Friday, June 10, 2011

Cast Of Imperials: Ascension Ale

On this edition of Me and the Homebrews, after a four month hiatus the Homebrews brewed up a double batch of Imperials.

The first is a Brewer's Best recipe for an Imperial Blonde Ale. (Actual O.G. 1.054)
This recipe produces a malty, high-gravity, full-bodied version of this easy drinking, well-rounded beer style. Golden in color, Imperial Blonde Ale uses the lightest malt extract available and a unique balance of domestic and imported hops. A great recipe if you like big blondes! IBU’s: 26 - 30. ABV: 7.0 - 8.0. OG: 1.067 - 1.071.
Our actual original gravity (O.G.) is 1.054, so we lost a few points in the process somehow. All that means is that instead of 7-8% alcohol, we'll probably get 6%. Right now this is bubbling away in the primary fermenter. It has a wonderful butterscotch color and a thick head of krausen that looks like a meringue pie.

Imperial Mild with Specialty Grains.
We know, we know ... there's nothing imperial about a beer named "mild" and an OG of 1.062 is hardly extreme. But this beer has historical precedent, so act like you know: in the days when "mild" meant "not sour" to English pubgoers, dark ales like this could run much stronger than the lightly-hopped, low-alcohol iterations we know today. This overfed reddish-brown session beer crams twice as much mildness into every pint: dark fruit notes with a roasty chocolate edge, wholegrain biscuit and toast flavors, a pleasantly intense estery, fruity nose with a suggestion of earthy hop, and an invitingly round finish. A lawnmower beer for people with really big lawns, or a great mugful for the shoulder seasons.

For this one, the Homebrews added a couple of ounces of maldodextrin to round out the mouthfeel. Speaking of "overfed", this beer is made with 8 pounds of malt and sugar! Our actual O.G. is a touch higher than target: 1.068.

We had to use the 5 gallon carboy to ferment the Imperial Mild in since the 6.5 gallon carboy was already in use by the Imperial Blonde. The result was the Imperial Mild literally blew its top. Once I cleaned up the mess, I used the purpose-made blowoff tube to direct the foam into a small bucket of water, thus maintaining the air seal.

You can see the difference between the carboys in the picture. They both contain the same amount of beer (wort), but there is plenty of space in the first and none in the second. Click on the picture to enlarge and you'll see the temps on the carboys are a perfect 68 degrees.

These Imperials are going to be some big beers. Made on the Feast of the Ascension, we dub thee: Ascension Ale.

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