Author Topic: Bourbon stout without a barrel  (Read 1709 times)

Offline qm3k

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Bourbon stout without a barrel
« on: June 26, 2014, 01:32:54 PM »
Hi all,

I posted in this area last year as I was concocting my double IPA recipe and got some great feedback...turned out a killer beer!

This summer's project is to construct a bourbon stout recipe along the line of Bourbon County Stout. I do not have, nor would it be practical for me to obtain, a bourbon barrel. So, I am looking for ways to impart the bourbon flavor into the beer. I have seen recommendations to simply dose the beer with straight bourbon, and I have also seen a recommendation to soak oak chips/cubes in bourbon for a month and use them in a secondary. Any thoughts on these methods, or any other suggestions?

Also, and this may seem like a remedial question, what type of stout would you recommend as the base beer (dry, sweet, etc.)? I'm thinking dry, but feedback would be helpful.

I will post the recipe for feedback as I construct it.

Thanks!

Offline Steve in TX

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Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 01:57:33 PM »
I have used soaked oak chips on three occasions.

I soak mine in a half pint mason jar on top of the fridge for about 1 week. I pack the jar to about 1/2" from the top and fill with Maker's. I don't drink whisky and Maker's is the "best" I can find in the small half pint bottles. If I bought a larger bottle it would just sit around. I then add to the fermenter for about 2 months. I add the booze with the chips as well.

The chips I have are on the medium size, smaller would need less time and larger would need more. I tasted every two weeks until I was satisfied.

I don't write down the weight of the chips, but could figure it out later tonight. I think it is about 4 ounces judging by the amount I have left from the original 1lb bag I bought 4 years ago.

EDIT - Got rid of the stupid size tags


Edit 2 - 2 ounces of the chips I use fit in a half pint mason jar.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 02:58:51 PM by Steve in TX »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 02:04:35 PM »
I use a similar approach with the small Mason jar, and add the chips and whiskey - I add the soaked chips into my dry hop canister so I can pull them when the flavor is where I want it.
Jon H.

Offline rjberry

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 04:26:30 AM »
Are you bottle conditioning these beers or putting them on gas?  I'm curious, because I was wondering if adding the higher alcohol bourbon would kill the yeast like brandy does in port wine?
“We’re not here for the game. The game is nothing. The game is crap. The game makes me sick. The real reason we Americans put up with sports is for this: Behold, the tailgate party. The pinnacle of human achievement. Since the dawn of parking lots, man has sought to fill his gut with food and alcohol in anticipation of watching others exercise.” - Homer Simpson

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2014, 05:30:21 AM »
I bottle condition. In adding only a few ounces of booze to 5 gallons. Maybe raises the ABV by .1 % (I've done the math, but don't remember).

I did add half pack of dry champagne yeast at bottling as insurance.

Offline WDE97

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2014, 11:22:44 AM »
I use 2oz of oak cubes soaked in bourbon for 2-4 weeks for 5 gallons of Imperial Stout, or 1-1.5oz of cubes for a lower gravity stout. Just pack them into a mason jar and top off with bourbon. Add the entire mixture to your secondary/keg and age until it tastes good. I like the cubes over chips since they have less surface area per ounce. This allows for a slower oaking process. I've done this to both RIS and Oatmeal Stouts with great results. FWIW I keg, though the extra alcohol isn't enough to kill yeast if you plan on bottle conditioning.
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Offline rjberry

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 01:47:52 PM »
I bottle condition. In adding only a few ounces of booze to 5 gallons. Maybe raises the ABV by .1 % (I've done the math, but don't remember).

I did add half pack of dry champagne yeast at bottling as insurance.

Good to know!  I am lazy and didn't feel like doing even the quickest of math on it, but that makes sense for adding to a large batch.  I'll have to try this soon.  College football season is on the horizon and nothing says gameday like a little bourbon  ;)
“We’re not here for the game. The game is nothing. The game is crap. The game makes me sick. The real reason we Americans put up with sports is for this: Behold, the tailgate party. The pinnacle of human achievement. Since the dawn of parking lots, man has sought to fill his gut with food and alcohol in anticipation of watching others exercise.” - Homer Simpson

Offline chumley

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 03:46:30 PM »
For what you want to do, I would just brew Denny's Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter recipe.  No reason to re-invent the wheel.  :)

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 04:04:05 PM »
For what you want to do, I would just brew Denny's Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter recipe.  No reason to re-invent the wheel.  :)

+1. That's a tough one to improve on, for sure.
Jon H.

Offline dak0415

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2014, 05:54:10 AM »
For what you want to do, I would just brew Denny's Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter recipe.  No reason to re-invent the wheel.  :)
That would be the "pragmatic" thing to do!
Dave Koenig
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2014, 06:56:32 AM »
The base beer for BCBS is a big 15% imperial stout. It's just a regular ass RIS. No lactose, etc. going on. From what I am told about the base beer it's heavier on the dark malts to hold up to the year of aging and the sweetness from the oak and bourbon. I would be careful about picking out a supposed clone recipe from the internet to follow. There are a lot of recipes out there claiming to be clones but I've never seen anybody agree that the recipe came any closer to BCBS than any other imperial stout.

BCBS pulls a lot of flavor out of the bourbon and the oak in the barrel so I would go heavy on both at let it mellow with age. I would not expect your version to be anywhere close to drink after 1-2 months, especially if you are shooting for double digit ABV and going in heavy handed with oak. Oak needs time to mellow out. My recommendation about the oak is to follow the excellent advice above about putting the cubes in a jar with bourbon but do that now so the oak has time to mellow and release flavor into the bourbon.
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Offline KingsmillCellarBrewers

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Re: Bourbon stout without a barrel
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2014, 08:00:41 PM »
i've had great success with several batches of a kentucky bourbon barrel ale using wooden cubes.  The cubes are american oak with both a medium and heavy toast.  For deeper tones of aged wood use the heavy toast.  What is key is not rushing and being patient in two areas:  i) soaking the wood cubes and ii) letting the wood cubes season in secondary for an extended period of time.

for soaking the cubes, a tightly sealed mason jar is great.  I use about 4 oz of wood per 5 gallon batch.  soak the wood in your favorite bourbon (makers mark) for at least 4 weeks.  fill the bourbon a little over the top of the wooden cubes.  since oak is a very hard wood it takes a little bit of time for the bourbon to completely absorb into the oak.

pitch the wood cubes and residual bourbon into secondary.  then let it sit for at least 6 months.  its a slow process but the bourbon-wood slowly exude its flavor.  and it gives a deep, rich, full flavor.  shorter periods of time tend to leave a thinner flavor profile.  be sure to keep your secondary at the appropriate temperature for the yeast strain throughout the aging process.  also, i rotate the secondary container every 3 weeks or so to disperse the flavor.

bourbon-oak is a great flavor to work with.

Cheers!