. My last Imperial stout was brewed in December of 2010 – that last bottle consumed in July of 2012 and it was the best of the 40 bottles….it aged so well. I wanted to recreate that beer but as I always seem to do…I wanted it to be better!

The ingredients.

I started with a partial mash recipe…takes a little more time on brewing day but increases the complex flavors in the stout. I have used mail order suppliers in the past but I am also a firm believer in supporting local business. These guys are top notch…and on top of that they usually have a homebrew on tap to sample! Brewing day did not go smooth as I noted in a previous post but I think the results will not be compromised. The racking process discussed in my last post is a real positive indicator that the beer will be wonderful. The original gravity was pretty high, 1.093. I was concerned that I may not have aerated the wort enough before fermenting in the primary. I thought that it would take off vigorously and need a blow off tube…not. There was a good steady bubbling in the airlock, a thick two + inch thick krausen in the fermenter so I had fingers crossed that the yeast was working hard. The gravity when racking to the secondary addressed my concerns. The gravity had dropped to 1.024, a significant drop indicating that fermentation is nearly complete! If I run it through a calculator it comes out around 9.3% ABV….a pretty potent brew. With the addition of the toasted oak dowels and the infusion of the dowels in bourbon I should have a very complex and satisfying beer. Two months and then bottle and then wait a little more. I am hoping that it will be ready by New Years Eve – roll into 2013 with my new stout!   My bride and I had a nice visit with my cousin down in the Medical District here in Houston last night. We decided to make it a date night and after dinner we stopped by the Flying Saucer in downtown Houston, 705 Main St.  The varieties on tap, in cans and bottles is mind-boggling. I did join the saucer club but it may be several years before I have my name enshrined on the walls. Once you sample 200 beers your name is placed on a saucer and hung on the walls or ceiling for all to see. They were wise enough to put a daily limit on how many you can officially add to your tally – three beers per visit – I think that is a smart and sane way to manage the process. After two months I sit at 6 on my tally….it will be years getting there but hey, everyone needs a goal or two in life, eh?

So, what should I brew next….something for my wife I suppose! A Belgian Wit or a nice Blonde Ale….I will mull it over and yes, I know, seek her input! TTFNDrink local, drink smart,Bishop


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