After a one year hiatus the Imperial Stout is back in action. We figured that after catching a bit of flack for its absence we’d have it return with a bang. We bumped up the starting gravity from 20° P to 24° P. This allowed the beer to finish just over 10% ABV. Like this year’s Barleywine, we’ve decided to play with the hop character, specifically the dry hop presence. Trying to avoid the fiasco of my previous attempt at adding pellets to the fermentor, I did what any good manager would do: I made Charlie add them. He had the advantage of being able to add the hops directly through a top manway and so his besting me in this challenge is not necessarily a sign of his superior brewing skills but more a reflection of my adventurous, try anything spirit (or at least that’s the story I’m stickin’ to). The Charles added 44 lbs of Cascade, split evenly between two batches, or about half a pound per barrel. We then transferred the beer onto seventy-eight pounds of an even mixture of Centennial and Columbus whole flowers, about one pound per barrel. The beer is a little top heavy in terms of the hopping but it seems to be smoothing out a bit as it’s aging. I’d give it six months or so, if you can wait that long. If not, hey, enjoy it anyway.
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