This is a great imperial stout if you're a fan of the style. Very robust, complex, and satisfying. Especially in the cold winter months. I entered this beer in the 2011 HBT competition and it placed first in category 13. It has received scores ranging from 34 to 46 from various judges. It has been submitted to 2011 NHC as well and so far it has received an average score of 35.5 in the first round and is advancing to the final round. I'll update results when they become available.
Some comments on the beer from judges include:
Rich, sweet, chocolate and molasses with complex fruity flavors. Malty-bread and toast flavors with low hope flavor but nice bitter roasty finish. Some coffee and alcohol notes.
Complex blend of roast, chocolate, dark fruit, moderate bitterness and some spicy/earthy hop flavor. Some alcohol, but not hot. Finish is slightly sweet with all flavors lingering in aftertaste.
A very well made RIS. Complex, but well balanced flavor profile.
Batch Size: 5.25 gal
Boil Size: 7.32 gal
Estimated OG: 1.095 SG
Estimated Color: 52.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 87.2 IBU
17.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) UK Grain 81.93 %
1.50 lb Roasted Barley Grain 7.23 %
1.00 lb Special B Malt Grain 4.82 %
0.75 lb Chocolate Malt Grain 3.61 %
0.50 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine Grain 2.41 %
4.00 oz Challenger [7.20 %] (60 min) Hops 59.1 IBU
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.80 %] (30 min) Hops 28.2 IBU
1 Pkgs English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) Yeast-Ale
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge. Hold mash temp at 151 degrees for 60 minutes.
A couple of things to note with this beer. Obviously, it's a pretty big beer so don't rush it. Your patience will be greatly rewarded. I'd say no less than a month in primary and then get it off the yeast and bulk condition for a minimum of another three months. I sampled it along the way and it's good after those three months, but if you can wait closer to six it becomes incredible. Second, don't make the same mistake I did. I waited until I was about ready to kick the keg before deciding to brew it again and now I have 6-8 months of agony while I wait!
The batch that was submitted to competitions was a little stronger than the recipe calls for because my boil got away from me a bit and ended up with a bit less volume. I just decided to roll with it and wasn't too concerned, but it didn't seem to hurt any. Also, ferment on the cooler side if you can so the fruit esters don't get away from you.
Also, while I know this is typically a beer you may consider cellaring, I haven't done that to any of mine yet. In fact, some of the judges mentioned that the beer tasted like it was peaking since some sherry notes were starting to get into the flavor profile and that was on just shy of a one year old brew, so in the future I would probably make it a point to drink around the 8 month range for it to be in its prime.
Looking forward to have you guys try this. Be sure to let me know how it turns out!