Okay, I know that question in the subject line is way too broad, so here are some details which will make it a bit more reasonable.
About 10-days ago, we brewed what we're calling a "chocolate maple bourbon barrel imperial porter."
It's a 10-gal batch to be keg'd. We were going to do two 5-gal batches, but having limited stove top space, we combined the two batches fully during steeping and boil. See attached two images for ingredient list and quantity. The local brew supply shop converted the recipe to liquid malts for our convenience.
OG: 1.102 (using a refractometer)
FG: 1.064 (8%abv) - expected
So, I did a fair amount of research on the use of maple syrup and thus did not use it during boil or primary fermentation as we didn’t want to lose the maple flavors. I bought 1-gallon of pure maple syrup Grade B (Grade A Dark Amber) for the secondary, which will get racked at the 2-week mark. [EDIT: or soon there after as today is the 2-week mark, but we have done extended primaries in the past due to busy schedules and that's no problem.] I plan on the secondary fermentation to be 8-weeks, for a total of 10-weeks from kettle to snifter. Question #1: What is the best time to pour the maple syrup into the fermenters to get that rich maple flavor? We can cold crash it and let it continue to develop in the keg whenever needed.
I also bought a 4-ounce bag of French Oak chips (medium roast) and a bottle of Elijah Craig small batch bourbon, because I like the flavor (and Blanton’s single batch was out of my price range as I was already at $190 for the double recipe including ice, etc). Question #2: What point of the secondary should we introduce the bourbon-soaked wood chips? Now, we will have the secondary in a fermentation bucket with a spigot, so we will be able to remove the grain sock with the wood chips anytime as we taste test every day or so. (As far as soaking, I have read 2-7 days. If we soak for more than 2-days, we’ll have to drop in the wood chips a few days after secondary fermentation has started.)
Okay, there’s two initial questions for you all. We have brewed about a dozen batches, but we are always learning, so we may have further questions yet. Let me know if you need any further detail.
Thanks in advance for everyone’s time and effort in their replies.