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Old 01-23-2014, 11:27 PM   #1
bobdaferret
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Default Founders "Black Biscuit" Old Ale - My attempt at a clone...

I love Founders. 'Nuff said.

I never got to try the now-retired Black Biscuit, but it sounds incredible, so I'm gonna make an attempt at my first clone recipe, going off the notes from Beer Advocate.

"A cross between an Old Ale and a Baltic Porter. Brewed with a significant amount of biscuit malt and molasses." Users' tasting notes often bring up the words: oak, bourbon, vanilla, maple, boozy, roasty, malty, sweet

I think I'm really close here... all figures were estimated using the calculator at Brewer's Friend.

Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Yeast: American Ale (Wyeast #1056)
Yeast Starter: Yes - 1.5L
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.0
Original Gravity: 1.105
Final Gravity: 1.026
IBU: 51.98
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 30.73

10.5 lb Maris Otter LME
1.00 lb Belgian CaraMunich
0.75 lb Belgian Caramel Pils
1.00 lb Belgian Biscuit
0.50 lb Belgian Chocolate
0.25 lb Caramel/Crystal 120
1.00 lb Molasses

2.00 oz Newport (15.5% AA) @ 60 min (35.09 IBU)
0.50 oz Nugget (14.0% AA) @ 60 min (7.92 IBU)
0.50 oz Fuggles (4.5% AA) @ 30 min (1.96 IBU)
0.50 oz Nugget (14.0% AA) @ 30 min (6.09 IBU)
0.50 oz Fuggles (4.5% AA) @ 10 min (0.92 IBU)

1.00 tsp Irish moss @ 10 min

1.00 oz American oak cubes, M+ toast, with 1 cup Knob Creek smoked maple bourbon @ secondary (to taste)

Brew day coming soon!!

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Old 01-24-2014, 09:56 PM   #2
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I've never tried that particular founders beer but, 3 vanilla beans is A LOT. I put an oatmeal stout of mine on 1 bean for 7 days and it almost overpowered the other flavors. Though mine was around 6% abv, I still would start with one. Can always add more, but not less!

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Old 01-25-2014, 05:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoMich View Post
I've never tried that particular founders beer but, 3 vanilla beans is A LOT. I put an oatmeal stout of mine on 1 bean for 7 days and it almost overpowered the other flavors. Though mine was around 6% abv, I still would start with one. Can always add more, but not less!

Thanks for the feedback! I've done only one bean before in a hefeweizen I made, and I wasn't too impressed... I'll probably meet you half-way & go with two. Also have a breakfast stout finishing up that got three, so I hope to taste that before deciding. I have to wait until at least April before Curmudgeon is released anyway.
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:23 PM   #4
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You can always try emailing the brewery! Founders has been known to give out complete recipes for so e of their beers - even though lately they haven't been as forthcoming, I think it would still be worth a shot!

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Old 01-26-2014, 02:09 AM   #5
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You can always try emailing the brewery! Founders has been known to give out complete recipes for so e of their beers - even though lately they haven't been as forthcoming, I think it would still be worth a shot!

I've gone that route already, and unfortunately they were not forthcoming.
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:27 AM   #6
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Bummer well it's really quite a shot in the dark then! Stinks it's such a rare beer that it will be near impossible to do any side by side with it.

Your recipe looks good, you're using malts that you know founders uses and your percentages look good. From reading the descriptions on BA it sounds like this beer finishes pretty high - I would personally shoot for 1.025-1.030.
I would probably have my starting gravity in the 1.090s and aim for an abv of about 8.5%. The reason for this is the alcohol contribution from the bourbon barrel and the sugars from the maple syrup in the secondary fermentation. Looking at curmudgeon and curmudgeons better half the beer picks up 2.1% from being aged in maple bourbon barrels. At the brewery I work at we also see about a 1.5-2% abv pick up after aging the beer in barrels (we do it for 6 weeks). I would also use grade B maple syrup because it's less fermentablr and more flavorful. Just my 2 cents!
Edit: the reason I mentioned the maple was in a couple posts people stated that this beer was previously called Imperial maple bourbon porter. Maybe in their latest iteration they skipped the syrup and just used regular bourbon barrels.

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Old 01-26-2014, 06:36 AM   #7
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Default Founders "Black Biscuit" Old Ale - My attempt at a clone...

What if I use a maple-flavored bourbon to soak my oak & vanilla? If I kept it to a cup that'd bump the ABV by only 0.5%.

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Old 01-26-2014, 08:33 PM   #8
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I've never heard of maple-flavored bourbon but if you can find some I would say that would be a good idea! With all the bourbon and oak, why add vanilla too? Seems a bit overkill on the vanillin and from the information we have, there's no mention of Founders using it to make this beer.

It's hard for home brewers to get the same type of alcohol extraction and bourbon flavor balance that commercial breweries get out of a barrel. To get a nice 2% abv jump you would have to add around whole liter of bourbon to your beer would likely overpower all the flavor of your beer. In the last bourbon/oaked beer I brewed I took 1 oz of oak cubes and soaked them in half a 5th of bourbon for a good month before introducing it to the beer at kegging, and that added a very noticeable bourbon presence but not overpowering for the big beer I had (a 10% RIS). If I were to brew a beer like this one I would probably do the same thing as well as throw in enough grade B Maple Syrup to get another .5-1% abv bump after it chews through its sugars in secondary.

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Old 01-27-2014, 05:30 PM   #9
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Jim Beam and Knob Creek each have a version of maple bourbon. JB is a bit weaker than usual at 35% ABV. KC is a bit stronger at 45%, and it also has a light smoke flavor, which I think could work very well in this beer, given its porter-like qualities. I'm glad you brought up the vanilla flavor in the bourbon too. I totally spaced on that, that really would've been overkill.

Right now, I'm leaning strongly toward using flavored bourbon over actual maple. It just seems like it'll be the easier & cheaper method of guaranteeing I'll get that flavor. Using the proportions you provided--1 oz oak cubes to 375ml bourbon (Were you satisfied with the presence of the oak flavor at these proportions? How long did you leave the cubes in?)--would increase the alcohol content by roughly 0.75%, which would put this beer at about 11% on the dot. Black Biscuit was a 10.5%... but I certainly won't complain about that extra alcohol love! If anything, I can drop the Maris Otter LME to 10 lb.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:25 PM   #10
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Oh neat! I would totally go the route of maple flavored bourbon, it sounds like a perfect match for this beer. If I recall, the oak was in the keg for close to 2 months. When the flavor was where I liked it, I let it sit for a couple more days and racked off into another keg, carbed with champagne yeast and served. The trick is to keep tasting it - I let it go for a couple weeks before my first sample, but if you can keg your beer, this is a very easy/sanitary way to really dial the oak in.

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