B-Day Labels #7 Accidental Imperial Stout

At Microsoft (my day job) it is traditional to bring in X lbs. of M&M or chocolate where X is the number of years you’ve been there.  Over time people bring in a variety of forms of candy.  Last year I made a Brown Ale with Chocolate Malt in it. 

This year I started out with a sweet stout that I was going to add actual chocolate to.  But this was the first time with my Grain Mill and apparently I got the efficiency more than right.  When I was done I forgot to check the OG.  When I did, a few hours later, it was not 1046 like I had planned, but 1072.  Yikes!  This meant I had just under pitched the yeast and I had no more.

When I was able to get more, I found that it had fermented, but threw another pack of Nottingham in anyway.

Time for the chocolate.  I spent 30 minutes at PCC looking for chocolate nibs (chocolate in a more raw state), to discover that they did not have them (so glad I called ahead, grr).  I then sprinted to Whole Foods and found chocolate bens, nibs, and powder and far too many confusing things.  The differences is the the earlier in the processing the more the chocolate flavor you get is not what people expect for “chocolate".”  That is because it is very bitter (no sugar yet).   The trick here is I wanted a unit of 6 (for 6 years).  I decided to go for 6 ounces of nibs.  To balance that I wanted to add 6 Vanilla Beans, but then I saw the cost of whole vanilla beans (like $5 a bean) and decided that I could go with 6 inches!

After I fermented and racked to a secondary, I added the chocolate and the chopped bean (soaked in vodka to sterilize them).  I let it sit in secondary for several months.  When I first tasted it, I was expecting an over bitter beer and had bought lactose form Larry’s which will allow me to sweeten without the yeast fermenting it away.  And I tasted, and it was too sweet!

I brought it to Mt Si. Homebrew Club and it was agreed it need more bitterness.  I was ready to boil some hops to create more bitterness, but it was not needed.   I let it sit in the keg and get more carbonated (the CO2 will form carbonic acid).  Now it is perfect.

The real problem is I have yet to have a Friday at work where I can crack the keg and chat (as I do not plan to get any work done).

Ok the real problem is I have to stop “tasting” it Smile


For the label I wanted an image of a Russian bear slipping on banana (playing off of the style is now Russian Imperial Stout) but I could not find an image suitable.  I then looked for kings slipping and other things.  Finally I had to make a king/imperial banana:


The delivery was at a meal with prime rib.  I was in a meat coma for 4 hours!





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