Bigchicken, I have a raisin oatmeal cookie amber recipe that doesn't use raisins and you would swear that it does. It came from bugeater in Omaha. I think he is on thebrewingnetwork forum. But if you want the recipe I can give it. This is one awesome beer.
Thanks! I will let you know on the recipe. It's too late for me to change much now with the grain bill. I had to order it a while back so what I've got is what I got. If I don't like my results, I'll get back to you for that recipe for the next attempt.
For my imperial porter fermented with WLP530 - I caramelized 1 pound of raisins ala Lost Abbey (torched them till blistered and smoldering) then pureed the batch with wort drawn from the kettle. The pulp went into the hop bag at 60 minutes.
The porter may mask the raisin flavor. Only time will tell.
I thought about doing this same procedure, but I'm worried it will put too much raisin flavor in the beer. I'm wondering if boiling them whole in a bag will produce enough flavor, though. I'm looking for the flavor without going overboard. I know I could have used some crystal malts that would give a raisin like flavor, but thought it would add the Christmas beer touch by having real ones. Too many decisions!
I'm also at a loss about soaking them in rum in the first place. If I don't add the rum back to the mix later, will anything really make it in for flavor boiling the raisins the whole boil?