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Old 05-11-2011, 07:54 PM   #1
opposite_of_december
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Default Anyone brew a Vanilla bourbon oak stout before?

I won a box recipe for a Vanilla bourbon oak imperial stout the other day, very psyched but its looking like it will definitely be the most complex brew I will have ever undertaken.

So if anyone else here has brewed on in the past offer some advice. Oh and any suggestions of what bourbon to soak the oak chips in? And for how long?

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Old 05-11-2011, 09:13 PM   #2
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I'd recommend against soaking the chips in bourbon. If you add each ingredient separately, you have more control over the flavor profile.

I've used cheaper bourbons and more expensive bourbons, and I'd recommend going with the most expensive bourbon you're willing to buy. I've had the best results with Woodford Reserve, which is about $32 here in Denver. I've used cheaper bourbons too, in the $20-ish range and was a bit disappointed.

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Old 05-12-2011, 05:11 PM   #3
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Really? so your saying I should add the Bourbon when I carboy it? Thanks for the advice.
You ever have Bulleit bourbon? It's about $22, forgot I had it on a snowboarding trip not too bad.

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Old 05-12-2011, 05:13 PM   #4
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Also if I'm adding it to the stout as I carboy how much should I add?

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Old 05-12-2011, 06:18 PM   #5
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I drink Bulleit all the time, but I was unimpressed with it in the beer. I noticed a difference between it and the Woodford. Not a huge difference, but the Woodford was better.

As for how much to add, that's something you need to figure out for yourself. Take a sample of the beer at a known volume, and add a little bit of bourbon at a time until you get the desired flavor, and then calculate how much to add to the final product.

That's something I'd do after oak aging, before bottling. A little bit of bourbon goes a long way, so don't be surprised if your desired flavor is hit with as little as 1/4c of bourbon. I've used 1/2c before, but it was a bit too much, IMO. Your mileage may vary, etc.

I would also recommend using about 1oz of American oak cubes for 2-3 months, or 1oz of chips for 1-2 weeks. A lot of people argue about whether cubes are better than chips. From my experience, they're both good, but different. I prefer cubes for beers like you're making, but I use chips a lot on different beers. For a big beer that'll be aging for a while, the cubes are a good way to go. I like to use chips for smaller beers that won't benefit from extended aging, like IPAs or regular stouts.

The last bourbon oak beer I made was about 10% ABV, aged it for 2-1/2 months on 1oz of cubes, added bourbon to taste at bottling. It was good after 3 months, and fantastic after about 6 months in the bottle. It started to fade after 9 months. It's a little over a year old now, and it's definitely not as good as it was 6 months ago.

Some people like to add vanilla extract too, but there is a lot of vanilla flavor in the oak and bourbon. I prefer subtle flavors in my beers. I've had too many "vanilla porters" where I drink it and think "wow, they dumped a lot of vanilla extract into this beer." I think the flavors should work together, and consider one overpowering flavor a fault in the beer.

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Old 05-12-2011, 06:22 PM   #6
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Beer wine & Hobby in Woburn?

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Old 05-12-2011, 07:27 PM   #7
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Ok awesome Nateo. Thanks for the advice. I doubt I have the patience to cellar it for even 6 months let alone 9, but I will try, because I guess it makes it all that better. I have a batch of Lawnmower and an Anchor Steam clone that should help me through the Summer though.

Also I was probably gonna try and get my hands on some vanilla beans instead of extract.

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Old 05-12-2011, 07:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j1laskey View Post
Beer wine & Hobby in Woburn?
Yeah man
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:08 PM   #9
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Haven't brewed that kit, but in the past I have tried some of their High Gravity kits, and was quite impressed. Let us know how it turns out.

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Old 05-12-2011, 11:21 PM   #10
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Will do, also Zappa rules

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