Homebrew: Rucksack Stout

Frosty mug of Rucksack Stout
Frosty mug of Rucksack Stout

Nothing makes the world come clear like a pint of darkest beer.

Based off Brooklyn Brewery Original Chocolate Stout

Stouts and porters are the pinnacle of beer, my favorite styles, my most savored pints. Stout will cure all ills from congressional gridlock to bad takeout, if only we would unleash pints and kegs onto all the world. Hell, I love stout so much, it’s practically a character in my in-progress travel fantasy novel (which is where the quotation above comes from).

Give stout a chance

As a big fan of Garrett Oliver’s The Brewmaster’s Table, I was stoked to finally get to brew this clone of his Brooklyn Brewery’s Original Chocolate Stout. I followed the recipe ingredients pretty much straight-up, though my process and temperatures always vary a bit from the directions. The result is one of the finest damn beers I’ve ever brewed. This is going into the “regulars” file.

Rucksack Stout Recipe


Based off Brooklyn’s Original Chocolate Stout. Papazian, Charlie, Microbrewed Adventures: A Lupulin-Filled Journey to the Heart and Flavor of the World’s Craft Beers. p. 297-299. Collins, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.

5 gallons of Rucksack Stout, ready to bottle
5 gallons of Rucksack Stout, ready to bottle


Approximate Target Values

Per original recipe, may vary due to alterations

  • Target Original Gravity: 1.052 (13 B)
  • Approx. Final Gravity: 1.014 (3.5 B)
  • IBU: Approx. About 28
  • Approx. Color: 52 SRM (104 EBC)
  • Alcohol: % by Volume: 5.2% by volume

Our Brew

  • Brew Date: Sun., Dec. 19, 2010
  • Initial Gravity Reading (O.G.): 1.068
  • Bottling Date: Sun., Jan. 16, 2011
  • Bottling Counts:
    • 22 oz.: 7
    • Flip-top: 5
    • 12 oz.: 29
  • Final Gravity Reading (F.G.): 1.022
  • Alcohol: 6.0%
  • Open Date: Tue., Feb. 1, 2011


  • 1 lb. Chocolate Malt from Home Fermenter Center, Eugene, OR (put in grain sock)
  • 4 oz. Roasted Barley
  • 4 oz. Black Patent Malt
  • 5.2 lbs. Dark Dried Malt Extract from Home Fermenter Center, Eugene, OR
  • @60 minute boil, 1.5 oz. Fuggles Hops
  • @10 minute boil, 1.5 oz. Willamette Hops
  • 8 tsp. gypsum
  • @15 minute 1/2 tsp. Irish moss
  • 1084 Wyeast Irish Ale Yeast
  • @ bottling: 1-1/4c. Dried Dark Malt Extract

Bottled Rucksack Stout: "Nothing makes the world come clear, like a pint of darkest beer"
Bottled Rucksack Stout: "Nothing makes the world come clear, like a pint of darkest beer"

Brewing and Fermentation

Place crushed grains in 2 gallons of 150ºF water and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out and sparge with ~2 quarts hot water. Bring to a boil, while adding malt extract, gypsum and 60-minute hops.

Clean/sanitize carboy and other equipment. Add 1 gallon cold water to sanitized carboy. At 45 minute mark, add Irish moss. At 50 minute mark, add aroma hops.

Remove from heat and cool wort to 90-100ºF.

Strain wort into carboy, sparging through hops. Add cold water until total amount of liquid in carboy is 5 gallons. Shake to aerate. Take a sample for initial gravity reading.

When wort temperature is between 68-76ºF, pitch yeast. Cap carboy and set in a warm, quiet place.

Ferment at approx. 72 degrees F for 3-30 days. Bottle with DME solution. Age one month.


Sun., 12/19/10, Brew went very well. Temp at 30-minute steep got up higher than preferred, around 160ºF instead of optimal 150ºF. Not going to worry about it though. Beer is a rich, deep black. I’m going to play this in with some of the characters from my novel, given a certain main character’s proclivity for stout and only stout. Yeast pitched and carboy placed by about 9 p.m.

Mon., 12/20/10, At about 6 a.m. bubbling of fermentation also underway and audible. Nice. Layer of bubbly foam on top. Stoked to see the Irish Ale Yeast kick off so quickly!

Sun., 1/16/11, Bottle day! Excellent flavor. Good roasted notes and malty sweetness.

Tues., 2/1/11, Open day! One of the best beers I’ve ever made. Rich flavor, good roasted notes, good depth. Beautiful dark color. I think I’ll enter this in Sasquatch’s homebrew competition…

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