Fear The Dark

It’s that time of year when I like to brew strong full bodied dark beers.

Fear the Dark is a 10% imperial stout. The target is a medium-full body with notes of chocolate, caramel, and coffee. However, none of that will actually go into the brew. I hope to achieve these flavors flavors via various malts in the grist:

The Grist

  • Maris Otter Pale Malt – 60%
  • Golden Promise Pale Malt – 19%
  • Flaked Oats – 5%
  • Caramel Malt 40L – 4%
  • Carafa II – 3%
  • Pale Chocolate – 3%
  • Special B – 3%
  • Caramel Malt 120L – 1.5%
  • Blackprinz – 1.5%
  • Roasted Barley – 1.5%

This was a rather large grain bill for my Grainfather G30 to handle. The G30 can technically handle a 20lb grain bill but I don’t recommend trying that (I have). With my G30 I prefer grain bills of 17lb or less, but this one weighed in 18.5lbs. I knew the mash was going to be a challenge so I mashed for 90 minutes (I normally mash for 60 minutes).

Hops are not the star of the show here, but you need a considerable amount of bitterness to balance this much dark malt. So into the boil went approximately 85 IBU of Columbus hops:

  • Columbus at T-60 for 64 IBU
  • Columbus at T-15 for 17 IBU
  • Columbus at T-0 for 4 IBU (20 minute hopstand at 170ºF)

Also towards the end of the boil I added 2lbs of powdered dextrose to help drive up the ABV. I don’t like doing this but to achieve 10% ABV it’s necessary if I want a full volume batch. Next time I may reduce my batch size and skip with the dextrose. I can also double mash, but I’m not a huge fan of doing that either. We’ll see.

I prefer to bottle condition strong beers as to not have them tap where it will remain for a long time. I don’t often drink 10% beers. Here is what it looked like on bottling day:

I’ll provided an update when the bottles are ready for tasting.

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