Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blueberry Imperial Stout

I'm sipping my new stout, which turned out pretty good. I was inspired to make this one down in Florida by Mack in Black, brewed in Fort Lauderdale by Holy Mackerel brewing. It was an imperial stout with a hint of pomegranate juice. You can't even taste the pomegranate when cold, but the fruit comes out as it warms up.

So for mine, I set out to brew it at about 8.5% abv. Unfortunately, the yeast died before long. It was a strong enough strain- I think the cold temperature in my house (around 50 at the time) killed it off too fast. So I added some champagne yeast, and got a bit more bubbling out of it. According to my final gravity reading, it should be about 7% abv, which means I left quite a bit of sugar unfermented.

I added some of that fake blueberry extract for flavoring beer, but not a lot. Half the recommended amount for the batch size, because I didn't want it to be overpowering.

I just opened my first bottle tonight. First impression is that I need to let it carbonate a bit more, although I did get a 1/2" head out of it. Pitch black with a tan head. A little bit of roastiness and blueberry in the nose.

The taste is roastiness first, followed, mixed with a sour blueberry flavor and a bit more hop bitterness than I'd expected.

The main thing I'll change next time I try this is to tone down the hops. I'd also like to use real blueberries in the brew. If that comes out better, I'd try a 3rd batch with a Belgian yeast, which is what Mack in Black uses.

Still, this isn't a bad start. The blueberry is as subtle as I was aiming for, although going down there's a bit of sourness/bitterness that I wasn't looking for. I don't want to give up on this beer, though.

Here's a link to my recipe. I'd love any feedback, suggestions, etc.

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