I brewed an Imperial Brown Stout today. The recipe dates from 1850 and I believe it was brewed by the defunct Barclay Perkins brewery (1781 – 1955). The brewery was well known for its Imperial Stouts. Imperial brown stout was the precursor to the well-known Russian Imperial stouts, which continued to be brewed by Courage and later Scottish & Newcastle until 1993. The most interesting thing about these beers is the fact that nearly half of all black malt used is added directly to the copper. The hop bill for this was a monster – some 300g in all. It also used a strange sugar called Piloncillo, which is of Mexican origin. Piloncillo is made from pure, unrefined sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. It tastes very similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor (even though it does not contain molasses) and you can use it for anything that calls for brown sugar. I think this particular sugar is used because it most resembles the old invert brewers sugars, which are very difficult to get hold of today. If all goes well, it should turn out at around 11% ABV!