A pulse compressor based on stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) in liquids is experimentally and theoretically investigated. It allows for the compression of Fourier-transform limited nanosecond pulses of several hundreds of millijoules of energy with both high conversion efficiency and a high temporal compression factor. The two-cell generator-amplifier arrangement is of a compact design not requiring external attenuation of the generator cell input energy. Pulses from an injection-seeded, frequency-doubled Nd: YAG laser of 300-mJ energy were compressed by a factor variable between 6 and 21 at up to 75% reflectivity. Deviation from unity SBS reflectivity is predom-inantly determined by optical component losses. The generation of 270-ps pulses with high beam quality was achieved in liquid methanol. These powerful pulses of variable duration are difficult to produce with common laser systems and are highly suited for the generation of high-harmonics in gases.