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Old 11-14-2012, 12:00 AM   #1
drinkerofales
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Default Bourbon Barrel simulation

Ok, so one of my favorite beers is Parabola, by FW.

I am planning on brewing a big chocolaty stout, but was hoping to add the bourbon barrel notes.

How would I go about this, short of pouring bourbon into the fermentation vessel?

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Old 11-14-2012, 12:26 AM   #2
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soak oak cubes/chips in bourbon, add it all to secondary. taste every few days until you get the desired oak character. you can add more bourbon if you don't get enough flavor from the soaked oak.

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Ok, this was another solution I had thought of. How long do I need to soak the chips to impart the flavor?

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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I used 3/8" oak dowels, cut to 6" long, soaked them in Maker's Mark for 2 weeks (all the bourbon had evaporated).

On bottling day, I dropped a stick into half of my bottles (Belgian Triple). This let me have a good comparison of with/without the oak to see if it helped or hurt the flavor of the beer...Plus, it was a cool novelty for friends to have a stick floating in the bottle.

After doing this, I can say that I had fantastic results and would absolutely do it again! Since there was more surface area of the oak per volume, it was able to impart a greater amount of flavor into the brew than if I had tried oaking the secondary. I also found that as I continued to drink the beer, the flavors became more pronounced and mature over time and after a year of bottle conditioning with the oak, I had quite a flavor profile.

I'd go this route...plus, a 3' stick of 3/8" oak runs less than $2.00 at the hardware stores.

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:31 PM   #5
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Enough to completely submerge the oak. Top it off with more bourbon if they soak up enough to no longer be submerged.

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Old 11-15-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodHokie4 View Post
I used 3/8" oak dowels, cut to 6" long, soaked them in Maker's Mark for 2 weeks (all the bourbon had evaporated).

On bottling day, I dropped a stick into half of my bottles (Belgian Triple). This let me have a good comparison of with/without the oak to see if it helped or hurt the flavor of the beer...Plus, it was a cool novelty for friends to have a stick floating in the bottle.

After doing this, I can say that I had fantastic results and would absolutely do it again! Since there was more surface area of the oak per volume, it was able to impart a greater amount of flavor into the brew than if I had tried oaking the secondary. I also found that as I continued to drink the beer, the flavors became more pronounced and mature over time and after a year of bottle conditioning with the oak, I had quite a flavor profile.

I'd go this route...plus, a 3' stick of 3/8" oak runs less than $2.00 at the hardware stores.
That is an interesting idea, adding it to the bottles directly so you can taste some with and some without. My only concern would be, it could possibly get over oaked, since the oak is in the bottle. Once it hit the perfect oakness, you would probably want to drink them all before it got too much.

Also, you had good results with oak from the hardware store? Did you toast it yourself? Was it an oak flavor or a bourbon flavor?
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bknifefight View Post
That is an interesting idea, adding it to the bottles directly so you can taste some with and some without. My only concern would be, it could possibly get over oaked, since the oak is in the bottle. Once it hit the perfect oakness, you would probably want to drink them all before it got too much.

Also, you had good results with oak from the hardware store? Did you toast it yourself? Was it an oak flavor or a bourbon flavor?
Yep, I just bought standard oak dowels from HomeDepot and used them as they were. I opted not to toast them so that I didn't over-do the flavors. Keeping in mind that the bourbon has already taken these flavors on from its own charred barrel, the un-charred oak will give off plenty of tannins without being over-powerful. This is probably what saved it from being over oaked. I imagine that if I had toasted the oak, it would be at peak much sooner.

Also, it had a slight hint of bourbon flavor, but the tannins in the oak gave it a smooth woody flavor that worked well with the dark beer.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:45 PM   #8
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I use the medium toast oak cubes. I weigh out two ounces for 5 gallons and soak them in 8 ounces of bourbon for a week. I just throw those in the secondary and wait. It usually takes about two weeks or so and it is ready to keg. I have done this with an irish red and a couple different stouts.

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Old 11-15-2012, 08:26 PM   #9
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you really only need to soak the chips long enough for the alcohol to kill all the bugs in them (a day or two?). as long as you toss the rest of the bourbon in with them, you'll get the flavor from it. this is why you can use a minimal amount for the oak and add more bourbon if needed.

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Old 11-15-2012, 11:17 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your responses, there enough info here I believe for me to make a decision.

DOA

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