Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: IMPtolerant - Imperial Milk Stout, Batch #2

Batch #2.  My first ever batch of homebrew was a kit for cloning Widmer's Snow Plow, a Milk Stout and my first ever Craft Beer.  I loved it.  I had not drank since I had become a Christian, wrongly believing that the two were opposed to one another.  After some long battles with the Bible on many topics I was wrongly raised to believe, I came to an understanding that alcohol was not the Devil's drink, but a wonderful gift God had given to man to enjoy responsibly.  I began my journey by imbibing in Odouls while I was still living on my Bible College campus that forbid alcohol.  After some time my wife and I were at Chili's for dinner with my buddy and his wife; they had Snow Plow on tap and I decided to have a beer, a real one.  I tasted the Snow Plow and had to have a full pour.  Having not drank alcohol in nearly 5 years, this not-so-strong beer packed a punch.  It was unfortunate that Widmer ceased making it, and yet, when I was looking for my first recipe to brew and saw a clone for it, I had to do it.  First craft beer.  First homebrew recipe.  After brewing that beer I had left over hops since it only called for 1/2 oz bittering and 1/2 oz flavor (and no idea yet about isomerization and gravity), as well as a nice healthy yeast cake.  I decided to buy the grains and extract and make a smaller batch to increase the gravity, and added brown sugar as well.  I had no temp control, so the batch needed some aging.  While aging it, I added some Bourbon soaked American Oak chips to some, and left the rest plain.  After about 3 months I bottled the batches, and have aged quite a few for a year and a half now.  Thought it was about time to give a review.  This is for the straight Imperial Milk Stout, 8.8% ABV.

Pours like jet black oil, thick 1 finger brown head fades quick to a thin collar.  No lacing.

Smells of deep, rich chocolate, light coffee roast, toffee, chocolate milk, vanilla, caramel, tobacco, plums, mild cherries.  Almost smells barrel aged, but it's not.

Tastes of vanilla, cherries, plums, toffee, sweet breads, light roast, mild milk chocolate, tobacco, honey.

Smooth on the tongue, bubbly, medium body and light, semi-dry finish, warming.  A tannic-astringency on the back end, but not much.

Not bad for a second batch with all the missing information on how to brew an Imperial that I now have.  I think the tannins in the finish comes from over sparging and squeezing the snot out of the grain sack... repeatedly.  Surprising how the dark malts nearly disappear in the flavor, almost Barley Wine like.  Deceptively drinkable for 8.8% ABV.

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