Brewing up an 18 gallon batch of a buckwheat bochet Washington Imperial Stout a mead akin to a Russian imperial stout but with no grain. I am basing my recipe off of the 2005 American homebrewer association Russian Imperial Stout winner. http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/VeronicasImperialStout The general plan is to have an OG of 1.080 volume of around 16ish gallons, ferment dry, maybe add a bit of wood and backsweeten to around 1.030. Giving me the same ABV, 10.5%, and final gravity, 1.035, as the award winning Russian Imperial Stout. But wait, ain't RIS supposed to be roasty with a complex grain character? Why yes, yes they are. That is why I plan on taking the original gravity up to 1.080 with buckwheat honey caramlyzed to around 290F and tasting for roasty character once dry. If it lacks the needed complexity and roasty character I plan on backsweetining with some buckwheat honey that is taken up to around 300-310F. (Note: that at around 300ish F buckwheat honey starts to go from a malty chocolaty flavor to a slight burnt flavor). But wait, isn't RIS supposed to be hoppy. Why yes, yes it is. Keep in mind that the maximum hop extraction from a boiling process is around 100 IBUs. Also note that if you calculate the IBUs for Veronicas Imperial Stout you get an IBU count over 100. Thus if I want the same IBUs and a 16 gallon batch I will have to boil an entire 16 gallons of hop water instead of simply boiling a super hop dense 5 gallons of water and diluting down to 16 gallons. So here I am, after quite a few trial runs caramelizing different kinds of honey to a variety of temperatures. I am finally committing, The Darkest Sin.