Tuesday 17 May 2011

Courage Imperial Russian Stout

Having read about the Great Baltic Adventure I got in touch with the bloke behind it to see about the possibility of supplying a beer.

Sadly it was not to be as, not unreasonably, he was after some money towards his costs and the boss wasn't keen as we didn't have any. But on the plus side I was emailed some instructions for how Courage Imperial Russian Stout was made.

It's fascinating stuff looking at an old brewing record, quarters of malt and lbs of alpha, black malt added to the copper and best of all, handwritten on the last page "when primary ferm ends add Brettanomyces".

When I read about Colne Spring Ale I was more excited than you would believe to see that a British brewer had used Brettanomyces up until 1970. Now seeing that a beer I had actually drunk in the 90s had had Brett in it I was overjoyed. This means that I am part of a continuous tradition of drinking British beers made with Brett.

As I had a culture of Brettanomyces claussenii to hand I had to give making it a go on the nano-brewery pilot plant at work. I followed the instructions as best I could, even adding malt to the copper, and giving the Brett a good while to do its work. I was very pleased with the result so I'm going to make this one again, on the main brewing kit this time.


  1. Dominic, Thornbridge brewery17 May 2011 at 22:17

    Excellent stuff.

  2. Very interesting post.

    I hadn't realised that Courage IRS was innoculated with Brett. I didn't notice it in the last couple of bottles of IRS I tried but I will be on the lookout for it when I crack the next one (ie I'll try and be sober).

    Any chance of a fuller picture of those instructions?

  3. Does that handwritten note begin "at transf to Park Street"? If so, Park Street, of course, being the old Barclay Perkins brewery, which was used as a bottling store for the Tower Bridge brewery at that time IIRC, it looks as if they vatted it for a while at the Park Street premises before carrying out bottling there.

    I've still got a bottle of the 1975 CIRS, I believe (it's 3,400 miles away right now) so I'll try to remember to check for Brett when I get back and open it.

  4. I would ask Tim O'Rourke but I think he's at sea now...