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Old 10-21-2009, 05:04 PM   #1
DrunkenPig
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Default Help with Vanilla Oaked Bourbon Imperial Stout

I'm thinking of brewing a Vanilla Oaked Bourbon Imperial Stout. This will be a partial mash brew. Is it too many flavors combined? Is everything on par with brewing an Imperial Stout?

Here is the recipe that i created:

12.00 lb LME Golden Light
1.00 lb Chocolate Malt
0.50 lb Caramel Malt - 60L
0.50 lb Oats, Flaked
0.50 lb Roasted Barley
0.50 lb Malto-Dextrine
0.50 lb Lactose

2.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] (60 min)
1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] (30 min)
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (15 min)

1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)

1.50 oz Oak Spiral (Secondary 2.0 weeks)
2.00 cups Bourbon (Secondary 2.0 weeks)
3.00 items Vanilla Bean (Secondary 2.0 weeks)

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:18 PM   #2
Dos_Locos_Brewery
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Not too many flavors! To me, the vanilla, bourbon, and oak are natural together, and fit with an imperial stout. A couple of comments. This one is gonna need a long time for the flavors to settle down. Also, you must be looking for something really chewy with the lactose and malto-dextrine. Personally, I'd skip them, but then I have trouble getting away with the volumes of gas created by consumption of normal homebrew.

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:18 PM   #3
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You can probably get rid of the lactose. You don't really need it.

I don't think you can ever have "too many" flavors. You can, on the other hand, not balance the flavors well. The trick is making all the ingredients subtle, but noticeable...and it's tricky.

As far as your vanilla goes...WAY too much in my opinion. Vanilla is a very strong flavor, so a little goes a long way. I'd say 1 bean will give you what you're looking for.

Oak: You can probably up this to 4oz. if you're only doing secondary for two weeks. It will leave you with enough oak flavor to taste, but not be overpowering. I've never used spiral's though, so don't quote me on that.

Bourbon is a tricky ingredient. Certain bourbons are stronger than others, and it also depends on your method of using it. My Bourbon Coffee Porter is a favorite in my family. What I do is, I soak 3oz. of oak chips in Maker's Mark bourbon. No specific amount really (usually comes out to around 12oz.), I just cover the chips and let them soak for 2 weeks. After two weeks, I drain the bourbon back into my Maker's mark bottle (I use this bottle only for beer and it progressively gets better oak flavor as time goes on). I then dry the oak chips and dump them into the carboy. This prevents the whiskey from overpowering everything, and I think it's a more authentic "barrel aged" effect.

I've heard of people just dumping the bourbon into their beer. This is my opinion is a little overboard on the flavor. Unless you have a VERY strong beer, I wouldn't suggest this.

Whatever you do, make sure you taste the beer every few days. These ingredients can all sneak up on you and leave you with an over-the-top beer. The key is finding the sweet spot in your fermenting time frame.

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Last edited by Suthrncomfrt1884; 10-21-2009 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:35 PM   #4
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How would you go about tasting this periodically? It's not like you can stick a straw into the carboy lol.

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:42 PM   #5
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I'm looking for this beer to come out around 10% abv. And i'm thinking of probably using a London Ale yeast to hit the 10% and because of the winter temps in the basement is dropping it to 63 degrees.

The bourbon I chose is Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon which is 43%. I definitely want that barrel aged effect. I suppose i will add the second oak spiral to the one that's already soaking in the bourbon.

I'm also gonna split and soak the vanilla beans in some boubon to get some more flavor out of the beans

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Old 10-21-2009, 05:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidSteel View Post
How would you go about tasting this periodically? It's not like you can stick a straw into the carboy lol.
I do have a thief that i could use to sample the secondary.
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Old 10-21-2009, 08:32 PM   #7
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Seriously...I just open my fermentor and use a turkey baster. It's not that big of a deal if your pretty clean about it.

Drunkenpig, I wouldn't use Evan Williams if I was you. Unless you really enjoy the flavor of it, you should be using a higher quality bourbon. Remember...you will have to drink this. As for soaking Vanilla beans, I think you'll lose most of your Vanilla flavor doing this.

As I said...don't pour actual bourbon in your beer.

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Old 10-21-2009, 09:02 PM   #8
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I'm not sure that I see how this is a partial mash -- you don't have any grains with enzymes in there to convert starches to sugars. That's OK for the Chocolate, Caramel & Roasted barley, but the oats need to be mashed. I'd add a couple pounds of base malt like 2 row and mash it at 152F with the other grains for 45-60 minutes. Sparge & combine with your extract.

I do agree with the comments that you probably don't need either the maltodextrin or the lactose. In low gravity stouts you need those to prevent them from being too dry and thin. With a great big beer like this with all that malt extract, you're going to have oodles of residual sugars. Adding extra may take you from a sweet, slightly thick mouthfeel to syrupy which isn't what you want, I suspect.

Finally, to your question of whether there are too many flavors, I don't think so. A big complex stout is a very good thing.

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Old 10-21-2009, 09:20 PM   #9
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Dp, although I'm not a big fan of stouts I have found a porter that I think would be right up your alley. Wild makes a bourbon smoked oaked porter PM that is absolutely fantastic! You should contact him for the recipe. I haven't had a chance to brew this myself but it definitely on the to do list. I agree with SC1884 that the bourbon should be of high quality and you are probably over the top in vanilla. Oaking with the right roast will release vanilla flavors on its own, plus the Makers Mark has a vanillian component to it(from the oak). I would drink Wild's porter anytime he offered it.
I wouldn't worry about dumping in the Makers Mark, it is a fine bourbon and will only add complexity to your beer.

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Old 10-22-2009, 01:38 AM   #10
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The only reason I don't advice dumping bourbon in (any kind) is because I feel like it makes it too boozy. My porter recipe is one that I've experimented with over the years. I tweek things here and there to determine what I like best. I've got it right about where I want it at this point...but when I first started, it was off the wall.

I dumped the bourbon and oak in...and I ended up giving away half of my batch. It tasted like I was drinking straight bourbon. Now, this is (as I said) made to my liking. Others may enjoy something that tastes like a glass of stout flavored whiskey.

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