Anti-Imperial Stout

20 litres; OG =1.087; FG =1.018; ABV = 8.9% (calculated, actual values may vary)


  • 4kg pale malt
  • 340g British caramel (or crystal) malt (90-120°L)
  • 230g chocolate malt
  • 340g debittered chocolate malt
  • 230g roasted barley
  • 230g wheat malt
  • 450g flaked oats (Bokomo or Jungle Oats will do)
  • 900g wildflower honey (available from the Walkerville Farmer's Market)
  • 250ml blackstrap molasses for bottling
  • Wyeast Scottish Ale yeast or Fermentis Saflager S-33 (for a sweet flavour profile) or S-04 (for a more subtle fruity flavour profile) dried yeast
  • Spices &/or Herbs:
    • 30g dried mugwort (60 minutes)
    • 15g dried mugwort (20 minutes)
    • 15g dried licorice root (20 minutes)
    • 15g roasted dried chicory root (20 minutes)
    • 15g dried chamomile flowers (10 minutes)
    • 8g dried lemongrass (10 minutes)
    • 8g dried sweet orange peel (10 minutes)
    • 15ml / 1 Tbsp dried sarsaparilla root
    • 15ml / 1 Tbsp vanilla extract - make sure to use natural extract, not artificial essence! (10 minutes)

Brewing instructions:

  • Heat 12 litres water to 60°C and mash in. The initial mash temperature should be around 52°. Hold temperature for 15 minutes, then add 6 litres of 93°C water to bring temp up to 65-67°C. (The rest at 52°C is a Beta Glucans rest which breaks down the proteins in the oats which is necessary to liberate its sugars and starches.)

  • When conversion is complete, raise mash temp to 77°C. Sparge and collect 22 litres. Add honey and molasses to wort just after it comes to the boil to avoid scorching.

  • Add 30g of mugwort at beginning of a 1 hour boil. Twenty minutes before end of boil, add remaining 15g mugwort, licorice and chicory. Ten minutes before end of boil, add chamomile, lemon grass, sweet orange peel and vanilla. If you plan to use a wort chiller, cover brewpot and let steep at end of boil for ten additional minutes before straining out herbs.

  • At bottling, add sarsaparilla and molasses to 1 litre water and boil 20 minutes, then let cool to room temperature with lid on pot. Add to secondary fermenter and gently mix in (avoid splashing so as not to oxygenate your beer). Prime and bottle. Keep in mind that dark beers tend to need less priming sugar due to the relatively large amount of dark, slowly fermenting sugars.

  • This stout will taste great in just two weeks, but should continue to improve as it ages. Save it for special occasions; don't waste it on your Castle-guzzling brother-in-law!

(Source: Recipe adapted to Imperial measurements as well as for availability of ingredients in South Africa.)