brainhurter RIS: a recipe

As promised:

Brainhurter Russian Imperial Stout
Target OG: 1.092


  • 72% CMC Pale Malt
  • 6% Flaked barley
  • 6% Simpsons Black Malt
  • 6% Simpsons Roast Barley
  • 3% Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt
  • 2% Dingemans Special B
  • 5% Turbinado Sugar (add to boil)

Infusion mash with sacch’ rest at 154F, mashout at 170F.


  • Bittering charge: Apollo (whole, 17% aa) to 50 IBU
  • 5 minute charge: Centennial (whole, homegrown, assuming 9% aa) to 30 IBU


  • US-05 (2nd generation), pitch at 68F and free rise to 72-73F.
    From notes: “Pitch on 2-pack cake from Amber Ale primary; fermentation almost instant: watched krausen rise in real time, blowoff in ~6 hrs.” SG 1.012 after primary, 1.010 at packaging. Burly …

22 thoughts on “brainhurter RIS: a recipe

  1. Might just give this a shot as my next batch. I’ll have a cake of 1056 from an Irish Red freeing up soon that I’d like to put to good use. Looking forward to seeing how this develops over time.

  2. Good job on fermentation! – especially considering the relatively high mash temperature. I guess the sugar, the fermentation temperature in the high end and the rather extreme pitch rate did the trick. How long did it take for primary fermentation to complete?

    • Cheers, David! I have that bottle in cold storage and am holding it in trust for a time when I can drink (and blog about) it with my two erstwhile colleagues – stay tuned …

  3. Just found your blog. Love it! I have a question about your Russian Imperial Stout. What was the batch size and the total grist weight?

  4. Have you ever had any issues racking directly onto a fresh yeast cake? I’m debating if I want to try to wash the yeast from a Mild (brewed last Saturday) before racking my barleywine onto the yeast cake that will be brewed this Saturday. Normally I’d wash it, but I don’t want to pull the Mild off the yeast before Saturday AM and WLP002 is nearly unwashable as it is so I’m not sure if I’d be doing much besides reducing my pitching rate by attempting to wash…

    I think this spring I might have to brew a Dry Irish Stout in time for St Pattys and a RIS with the yeast from that… Were you looking to dry this out as far as it went?

    • No, not as long as the source batch was sound. I think there’s a Platonic ideal of reusing yeast, and in reality there are tradeoffs between sanitation, freshness, timing, trub carryover, storageability, generation, etc. It seems to me that if break separation is good pre-primary, sanitation is good, generation is not past its prime, blah blah blah, and there’s a fresh wort waiting, there’s not a problem with reusing yeast right out of the primary, right?

    • If it were my beer, I’d start tasting samples at about 3-4 weeks and be ready to package as soon as it’s to your liking. If the beer is for immediate consumption after packaging, you could oak it right up to the level where you like it; if it’s for cellaring, then you could consider over-oaking just a bit since that profile will fade with time. If you do oak it, please let me know how it turns out!

  5. Hey Dawson. Really enjoying the blog. I’m wondering about the 5 minute centennial addition to 30 IBU. When I calculate it (for 5 gal), I come out with ~7oz being added in the last 5 minutes. I suppose that’s entirely possible if you’re using homegrown. I thought I would double check before I dump $20 in at 5min. Or maybe I’ll use a slightly higher AA like Columbus to reduce amount by a little. Any other recommendations? Thanks for the blog and recipes; I already brewed your porter!

    • Your math is right – 7 oz. At the time I was thinking of the combo of roast and hoppy in black IPAs and wanted some that flavor/aroma in this beer’s youth. But, don’t drop $20 on finishing hops – I was sitting on several pounds of homegrown Centennial when I brewed this, and that 7 oz. added zero dollars to the cost of the batch. Use whatever other hop variety (or varieties) you have on hand or prefer, use whatever’s on sale, buy a pound for $20 and get another 9 oz. free, adjust for a higher alpha, etc. The beer turned out well as written, but there’s always room for tinkering (and improvement). Let me know how it (and the porter) turn out!

  6. I was considering making this and using clarity ferm to remove the gluten (for a friend who is gluten intolerant, but loves RIS). Do you have any experience with clarity ferm? If so, how well do you think it would work on such a large beer?

    • I have zero personal experience with Clarity Ferm, so I won’t give a recommendation one way or another – my buddies who work at NB customer service, however, did a bunch of test batches with it and would be much better informed about it that I.

    • Have not tried it with whiskey/wood, so I can only guess – I think it would work pretty well, although if it were mine I’d cut way back on (or even eliminate) the finishing hops, and compensate for the lost IBUs with a bigger bittering addition. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

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