Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tasting: Imperial Black

Imperial Black Death. 11.4% ABV
I aimed pretty high when making this Imperial Black Ale. It was one of the bigger experiments that I have taken on. It was my first time attempting an ABV > than 10% without a pound of extract for safety. It was also my first time fermenting on a yeast cake. I didn't have a real comparison at what I was going for. What I ended up with is a rich, jet black, sweet and pungent ale.

The roasted grains are cut by the pound of Orange Blossom Honey. It wants to be astringent, at least more astringent, but the honey is a bit over powering. It is boozy. There is no doubt about that. It took  longer than expected to carbonate. It wants to be served above 55 degrees. Think red wine. Take it out of the fridge and enjoy something comparable before hand. I wasn't sure how much I enjoyed it until the temperature was right. The Galaxy Hops play a nice encore. Dark, dank beers and grapefruit need a something like Simcoe to roll hand and hand together. I would have enjoyed another two ounces of hops, preferably Simcoe during the dry hopping. The Motueka Hops get a bit lost. Before Dry Hopping it was a bit more mellow. You almost didn't believe that the ABV would climb over 10.5%, and if it did, you would encounter some trouble. It drank too easily. Plums and raisins and other dark fruits surface as it warms. Again, think red white or Imperial Stout. There is more going on then if it was extremely hopped.

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