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Russian Imperial Stout Recipe

Big and bold, an Russian Imperial Stout is an intense beer with complex flavors and strong alcohol warming. I developed this all grain recipe to be brew some time in the Spring so that it can be enjoyed the following Winter.

My plans for this one:

  • 6.5 gallons of wort for an hour long boil – targeting 5.5 gallons of wort at the end of the boil.
  • Create a large starter for this one. Maybe I can brew an American Amber two weeks before the Russian Imperial Stout, rack the Amber, and pitch the RIS wort right on top of the yeast used for the Amber.  That could work…
  • Plan for a long aging period. Once primary fermentation is done, prime and bottle it and let it sit somewhere out of the way for at least 6 months.


17 lbs. English 2-row Pale Malt
1 lbs. Belgian Special B
1.5 lbs. Black Roasted Barley
.5 lbs. Crystal Malt 60°L
.75 lbs. 2-Row Chocolate Malt
1.25 oz. Magnum Pellets – boiled 60 min.
2 oz. Fuggle Pellets – boiled 10 min.
2 oz. Fuggle Pellets – boiled 1 min.
Yeast: White Labs WLP001 California Ale


Original Gravity: 1.094
Terminal Gravity: 1.025
Color: 40.05 °SRM
Bitterness: 79.5 IBU
Alcohol (%volume): 9.1 %


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  1. This looks incredible. Think I could use Breiss 2-row malt instead of the English Pale? Just awesome.

  2. jambrewsbeer

    Looks interesting….I am looking for a beer to make this Friday. My only problem with high gravs is I use a 5 gallon cooler to mash in so I can only fit about 15 lbs of grain….I may try this and use some extract to make up for the rest.

  3. Hi Dave,

    First off, I think it’s fine to use 2-row for this recipe.

    I think there is some subtle differences between the pale and the 2-row malts. The pale is kilned at a higher temperature and has a fuller flavor. Because there’s so much base malt being used here, I think you would be able to taste the difference between a beer brewed with 2-row vs. pale. If you have 2-row, then use it.

  4. Hi jambrewsbeer,

    You should be able to use extract to make up for the rest of the grist.

  5. @jambrewsbeer
    I know its a pain in the ass, but you could also do two mashes. Put all your specialty grains into the first mash with 60% of the base malt. Then use the remaining 40% of the base malt alone and take only the high gravity first runnings from the second mash. Something like, we could work out better ratios off line.

  6. We pitched our last RIS onto a 001 cake, worked really well. Added some yeast nutrient to the boil and then aerated the heck out of it post-chill, and the yeasties had no trouble hitting the FG. Cheers and good brewing!

  7. Joe

    California ale for a yeast? It would have been cool to split the batch and see how the taste would differ with an english ale strain.

  8. Yes, it would be interesting. I choose the WLP001 because supposedly it can handle high gravity beers. I wonder if an English ale yeast could do the same.

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