12 x 330ml Imperial Stout
Big Ideas Series 17 Imperial Stout (9.2%) x12
Description and Tasting Notes
Pours very dark brown, almost black with a dark brown head and medium-high carbonation. On the nose there’s chocolate, coffee, honey, vanilla and cherry with a hint of aniseed or liquorice and traces of fruity yeast esters. Viscous, silky and velvet smooth, the small bubbles from the bottle conditioning enhance the soft mouthfeel. Robust, rich and full bodied on the palate with notes of dark chocolate, toffee and caramel balanced by a sharp berry fruit tang and assertive bitterness. The finish is long and sweet, coating the mouth. It’s easy drinking but decadent and refined.
What The Hell Was I Thinking?
The last stout we brewed was the Foreign Extra Stout and it was designed to be gnarly! This one is the counterpoint; refined, smooth, balanced and very moreish. The temptation to add cacao nibs, vanilla, tonka beans, lactose or a ton of hops late in the boil was resisted in favour of allowing the dark complexity of the malt sugars to shine, supported by a judicious quantity of hops and the same yeast that had already done heroic work fermenting the Belgian Christmas Ale and Dubbel Date. It’s interesting (to some) to see how the yeast character that pretty much defined those beers recedes here to become part of the chorus line as the big and bold dark grains that we know and love in stouts take centre stage. The classic Black Patent and Roasted Barley are joined by Belgian Cafe Light to form a trinity of darkness. Those Belgian esters are still there doing sterling work though, along with the Brewer’s Gold hops, providing the fruity top notes required to balance things out.
This is the biggest beer we’ve brewed so far and we filled the mash tun to capacity, so you can rest assured that any future beers that emerge at greater than 9.2% have been mashed twice and therefore entailed a very early start and much shovelling of grain. It’s certainly one way to keep warm in winter, but on balance, we prefer sitting down with the end product in a glass and a plate of cheese or bowl of sticky toffee pudding.