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


Imperial Stout – My Next Homebrew

Fire up the pot and let’s brew something. There was a sad day this summer of 2012! The last two bottles of my Imperial Stout that I lovingly brewed in December of 2012 was consumed….oh it was so good and I was able to share the heavenly experience with my son-in-law. Tayna does not normally drink stouts, but unless he was lying to me…and he knows better than to do that, he complimented me on this beer. It aged incredibly well.

The original batch was an all extract kit from Williams Brewing in California. The kit came with oak chips to add in the secondary and the final product was awesome… took a few, but once it got to that right age….about six months from brew date, it was very drinkable. I was going to order the same kit but decided to buy local. I have been encouraging readers to drink local beers so why not brew with ingredients from the local folks.

I went down to “Backyard Home Brewers Education Center” in downtown Humble yesterday and with the helpful folks there, searched for and found a good-looking partial extract recipe for an Imperial Stout. Now here is another plus of this local store…..cost difference. The Williams Brewing kit would have set me back about $46.00 plus shipping, here, the grain, extract, hops and yeast total cost was a bit over $26.00. I saved some money and got to build my own recipe! Oh yes, they had an Oatmeal Stout on tap in the store that was very tasty. Tomorrow, Saturday, they are having an all grain education brewing class…I wish I could make it but I am off to watch my youngest play soccer.

I will keep all y’all posted on the progress of this batch. I think I will saturate my oak additions in a good bourbon before adding them to the secondary. Yum! Check out the store and education opportunities if you live in the area.

A glass of my old stout, so dense that no light can penetrate its murky and tasty depths!

A glass of the previous batch…..just a wee bit heavy and oh so good!

Recipe will be posted soon.