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Imperial Stout question for the experts

I bought the 1 gallon rum runner stout kit from NB and it’s been in a plastic bucket for about 12 days. The kits says to ferment it in the bucket for two weeks then bottle it with a sugar pill (provided with the kit) in each bottle, I presume so it continues fermenting and carbonating in the bottle.

My understanding of imperial stout, though, is that they like a long fermenting period in a secondary fermenter. Do I understand that correctly, and if so should I get a second 2 gallon bucket, transfer the stout, and let it sit 6 or 8 weeks before bottling?

  1. Read “How to Brew”. An old version is available free at

  2. Follow this forum.

  3. Kit instructions are barely adequate to produce beer while still being understandable by the most casual beginner.

Your beer will be perfectly happy sitting in the primary fro a couple of weeks while you do the research needed to make your own decision about transferring.

In addition to the above you can always bottle and let it age. That way you are giving it time to age as well as carb up. Win win.

Edited to add:
Oh I forgot to mention this… let the beer tell you when its done not a calendar. Unfortunately beer doesn’t understand time.

Thanks for the comments. I’m thinking I’ll take both your advice. Let it sit in the bucket for a few more weeks while I do a little research. Then I’ll taste it and bottle it if it’s getting good. This is going to be my feet-by-the-fireplace brew for next winter so it’ll have a good long spell to condition in the bottles.

If it’s fermented out, give the yeast a few days to clean up shop, and after that, conditioning is conditioning imo. I say bottle it and sock it away till next year!

If it’s fermented out, give the yeast a few days to clean up shop, and after that, conditioning is conditioning imo. I say bottle it and sock it away till next year![/quote]

And the advantage of that approach is it frees up the bucket for the oaked bourbon porter I want to brew next.

To be clear, you want to let it ferment in the bucket until it stops foaming completely and the karusen drops. Then let it set a few extra days. Then bottle. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for a big beer to get done, so don’t rush it.

You can re-use your yeast for that next beer. Just leave the stuff in the bottom of the bucket and add more wort.

I ended up adding about 1/2 cup of rum, then bottled it the next day with the sugar pills that come with the kit. I tried a bottle after about five weeks. It has what I think is a nice classic imperial stout taste but it hardly carbonated at all. Any ideas on why no suds? Did the run kill the yeast, or something like that?

I would move the bottles to somewhere warm (70-80F) for 2 weeks.

A strong imperial stout could take a few months to carbonate properly though. Adding that rum should hinder a nice foamy head (alcohol pulls down foam) so I would not expect much more than some lacing.

No carbonation could be due to the rum or due to too low a storage temperature since bottling. To figure out which, you need to answer some questions:
What temperature did you store the bottles at?
What yeast did you use?
How much alcohol was in the beer? (can be calculated from OG/FG readings, or estimated from info in the kit instructions)
How much alcohol was in the rum?

It is very possible that the rum is the culprit, as adding 1/2 a cup of 80 Proof rum to a one gallon batch will raise the ABV by about 1%, and most Imperial Stouts are already pretty close to the alcohol limits that the yeast can handle.

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