Spiced Imperial Stout – Apple Brandy Barrel (All-Grain)

This recipe was formulated for our group barrel brew on May 4, 2013. It’s based on Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout from Cigar City, which includes cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon and chiles. Like Hunahpu’s, ours will benefit from some time in apple brandy barrels. We’re making the chiles optional; they will need to be purchased separately and added to the secondary, but they are sure to make this one memorable!

Original Gravity: 1.088
Final Gravity: 1.022
Alcohol Content: 8.6%


14.25 lb. Muntons Maris Otter Pale Malt
1.25 lb. Flaked Oats
0.82 lb. Muntons Chocolate
0.45 lb. Weyermann Carafa II
0.33 lb. Muntons Black Patent
0.33 lb. Briess 120L
0.28 lb. Muntons Roast Barley

1 oz. Target Hop Pellets (Bittering 1) with 60 minutes left in the boil.
1 oz. Willamette Hop Pellets (Bittering 2) with 60 minutes left in the boil.
0.5 oz. Willamette Hop Pellets (Flavoring) with 30 minutes left in the boil.
0.5 oz. Willamette Hop Pellets (Aroma) at the end of the boil.

American Ale Yeast (starter provided by Keystone Homebrew Supply)

4 Muslin Bags

5 oz. Cocoa Nibs
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Vanilla Beans
2.5 Ancho Chiles (not included)
2.5 Guajillo Chiles (not included)


A few hours before you begin to brew, prepare your liquid yeast according to the package instructions. We assume that you are familiar with basic homebrewing techniques, so these procedures are abbreviated.

  1. Follow standard all-grain practices and mash the grains at 154F for 1 hour. Ensure that your mash tun is capable of holding this quantity of grains, as it is a rather large amount. Grain quantities were calculated assuming 70% efficiency, please see a Keystone employee if your efficiency is different.
  2. Once boiling, set a timer for 75 minutes. After 15 minutes of boiling, place the bittering hops (1 and 2) in a muslin bag and add them to the kettle. Keep an eye on the pot to avoid boil-overs.
  3. After 45 minutes of boiling (30 minutes remaining), add the flavoring hops (in a muslin bag).
  4. After 1 hour of boiling (15 minutes remaining), you may add ½ teaspoon of Irish moss, or 1 Whirlfloc tablet, to help clarify your beer (optional).
  5. After 75 minutes of boiling, turn off the heat, and add the aroma hops (in a muslin bag). Put a lid on your pot and cool your wort as quickly as possible. Remove the hops from the kettle.
  6. Make sure the wort is below 80°F before you have your wort transferred into a barrel, but do not perform the transfer yourself. Instead, let a Keystone Homebrew employee know that you are ready.
  7. Be prepared to drop off your sanitized and volume-calibrated fermentors at our Montgomeryville store by Saturday, May 25. If using a keg, you may bring a pre-sanitized keg to our store on the day of the event, or you may purchase a Sanikeg from us at any time.
  8. This beer will ferment in the barrel until completion, and it will be your responsibility to age on the spices, vanilla, cocoa, and chiles. We recommend aging this beer for at least 6 months, but this again is up to you. We will provide these ingredients to you when you pick up your beer. The easiest way to sanitize the additional ingredients is to soak them in high proof alcohol for 24 hours, decant the alcohol off, and add the ingredients to the secondary container. If you don’t do this, your beer may become infected.
  9. Using a hydrometer, confirm completion of fermentation prior to bottling. When ready to bottle, siphon beer into your sanitized bottling bucket, leaving sediment behind. Boil priming sugar in 1-2 cups of water for a few minutes, gently stir into the beer, and bottle as usual.
Bourbon Barrel Recipes