Recipe: Cape May Imperial Stout

Brewed with a massive and complex grain bill, this beer is for those moments of excess in your life.

Cape May Brewing Co. Jan 29 - 3 min read

Recipe: Cape May Imperial Stout Primary Image

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Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 65%
OG: 1.100
FG: 1.020
IBUs: 55
ABV: 10.5%

12 lb (5.4 kg) German Pilsner
3 lb (1.4 kg) German Munich (if you have the option, go for a light Munich)
2 lb (907 g) flaked/rolled oats
1 lb (454 g) American midnight wheat
1 lb (454 g) German chocolate rye
8 oz U.K. roasted barley
8 oz U.K. chocolate malt

2 lb (907 g) dextrose at 90 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Bravo [15% AA] at 90 minutes
2 oz (28 g) Bravo [15% AA] for 20-minute hop stand/whirlpool addition

Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

Mash the grains at 148°F (64°C) for 45 minutes. Vorlauf until your runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge the grains and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 l) of wort—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 90 minutes following the hops schedule. Add the dextrose to the kettle at the start of the boil.

After the boil, chill the wort to slightly below fermentation temperature, about 60°F (16°C). Aerate the wort and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 65°F (18°C) for the first half of fermentation, and then allow the temperature to free rise to 73°F (23°C) to finish out fermentation.

This is a big beer, probably coming close to maxing out your mash tun, so assume a lower mash efficiency than usual. If you aim low there, you’re more likely to hit the target OG and ABV, and if you can squeak out a few extra efficiency points, then you can just roll with a higher-alcohol beer or get a bigger yield off the batch.

With a beer of this size, you also need a lot of healthy yeast. If you can’t make a starter, use two smack-packs. And aerate the wort as much as you can! Use pure oxygen, filtered air, an aquarium air pump and aeration stone, or a whisk and stir in as much air as you can. The yeast will thank you and be more likely to complete this big task. Try to keep the beer on the cooler end at the start because a big beer like this will really stress out the yeast. Keeping it cooler will help keep the yeast healthy and chugging along.