Formulation, polarization, and dissolution conditions were developed to obtain a stable hyperpolarized solution of [1-13C]-ethyl pyruvate. A maximum tolerated concentration and injection rate were determined, and 13C spectroscopic imaging was used to compare the uptake of hyperpolarized [1-13C]-ethyl pyruvate relative to hyperpolarized [1-13C]-pyruvate into anesthetized rat brain. Hyperpolarized [1-13C]-ethyl pyruvate and [1-13C]-pyruvate metabolic imaging in normal brain is demonstrated and quantified in this feasibility and range-finding study. Magn Reson Med 63:1137–1143, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.