Monday, January 16, 2012

Imperial Licorice Stout

To me the best Imperial Stouts have a noticeable, if not assertive, licorice quality.  This is very evident in Heavy Seas' Peg Leg which is one of my favorites of the style.  As a black licorice junky who not only gladly drinks straight Jagermeister but also eats the black jelly beans that no one else likes, I wanted to bring this flavor to the front of a brew.

For Imperial Assassin, my take on an imperial licorice stout, I planned to use licorice root in the boil to give a decent licorice flavor.  Near the end of the boil I noticed that the flavor of the root had not come through nearly as strongly as I was looking for and added in a stick of Brewer's Licorice in hopes of increasing the flavor.  I plan to leave the beer in primary for one month before secondarying on Jagermeister soaked oak.  If the flavor is still not where I want it at that point I plan to use fresh anise seed at bottling to bring a bit of the classic licorice candy flavor through.  It might be hard to hold off this long on this beer but I hope I'm rewarded for it.

2.15.2012 - It's been one month to the day since I brewed and I finally checked the final gravity on this bad boy and it's down lower than I had expected at 1.017! That means that despite missing my OG it's still about 8.5% ABV.  More importantly it tastes amazing: raisins, chocolate, coffee, campfire, a mild tingly sweetness (I suspect the licorice root) and a bit of warming alcohol but not hot at all.  On the downside it does seem a bit thin and dry (probably due to the high attenuation shown by the FG) but hopefully with some carbonation it will come out creamy and delicious. I also received all my brewing supplies so I boiled the hungarian medium-plus toast oak cubes and added them to a jar with Jaegermeister in preparation for the secondary.  Those things smell HEAVENLY, they smell the way the best red wines taste (not surprising as most red wines are oaked). Despite this being my new favorite smell in the world I am hesitant to oak the entire batch and risk ruining the beer with two ingredients (oak and Jaeger) that I have not used before and, despite my plan, might not mend well with the other pieces.  I'm letting the oak sit in the Jaeger for a day or two while I decide but at the least half of the batch will be on the ounce of oak (if only 2.5 gallons are on the ounce there might be a stronger oak flavor for better or worse).

2.18.2012 - Bottled one half of the batch (one case worth) with .8 oz. Sugar. Other half was racked to secondary with oak and Jaegermeister.

1/17/2015 - Final Tasting.  A little too sweet and lacking in roast, but otherwise absolutely delicious.

5/11/2017 - Found a bottle of the 12b version that I didn't know existed. A little strange and unbalanced due to the licorice root unfermentable sugars showing a bit. Fortunately not oxidized and certainly not bad. Hard to tell if the beer has gotten worse after 5+ years or my tastes have just developed but it seemed 'meh' at best.

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