Competition Beers Update – Amber and Imperial Stout

I’m getting really good with these catchy headlines, huh?

I wanted to write a quick blog about the two beers that I’ve worked on so far in 2016. I transferred both* out of primary fermentation this afternoon; the Amber Ale (Uncommon Wrath) is now being carbonated in the basement, while the Imperial Stout (Carcosa) is in secondary, conditioning on some additives. I don’t want to tip my cap just yet on what I’ve added to the beer just in case any of the members of my club are reading and trying to get some ideas.

Transferring Carcosa to secondary.

Transferring Carcosa to secondary.

My gravity reads were actually pretty damn close. The targets were 1.013 and 1.023, and I hit 1.014 and 1.026, respectively for the amber and stout. For someone who has had consistent trouble getting consistent numbers, this was a nice win. I attribute part of the discrepancy to the volumes of each beer. I had way over 6 gallons of the amber and only about 4.5 gallons on the stout*. My hydrometer is also a few points with its calibration so that’s going to have to be a new purchase sooner rather than later.

Both of the beers are quite pretty looking:

Uncommon Wrath and Carcosa

Uncommon Wrath and Carcosa

It doesn’t come across in the photo, but the amber is actually pretty damn clear. I was very happy with how well it settled out. Meanwhile the stout is black and opaque, though it shows nice clarity when held at the right angle.

So how do they taste? Well, obviously this is 1. biased and 2. pre-carbonation but both turned out good so far.

  • The amber has a nice fruitiness that I was looking for and meshes well with the toffee and caramel notes from the malt. It is a solid amber (at least I hope it will be after carbonation), but a little unremarkable. I may have to do some adjustments to the recipe to turn it into a competition winning beer. That said, no noticeable flaws yet.
  • The imperial stout is fucking tight. At almost 9% it has absolutely no noticeable heat, and just a nice mouthfeel even without the carbonation. Roasted malt, hints of coffee and chocolate, just dynamite. Possibly my best pre-carb beer ever. We’ll see what the conditioning does to it. I’m actually a little worried about the conditioning now because of how good this tastes as a base. Hopefully I don’t muck and muddle it up to much with the additives. I have high hopes this could be my best brew to date.

That’s it for today as far as updates go. I’ll post another once the amber is carbed in a few days and give my thoughts on it.



* The imperial stout is a 10 gallon batch, so only half made it out of primary fermentation today.


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