What you're looking at is cooling wort (proto-beer) for what we're calling Zero Hour Russian Imperial Stout. Since I've still not gotten a pot large enough for a full-volume boil, this is only 1/2 of the beer, and in this state it had the consistency of some motor oils. Also pictured here is the mighty cooling coil that Pablo fashioned for me last year. He is mighty, and I will continue to sing his praises.
The reason that you're looking at this is probably less of a surprise for you than it was for me. Pete had asked about doing an Imperial off and on, but yesterday, mid-afternoon, he simply announced that we were brewing it. Now, in order for this to make sense, I need to impress to you that Imperials are not small projects. My normal approach for something of this magnitude would have been a week's worth of planning, including a trip to the brew store to make sure they had precisely what I needed, and a full day set aside for the boil. Pete was in Full Project Mode however, so once I expressed my disbelief and reservations, I sat down and formulated a recipe (mostly pale malt with roast and black patent for color and character, and an enormous quantity of hops) that I think might be worthy of the undertaking. I sent him shopping while I took care of the janitorial elements of the brew.
Once we were supplied, he donned the hat of authority and wondered out loud if I was crazy for all of the stuff the recipe called for while I racked The Brown Pants and bottled the latest English Bitters variant. I'm thinking that we're looking at at least 5 weeks before the brew hits the bottle (1 week in primary, 2 in secondary for conditioning/clarity, 2 in tertiary for dry hopping), and then at least a few months before we can say that it's ready.
At any rate, we finished around 8PM. There's now an empty carboy and ideas for about a dozen different beers/meads/wines that I jotted down based on the conversation we were having. I won't be caught off-guard again, I can promise you that. Multiple brewers under one roof may mean that we'll need still more bottles as the season continues.
Iron chef notes are forthcoming. As I mentioned, yesterday I was otherwise occupied.