Which bourbon should I use in my Bourbon Barrel Porter from Northern Brewer?

Maker's Mark
4 (26.7%)
Knob Creek
3 (20%)
Buffalo Trace
4 (26.7%)
Four Roses
2 (13.3%)
Woodford Reserve
2 (13.3%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Voting closed: March 01, 2013, 05:37:47 PM

Author Topic: Bourbon Barrel Porter  (Read 1535 times)

Offline gr8nss

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Bourbon Barrel Porter
« on: February 19, 2013, 05:37:47 PM »
I've sampled different bourbons and have narrowed it down to this list.  Thanks in advance for your vote!

Offline roll0164

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 05:48:08 PM »
Fantastic list that included almsot all of my favorites. I was stationed at Ft. Knox for 2 years with the 1st Infantry Division so I became somewhat of a bourbon snob during my many visits to the distilleries along the Bourbon Trail.. My go to has always been Makers or Knob so you can't go wrong there. I think you should nix Woodford, it's just not on par with other bourbons. It always tastes a little young and less refined. If you're looking for some spice to augment I would suggest a Knob Creek Rye. Makers and Knob Creek have a high corn content in the mash bill, something like 75% with just a touch of Rye. So you get a lot sweeter bourbon. If you want that flavor to really shine through with a little bit of snap, a Rye bourbon would be greater. Four Roses is another stellar bourbon even though they primarily export to Japan and are just starting to show up again in the States. Again it's more of a corn bourbon. Buffalo Trace isn't one I have a lot of experience with. Might I also suggest adding Eagle Rare? It's distilled in limited quantities every year, one of my all time favorites and I never miss a chance to snag a bottle if I happen to see it on a shelf.

Offline guido

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 06:58:37 PM »
Our club has made some wonderful porters and stouts using Heaven Hill's Elijah Craig barrels.  I used to be a Maker's Mark man until I tried Woodford Reserve, BTW.
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Online Joe Sr.

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 07:46:42 AM »
IMO, you don't need expensive bourbon to add to a beer.  You can get cheaper bourbons with good flavor that will work just fine for your purposes here (and some are fine for sipping, too).

From your list, I would go with Four Roses (I assume yellow label) or Maker's.

Some of the less expensive ones you might consider would include Heaven Hill, Ancient Age, Old Weller, or Very Old Barton.  I went on a budget bourbon tasting spree a year or so ago and these were some of the better ones.  HH I'd probably reserve for mixers, but the other three do quite well on their own.

For the price of Woodford Reserve and Knob Creek, I'd pour it over a couple cubes rather than into a beer.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 07:53:18 AM »
+1 to a good tasting budget bourbon.  Woodford or Knob would be lost under the layers of dark malt.  Sounds awesome though.  I'm brewing an oaked bourbon imperial porter soon.  Let us know how it comes out !
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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2013, 10:20:01 AM »
Having made a lot of beer with bourbon in it, and not being a bourbon freak, all I can say is get a decent, but not expensive or over the top, bourbon.  You want the flavor to be integrated, out shout bourbon at you.  IMO, if you can tell what brand of bourbon you used, you used too much.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2013, 11:51:01 AM »
OTOH - its a pretty nice excuse to buy a decent bottle of bourbon to have around!

I don't think I'd ever use my real good stuff, but it shouldn't have solventy, rough, or plastic-like off-flavors. That will come through in the beer, just like using oxidized wine.

Used Knob Creek in my last batch of oak chips for a RIS. Its tasting AWESOME right now!
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Online chumley

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 02:25:55 PM »
I agree with decent but not cheap bourbon.  Good bourbon is for sippin'.

I find plain ole Jim Beam works pretty good in the imperial porter.

Stay away from the cheap stuff, like Early Times.

Online Joe Sr.

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 04:00:06 PM »
From the Straight Bourbon Forums, re: Early Times:


"Originally Posted by JeffRenner
Jim Murray gives it a decent review in his 2005 Whiskey Bible, and his description makes it sound appealing. Actually, I should say "them" rather than "it," as it appears there are two. He gives them scores of 80 and 83 out of 100.

Here are his reviews (with color and fonts painstakingly duplicated as in the book ), with n, t, f, and b being nose, taste, finish and balance.

Early Times (brown label) (80) n19 t21 f20 b20 A very light but well-made bourbon. clean, with hints of cinnamon and citrus. Quite refreshing. 40% (80 proof).

Early Times (yellow label) (83) n20 t21 f21 b21 A heavier, more vanilla-rich bourbon that offers a consistent, delicate, sweet theme throughout with butterscotch on the finish. 40% (80 proof).

Do you have the yellow or brown label?

Regan and Regan say that the two bourbons are 80 and 86 proof, the 86 proof being labeled "Premium." They don't mention label color. But that was in 1998. I don't know if Murray has it wrong or it it has changed. Perhaps the yellow label, even if the same proof, is aged longer than the brown.

Just to re-emphasize what others have written, Early Times as sold in the US is not a bourbon since 20% of the barrels are used, not new. The overseas product is a bourbon aged in 100% charred, new oak barrels. I think that both are made the same until they are barrelled, and suspect that the American product, labeled "Kentucky Whiskey" (not a legally defined term), is not aged as long as the bourbons.


NOTE: I am not recommending anyone drink Early Times.  But there appear to be some that enjoy it.  I also have no idea if this Jeff Renner is the same one as we might be familiar with.

I've found straightbourbon.com to be a nice resource for reviews, but everyone's tastes are different.  Definitely use a whiskey you like, but it shouldn't (or doesn't need to be) an expensive whiskey.  Ancient Age is dirt cheap, and I really enjoy the flavor.
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Online jeffy

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 05:15:23 PM »
Yep, that's the Jeff Renner we know and love.  I clicked your link and recognized his photo as his avatar.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Porter
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 08:42:30 PM »
As with any other type of cooking, I'd go with something you like and feel the base profile will match what you're trying to achieve. It's not worth busting out the super-premium stuff, though, as the nuances that make it a notch above the rest will be lost. For me, Knob Creek is my go-to bourbon so I'd go with that. I wouldn't be kicking into my Blanton's for something like this, however.
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