Owl of the Birch Imperial Stout

15 birch moon 2012

Brewed under the full of the Birch moon and blessed by the owl, the brew gained otherworldly strength…

Grain Bill

  • 10 lb 2-row pale malt
  • 1 lb roasted barley
  • 1 lb crystal malt 60L

Hop Bill

  • 1 oz UK Northdown ( 7.2% Alpha)- 60 minutes
  • 0.5 oz Brewer’s Gold (~ 10 % Alpha)- 60 minutes


  • White Labs Dry English Ale yeast

The brew store in Salt City did not have any proper Irish yeast, so I had to go with what there was. An insult to be sure.


  • 16 qts Adirondack spring water
  • Mash in. 130F. 30 minute protein rest
  • Raised to 150 for a two hour rest

The books say that a stout does not need a protein rest, but I have always done one and the stouts have turned out wonderfully. It ain’t broke.


  • Sparged with 5 gallons of Adirondack spring water
  • Did the sparge indoors due to the cold temps outside


One hour boil with all hops added as soon as the wort broke a rolling boil. As the wort boiled outside, brother owl came to visit and hooted his blessings from the trees.

Starting gravity: 1.082!

I have used this same recipe many times and never gotten a gravity over 1.060. I am not quite sure how to explain the extremely high gravity this time. I do normally sparge outside, and in this case I did it inside, so perhaps it held the temperature better and got a better extraction. This is the only thing I can think of. But still, this is a very extreme difference. I have to chalk it up to the blessings of the owl.

I had made a started the day before and pitched the yeast immediately after cooling the beer down outside with owl. Normally, I wait to pitch the yeast the next day, but after the last fiasco, I wanted to get some fermentation going as soon as possible.

Racking Primus:

Birch moon 20.Gravity: 1.028

This is a huge drop in only five days. This beer can’t wait to begin slaughtering brain cells. I added some yeast nutrient and am giving it a few more days to see if I can get it lower.



2 thoughts on “Owl of the Birch Imperial Stout

  1. Pingback: Simple Stout | STL Beer Book

  2. It took me all day today, but i gathered up enough ambition to keg this thing. Final gravity was 1.024, and this was after pitching a champagne yeast in there when Huck and I brewed the scotch ale to try to clear it. It just ain’t going any lower.
    Tastes very nice, though heavy and sweet. This is not going to be a dry stout by any means.

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