As the weather begins to (somewhat) cool down here in the sunshine state, my thoughts predictably begin to drift toward beer styles that are best enjoyed in the fall/winter months. I’m talking spiced winter ales, stouts of all varieties, heavy IPAs and Belgians. This is the time of year when those bigger and more complex beers make for such an enjoyable experience…especially in Florida. It’s ridiculously hot and humid here for so much of the year and when we (finally) get a little crispness to the air, I immediately think about brewing my seasonals for the coming months ahead. As if I'd need a reason to anyway, right?
Which brings me to one of my favorite styles of beer: the Russian Imperial Stout. These are known for their intense malt and flavor and their high complexity after aging. I recently attended a crazy bottle-sharing event and it seemed like it was more of a competition to see who could produce the most unique, rare & aged imperial stout. What’s great about this style of beer is that, like in wits and saisons, there are a ton of different angles and approaches one can take to the overall product. If I recall correctly, I believe breweries such as Surly, 3 Floyds and Cigar City – whose annual releases of their imperial stouts could almost be considered official holidays (and for many that I know, Cigar City's Hunahpu Imperial Stout release day is exactly that) – change up their recipe year-to-year, based on the preferences of the brewer(s) themselves. Isn't that awesome?! Each one of these breweries are well-known for their imperial stout(s) and the complexity among them is through the roof. There are just so many different things you can do with a Russian Imperial Stout.
GrassLands’ creation – Black Rose Imperial Stout – will be an experience in and of itself. Likely best consumed sitting a huge armchair near a roaring fire while debating medieval battle strategies, Black Rose will be an all-out assault on the nose and palate. As a tribute to one of the greatest tunes in the history of rock & roll and the geniuses that crafted it, Black Rose will be marked by its full body with hints of chocolate, spices, and roasted malt & coffee. This entrancing stout finishes with a residual sweetness and a smooth bitterness. Sound fun? Just an FYI; its ABV resides somewhere in the 10-12% range. That’ll keep the fires burning!
Even more fun is that this beer will always be split two ways: Black Rose Standard Imperial Stout and Black Rose Immortal Imperial Stout. The lone difference between the two? Black Rose Immortal will be aged on bourbon, oak & select spices. Black Rose Standard is essentially the base recipe for its "Immortal" brother.
With all that being said, I’ll be brewing the 2012 Black Rose Standard this coming Sunday, November 4th. Perhaps...if you want a glimpse of what immortality looks like, let me know and we’ll brew it together!
Now on to what’s happening lately. This week marked the fourth year in a row serving GrassLands beer at a work function called OctoBEERfest. In all its cheese, it’s a great time to bring people together and enjoy some good beer. I love involving people I currently work with in my goings on for GrassLands. Most haven’t had homebrewed beer before, let alone good craft beer, so it’s a great event for everyone. This year, I served my rye saison (Secale Cereale) and my blonde (First Light) to everyone. It was a total blast! Ran out of both beers (10 gallons) in less than 2 hours! I'd consider that a success!
We’ll get to Brewfest Tallahassee and other progress points next week – just know that things continue to spin along at a decent clip! So for now, enjoy your weekend, my dear readers, because you deserve it.