Darkest Days

Darkest Days

Imperial Mocha Stout

Inspired by one of Black Label Society's most moving songs, "Darkest Days" is an imperial stout brewed with Zakk Wylde's very own Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend coffee. Fueled by death and spiced with cocoa nibs, this beer packs quite the punch in both flavour and alcohol. Do you bleed black?

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  • StyleImperial Mocha Stout
  • Last brewedNovember 19th, 2017
  • Alcohol7.6%
  • MaltsPale, Flaked Oats, CaraAroma,
    Chocolate, Roasted Barley
  • HopsChinook, Nugget
  • YeastFermentis Safale US-05
  • ExtrasCocoa Nibs, Deathwish Coffee Valhalla Java
Darkest Days

As a long time fan of Black Label Society I wanted to make a beer explicitly designed for the band, all the way from ingredients to artwork. Since most of the time I'm fueled by Deathwish Coffee anyway, I figured it would be interesting to go for a coffee stout brewed with Zakk Wylde's very own Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend, and so I crafted the recipe and brewed myself one strong, roasty, dark beer. Once fermented, I let it smooth out for about 1.5 months before adding the cold brewed coffee along with some cocoa nibs for a smoother, rounder taste. After another week, the batch was bottled and moved to the cellar for an extra 3 months of final conditioning. Ready just in time for the launch of the band's "Grimmest Hits" album, this beer ended up being everything I hoped it would be: rich black pour with a dark tan head, medium bodied with roasted coffee flavours all over and just a hint of chocolate in the front. With some of the bottles left in the cellar for over a year, this stout just kept getting better and better.

Initial pencil drawingInked with markersDigitally coloured

The Artwork

Choosing the Grim Reaper as the subject for this label resonated both with the song itself as well as the band's new album. The illustration on its own took over 20 hours to finish, most of which was spent just on pointilism. When it came to colouring, I wanted to add just a speck of it, so I went with the dark olive green matching the "Grimmest Hits" album cover and kept everything else just dark, gray and grim as it should be.

Gumpenspitze in Eastern Karwendel • 2,176m
Tyrolean Alps, Austria

Aging Experiment

With this being one of my first stouts, I though it would be a good experiment to let some of it age for well over a year. I've done a similar thing with a small bottle of my "Dust N' Bones" pale ale and it turned out quite interesting. After about 8 months any hoppiness was long gone, however the beer itself tasted almost like a barley wine; very piney and even with hints of honey. I figured it's worth putting this one to the test as well to see what flavours I can get out of it, just that in a larger 750ml bottle and with custom retro packaging.

Darkest Days Showcase

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