Recipe: Black Is Beautiful Imperial Stout

Another highly unusual brewing collaboration emerges from what has been a highly unusual year.

Recipe: Black Is Beautiful Imperial Stout Primary Image

Black Is Beautiful is an open-source stout recipe that anyone can brew. It’s also a contribution to the Black Lives Matter movement and growing support to end police brutality and systemic racism.

Marcus Baskerville, founder and head brewer of Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, Texas, conceived and launched the effort to raise awareness and funds for that cause. Participating breweries produce their own versions of Black Is Beautiful, donating all proceeds to local legal defense funds and reform projects aimed at ending police brutality or supporting equality and inclusion.

So far, at least 989 breweries—representing all 50 states and 19 countries—have signed up to brew a version of the beer. Each brewery chooses its own project or foundation to support; Weathered Souls, for its part, is sending its proceeds to the Know Your Rights Campaign, which focuses on educating and empowering the next generations of black and brown leaders.

As open-source, widespread, collaborative brewing for a cause, Black Is Beautiful follows the recent All Together IPA, which supports hospitality workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. That effort has so far attracted at least 855 breweries from all 50 states and 53 countries.


At a minimum, drinkers can support the cause by buying locally brewed versions of the beer. They can also urge their favorite local breweries to participate (optionally using the hashtag #BlackIsBeautifulBeer on social media). They can also join a mailing list to learn when and where new releases are appearing.

As an open-source recipe, of course, Black Is Beautiful also is available to homebrewers—who can buy commercial versions to compare with their own and make their own donations to local causes.

“As someone who has personally dealt with the abuse of power by the police, this recent turmoil the country is facing has hit home for me,” Baskerville says in a message on the Black Is Beautiful website.

“As I write this, I contemplate how the country can move forward, how we as the people, can create change, and what it will take for everyone to move forward with a common respect for one another. For us, we feel that this is our contribution to a step. Sometimes, that’s all it takes for change.”


Make It: Black Is Beautiful

Anyone can view or download the basic recipe on the Black Is Beautiful website, including a homebrew version tailored by award-winning homebrewer Annie Johnson for the American Homebrewer’s Association. This is simply our attempt to adhere as closely as possible to the commercial template, which can then be adjusted according to your own systems and whims.


Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.091
FG: 1.018
IBUs: 57
ABV: 9.9%

MALT/GRAIN BILL 9 lb (4.1 kg) two-row pale
2.1 lb (953 g) flaked oats
1.75 lb (794 g) Carafoam
1.6 lb (726 g) caramel malt (120L)
1.4 lb (635 g) black malt (500 SRM)
1 lb (454 g) dextrose/corn sugar
11 oz (312 g) chocolate malt (350 SRM)


HOPS SCHEDULE 3.3 oz (94 g) Cascade [5.5% AA] at 60 minutes
1.4 oz (40 g) Cascade [5.5% AA] at 30 minutes
1.4 oz (40 g) Cascade [5.5% AA] at 10 minutes

White Labs WLP001 American Ale, Fermentis SafAle US-05, or other Chico strain equivalent.

Mill the grains and mash at 154°F (68°C) for 1 hour. Raise the temperature to 168°F (76°C) and mash out. Lauter and sparge as necessary to obtain about 6.5 gallons (25 liters) of wort—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. Chill to 68°F (20°C), aerate well, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at about 70°F (21°C) until complete, then crash, carbonate, and package.

From Weathered Souls: “This recipe was developed to highlight the different hues and shades of black. Our recipe is only a guideline, and please feel free to adjust as needed based on your system needs. Everyone knows their water profiles best, so we also leave that up to you. In Texas, we have very hard water, so we personally use RO and add calcium chloride and calcium sulfate to adjust PPM. … We also add a small amount of maltodextrin but will leave that up to how you want the viscosity and mouthfeel of your beer.”