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Old 10-09-2010, 03:38 AM   #1
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Default whiskey beer

so i was watching modern marvels the other day on whiskey. i noticed that they seem to mash, ferment then distill. what if i were to take this process without the distillation.

say i were to come up with the same grain bill that a whiskey company uses. i would add hops, but would any of the flavors be similar in the fermented product?

i am assuming no since i've heard that most of the flavors come from the barrel.

so say i were to age this beer in a barrel?

let me be clear here. i am not trying to distill anything. i am just intriuged that the process of making beer and whiskey seemed so similar.

thoughts?

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Old 10-09-2010, 05:06 AM   #2
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A lot of American Whiskey distillers use a corn mash. Some add sugar as well. You're right about the whiskey character coming largely from the barrel and years of expansion and contraction in the charred oak. They basically start with white lightening and 4+ years later end up with caramel colored liquid gold.

If you were to use an all grain mash (perhaps a sour mash?), add moderate hops, and age in charred oak barrels, you'd likely end up with a fine beer. You might also consider adding some Maker's Mark or other quality bourbon to your secondary fermenter or bright tank to give a little whiskey character to it if that's what you're shooting for.

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Old 10-09-2010, 06:41 AM   #3
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I think you're right in that most of the flavors of whisk(e)y come from the barreling and aging. If you really want a glimpse at what undistilled "whiskey" (aka beer) tastes like, order some distillers' yeast and make a big beer from it, around 20%+. Drink that, totally flat. I'd be surprised if you got through more than a couple ounces.

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Old 10-09-2010, 08:30 AM   #4
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I think what you've discovered is that whiskey is basically distilled beer.

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Old 10-09-2010, 08:59 AM   #5
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I work part time a local distillery. their grist for the whiskey is 75% Marris Otter and 25 % Rye step mashed at 122 and 150 the OG is usually around 1.08 and use distillers yeast not turbo because it adds horrible off flavors that come thru in the final product there isn't a boil jsut a 180 degree mash out to unstick the mash. I made a similar mash at home boiled it hopped like a mid range pale and besides the sticky mash it turned out amazing.

The way to get whiskey flavor in beer is to soak some oak chips in your choice of whiskey and add it to secondary. the stouts porters old ales and other flavor intensive styles are best suited for whiskey chip aging

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Old 10-09-2010, 12:38 PM   #6
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ok, so i am going to need some oak chips.

i remember trying a cask conditioned beer. i dont remember what it was called. it had a snowman on the tap handle with sin glasses on. it had this warm bite to it. i dont want to say burn because it wasnt, but there was something different about it. is the cask conditioning a similar concept?

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Old 10-09-2010, 02:05 PM   #7
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First, let me tell you, you're not going to get a whiskey flavor from adding wood chips to your fermenters. If you're soaking them in whiskey first, why not just pour a little whiskey in the secondary and save your chips for beers that you want cask conditioned flavor from? Cask beer and whiskey flavor are totally different.

Now, if you can get your hands on a used charred American White Oak barrel, by all means pick it up and age your beer in it. Longer the better, and rotate it into rooms with slightly different temperatures every 6 months. You will get a whiskey flavor from that.

Adding a little Maker's Mark or Knob Creek to your secondary will add some good whiskey character to your beer, without the need for oak barrels or wood chips. Try it sometime; you'll be surprised at how easy and tasty it is.

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Old 10-09-2010, 05:01 PM   #8
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thanks for the info. now heres the question. what kind of beer should i add the whiskey to. just a pale? how bout a brown ale?

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Old 10-09-2010, 11:45 PM   #9
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A pale ale with whiskey sounds terrible. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I wouldn't be the first in line to try it. I'd go with a porter or stout.

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Old 10-10-2010, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
First, let me tell you, you're not going to get a whiskey flavor from adding wood chips to your fermenters. If you're soaking them in whiskey first, why not just pour a little whiskey in the secondary and save your chips for beers that you want cask conditioned flavor from? Cask beer and whiskey flavor are totally different.

Now, if you can get your hands on a used charred American Red Oak barrel, by all means pick it up and age your beer in it. Longer the better, and rotate it into rooms with slightly different temperatures every 6 months. You will get a whiskey flavor from that.

Adding a little Maker's Mark or Knob Creek to your secondary will add some good whiskey character to your beer, without the need for oak barrels or wood chips. Try it sometime; you'll be surprised at how easy and tasty it is.

TB
I respectfully disagree Tiber while it is easy to get the whiskey flavor by just adding in some Makers Mark, the oak chips soaked in whiskey add a level of complexity that just adding whiskey alone will not produce. The oak tannins are an integral part of what makes a good whiskey. to get these in a beer would require a large amount of whiskey, and this would add more of other stronger flavor compounds that don't go well in beer. IMO 2 ounces of medium toast American oak cubes soaked in pint of good whiskey, burbon, scotch, etc for a couple/few weeks than added to the ferementer including the pint of whiskey in a good stout, porter or scotish old ale until the desired taste is reached, will result in a much more flavor balanced beer than just adding a fifth of whiskey will. The whiskey flavor should be a back ground note along with the oakiness to a very robust beer. OP might be time for some gallon test batches. Hmm might be time for some test batches for me as well I haven't done an oaked old ale since December. might have to whiskey soak the next batch.
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