A bit behind schedule, but finished nonetheless. The beer brewed for the International Homebrew Project was voted on, brewed, bottled and now it has also been drunk. I can say it was one of the most interesting recipes I have ever brewed. My version of the brew was a 2.5 gallon batch that turned out having a higher original gravity and a higher final gravity than any of the other brewers. I only got about 60% attenuation which I can only explain by assuming that the invert sugar ended up being mostly unfermentable. My version ended up looking like this:
2.5 lbs Warminster Maris Otter 51%
0.375 lbs Simpson's Dark Crystal 8%
0.5 lbs Amber malt 10%
0.375 lbs Brown malt 8%
0.375 lbs Roasted barley 8%
0.5 lbs lactose 10%
0.25 invert sugar 5%
0.5 ounces fuggle @ 120 min
0.4 ounces kent golding (super kent at 7.2% AA) @ 90 min
Wyeast 1318 London III
~0.5 lbs lactose in priming solution
Upon tasting, it has an extremely powerful flavor for a beer of 3.2%. There is so much lactose, and the final gravity is so high, that it's just very thick and is something of a sipping beer. As you can see from the picture, the carbonation has not fully developed in the bottles, and I think once it does it may provide a counter point to some of that thickness. In either case, it drinks and tastes like a much bigger beer. I genuinely think I could enter this in a competition as an imperial stout and do well with it. I just may. It's absolutely jet black and opaque in the glass. The flavor is dominated by dark malts and roastiness. There is a pronounced dark/unsweetened-chocolate flavor that hits you right up front and dominates the palate. There are some toasty malt notes as well as some berry-like fruitiness followed by some sweetness, but not as much as you might expect. Bitterness from the hops is mild-to-moderate but persistent as is a slight grassiness. The roasty coffee-like flavors and the slight fruitiness gives an experiance very much like drinking cold press coffee, and in a good way.
I think this ended up being a great beer. I don't mean to give myself much credit for that fact: the original recipe from the Barclay Perkins brewing logs is due all the real credit. Had it not been for the vote going the way it did, I probably wouldn't have ever given one of these historic recipes a chance, but I'm glad I did, and I hope to brew others in the future.