Few beers can be called “meaty” in both the figurative and literal senses of the word. Expedition Stout, from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Mich., is one. Based on the strong, well hopped ales that England once shipped to the czar’s court, Expedition Stout measures between 10 and 11 percent ABV. You don’t seek out a beer like this just for the buzz, that’s for sure. Expedition Stout goes well with a wide variety of foods, from roasts and steaks to rich chocolate desserts.
This clone recipe was originally featured in the November/December 2002 issue of Zymurgy magazine.
Bell’s Brewery Expedition Stout Clone | Russian Imperial Stout
- 12.5 lb. (5.67 kg) two-row malt
- 1.25 lb. (0.57 kg) black malt
- 1.25 lb. (0.57 kg) roasted barley
- 0.5 lb. (227 g) chocolate malt
- 0.5 lb. (227 g) flaked barley
- 4 oz. (113 g) Caramunich malt
- 4 lb. (1.8 kg) amber malt extract
- 3 lb. (1.36 kg) dark malt extract
- 4 oz. (113 g) Centennial hops (45 min.)
- 1.5 oz. (42 g) Centennial hops (30 min.)
- 0.25. oz (7 g) Centennial hops (flameout)
- 0.25 oz. (7 g) calcium chloride
- Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast
- Original Gravity: 1.110-1.115
- Final Gravity: 1.028-1.032
- ABV: 10.7%
- SRM: 81
- Boil Time: 90 minutes
Mash rest at 150°F (66°C) for 20 minutes, collect wort slowly, and sparge at 170°F (77°C). Add malt extract to filled kettle. Boil for 90 minutes, adding 4 oz. (113 g) of hops at 45 minutes, 1.5 oz. (42 g) at 30 minutes, and 0.25. oz (7 g) at flameout. Pitch twice the usual amount of HEALTHY yeast cells, and aerate twice as much as normal. Pitch a new, healthy yeast culture to prime at bottling. Prime to reach about 2.3 volumes (4.6 g/L) of CO2. Age for as long as you can wait, ideally at least three to six months.
Primary Fermentation: 7–10 days at 72°F (22°C)
Secondary Fermentation: 2 days at 55°F (13°C), 7 days at 40°F (4°C)
The key to success is a healthy, vigorous yeast, asserts Alec Mull, who provided the recipe. “Otherwise, the beer will never go terminal, and the residual starch will make it cloyingly sweet.” For a 5-gallon batch of imperial stout in the 1.100 OG range, he recommends “pitching the slurry from at least a 1-liter starter, or brew another 5-gallon batch of normal-strength stout or ale and repitch the slurry from that.”
Homebrewers may use up to 5 percent caramel malt in the mash, depending on how sweet they wish the beer to be. Any of the high-alpha acid Pacific Northwest hops may be used alone or in combination. The homebrewer may also substitute English hops for a "more mellow, traditional imperial."