Homebrew barrel-aged imperial stout recipe

By Ben Loseke

July 27th, 2021

Transferring homebrewed beer from keg to a small format aging barrel
Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout Recipe by Jonathan Knerr

Hopefully one of the best things 2020 had to offer was giving us all more time to pursue new hobbies. And by new hobbies, I’m looking at all of you new homebrewers.

So, you took the plunge into the homebrewing space and discovered you actually make pretty damn good beer? Well congratulations, it’s about time.

The only good the pandemic did for me was provide some extra time to talk with some of the best brewers. Good news – I’m feeling generous and think I’ll share one of the recipes created by Jonathan Knerr. While 2021 is looking up, I know I’m going to need a full-bodied and decently strong beer to get me through it.

And I wouldn’t be a barrel-slinger if I didn’t share something that’s perfect for being aged in a whiskey barrel. Imperial Stouts are pretty much meant to be barrel-aged – they’re high ABV, and soak up that whiskey/bourbon barrel character perfectly. This barrel-aged recipe is simple and you can either follow it to a “T” or throw in your own creative twists to experiment as you’d like.

When we talk about small barrels, we’re actually talking about a range of different sizes. Midwest Barrel Co. sells new, small format barrels in the following sizes:
Image of small barrel on table with spirits in the background

You can get everything you need for this recipe online, but as always, support your local homebrew shop by checking them out too.

So without further ado, here you go:

A Homebrew Barrel-Aged
Imperial Stout Recipe

Recipe Details:

  • Efficiency: 72%
  • 10.8% ABV – 75 IBU


Beer ingredients


  1. Mash at 154°F for 120 minutes
  2. Add in 6 oz. East Kent Goldings at 60 minutes
  3. Ferment with Wyeast 1056 (Wyeast Labs) or White Labs WLP001 (White Labs)
  4. Ferment at 69*F
  5. Age in your small-format bourbon barrel a minimum of 6 months

Don’t forget to raise a glass for me! Gonna need all the positive vibes we can get.

People clinking mugs of beer together

Cheers, Ben

Tag MWBC on Instagram to let us know what you think of the recipe!

Ben Loseke headshot


Ben Loseke

Ph.D., and Founder of Midwest Barrel Co. Barrel expert. Plant doctor. American picker. Only known allergies: spicy food and meetings.

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