Russian Imperial Stout (V: Wort Production)


This is the fifth article in this series on Russian imperial stouts

Russian imperial stouts are big beers. The BJCP gives the range of original gravities (OGs) as 1.075–1.115. In practice, most commercial examples fall in the lower half of that range. When it comes to wort production, you have several options.

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Russian Imperial Stout (All-Grain Recipe)

Char_T-34This is a recipe for a Russian imperial stout, to go along with my series on Russian imperial stout. There is also an extract-based recipe for this beer.

This is an all-grain brew that will require a long brew day. The large grain bill will be fully sparged, to yield 12 gallons (45 L) of wort, and boiled down to 5 gallons (19 L). This will take over 4 hours. Given that this is a big beer with lots of hops, there is also a settling stage after the boil, in order to increase the yield of clear wort from the kettle. (You can skip this if you have a way to filter your wort, such as a hop jack.)

Optimally, you should have a 15-gallon (~60-L) kettle with a burner capable of evaporating 1.5 gallons (5.7 L) per hour. However, alternate instructions for brewers with a 10-gallon (~40 L) kettle are also given.

One twist in this recipe is that a portion of dark malt is withheld and only stirred into the upper part of the mash near the end. This will make lautering easier. It may also help the mash fall into the proper pH range more easily. If you don’t want to bother with this, you can simply mash all the grains together.

T-34 Stout

Russian Imperial Stout

All-grain; English units



A big (9.6% ABV), roasty, hoppy stout. This ale is very flavorful and full-bodied, but attenuated enough that it is not too sweet.

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Barleywine (V:All-Grain Wort Production)


There are several options for making a barleywine

Once an all-grain brewer has decided on the malts to use in his or her barleywine, the next thing to consider is the method of wort production. (I covered extract wort production earlier.) Depending on the method you use, you may have to alter your recipe from an initial recipe based on your normal extract efficiency.



Your goal in wort production is produce a wort at the correct OG and volume, and with a fermentability that can range from middle-of-the-road to fairly high. Hitting your target OG will be easier if you review the elements that contribute to extract efficiency. Crushing the malt finely enough, stirring and performing a mash out all help in this respect. And of course, your method of wort production is also going to influence your extract efficiency based on how much wort you collect from the grain bed.

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Briggs-Haldane Barleywine

512px-Michaelis-Menten_saturation_curve_of_an_enzyme_reaction_LARGE.svgHere’s the all-grain formulation of Briggs-Haldane Barleywine. The wort for this barleywine is made by fully sparging the grain bed, and employing an extended boil to evaporate the excess water. You’ll need at least a 10-gallon (~40-L) kettle, but a 15-gallon (~60-L) kettle would be better. You only need about 7 gallons (26 L) of mash tun space, though. The long boil should darken the wort somewhat, and you can monitor how much color the boil develops, if you wish (see the options in the recipe). Remember that the long boil concentrates everything in the wort, not just the sugars. For that reason, don’t go overboard on mineral additions to your brewing liquor (water used to brew the beer with). Options for both continuous sparging and batch sparging are given.

Don’t even think about not making the appropriately-sized yeast starter. This yeast strain will flocculate out early if underpitched, leaving a sticky-sweet mess of a beer. Pitched at the proper rate, it will ferment like a trooper.

Briggs-Haldane is an English-style barleywine with a complex malt character. It’s made with a blend of English pale ale malt and Munich malt, which gives it a rich, malty character. A little bit of wheat malt and a tiny amount of biscuit malt add some bready and cracker-like notes. The beer is not sweet, and it isn’t loaded with the strong caramel flavors found in some English barleywines. The beer is full-bodied, though, and this and the complex malt character is balanced by the hop bitterness (46 IBUs). The hop aroma is of “earthy” Fuggles hops. At 7.5% ABV, this is not the strongest English-style barleywine ever — but it really is flavorful and nicely balanced.

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