I love the taste of black licorice. It's become something of an acquired taste over my life, but now I think it's one of my favorites. When I was in college I bought my mom a wedge of blue Stilton from the local cheese shop for her birthday one year. I'd never had a blue cheese as strong and pungent, and decried that it "tastes like old people." My mother thought this was a funny, albeit odd, description, but it didn't stop her from relishing the cheese. "One day," she told me, "you'll crave things like this."
So this licorice stout was a natural progression for me. I brewed a basic stout, but used a good amount of roasted wheat for head retention and roasted rye for the interesting, full flavor it lends. In the last five minutes I added a few splintered sticks of licorice root, then left them in the primary fermenting bucket to continue to infuse.
When it finishes fermenting, it should be at a modest 6%~ ABV, so it should be ready to bottle in just a few weeks. In hopes of making a stout other people will enjoy drinking, I didn't go overboard on the licorice root, but I'm still hoping to get some of that sweet, beguiling flavor in each sip.
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