Beer 14: Epic Russian Imperial Stout and Finer Crush

Surprisingly taking only 5 days to carbonate, this beer is everything I want in a big Russian Imperial Stout (by the way, I’m pretty sure ‘Russian’ simply means high alcohol, like an Imperial Stout). Big, dark, malty, dry, bitter, roasty, with a lot of hidden alcohol. I really, really like this beer.


For this beer I started very differently. Normally I crush my grains at the beer store, which has been great. However, I wanted to have a much finer crush to increase efficiency. Also, I wanted to have the huge convenience of buying my grains ahead of time. Crush on demand; it doesn’t get any fresher. So I splurged on Cyber Monday and brought the Cereal Killer Grain Mill for 80 bucks. I adjusted the mill to credit card size and went at it. For this beer, I also increased my mash time by 10 minutes to a 40 minute mash, just in case (after all, this is 12% ABV). Everything else was normal: 30 minute boil and a slow 24 hour chill method in my fermentation chamber. Conventional wisdom says that, for high alcohol beers, you must use a starter and must aerate the wort before pitching the yeast. I said fuck no to both. This beer fermented well and it’s not sweet by any means. Which means it’s close to 12%. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing and can’t wait to brew it again. I don’t know if the finer crush or the 40 minute mash helped (I’m guessing the finer crush did), but I would stick to the same method.

As I said in my last post, recipe matters. I got this recipe from a trusted internet source:, which I read religiously. Thank you Matt Waldron.

Russian Imperial Stout, 5 gal, 12%ish
16 lb. Maris Otter
1 lb Crystal 60L
1.5 lb Roasted Barley
1 lb Special B
.5 lb Chocolate malt
~2.5 oz Warrior hops FW (30 minute boil)
2 packets of Safale 05

Slow chilled for 18 hours, fermented at 65F for 7 days, cold crashed, added gelatin next day, bottled 9 days after brewday. In fact, the grain to glass time was 14 days only. Damn.

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