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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Splitting a Brew
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:23 PM   #1
thedirtystayout
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Default Splitting a Brew

Not as in sharing a pint!

I have a porter that went to primary the other day and was considering splitting it in two once primary is done. Half, I would keep as is and the other half add coffee and/or some bourbon to in secondary.

Has anyone split batches before? Is this an ok thing to do or will dividing the beer reduce the quality of the finished brew(s)?

Thanks for any input or advice to be shared!

J.

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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If it's a 5 gallon batch, get some 3 gallon carboys. I would also give it plenty of time on the yeast cake before splitting it off. Such as 2-4 weeks. IF the OG was decent, then 3-4 weeks. Be VERY careful with adding bourbon. Even a few ounces in a 5 gallon batch will be very noticeable.

As an alternative, you could pull half of the batch into the bottling bucket, prime with normal priming solution (volume to match the amount being bottled) then prime the second batch using coffee instead of water in the priming solution. Save the bourbon for a batch you can age for a longer time. With just one flavor difference between the bottles, you'll get a better idea of what that flavor does to the brew. It also means you won't need to buy any more carboy's right now.

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:28 PM   #3
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Split away. People do this all the time. Before Fermentation, after fermentation, after kegging. Its all good.

When my pipe line is low sometimes I will buy a full keg and split it into 3 corny's.

Split it up!

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:30 PM   #4
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It is most definitely fine. It s a great thing to do to experiment. I add different dry hops, different yeast strains,honey, lager one and not the other,etc. It is a great learning tool.

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help!

I was thinking of cold brewing the coffee, soaking it in bourbon and then draining it off before pitching.

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:49 PM   #6
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Personally, I'd not mix the two flavor elements... I added 4-6oz of bourbon to a 5 gallon batch, and the flavor was far more than I had wanted. I wished I had only added maybe 2oz. For a 3 gallon batch, I would start with no more than 1oz at first, give it a good week or two, then maybe think about adding more.

Coffee can be added at different times too. Depending on how you use it. You can grind the beans and put them right into the brew (either during cool-down, after pitching the yeast, or once active fermentation has stopped). You can also use it in the priming solution, as already mentioned. For that, I would probably use a regular coffee maker (I use a really nice auto-drip) and see if you can get the sugar into solution with either a half, or full pot of coffee. I would make it on the strong side there. If you can't get the sugar to fully dissolve, then apply a little heat to the mix until it is into solution. Then use it.

Another option for bourbon would be to soak some oak chips/cubes in some for a week or so. Then just put the oak into the brew, saving the bourbon for drinking/cooking...

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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I placed a bunch of oak chips in a 1-cup mason jar with bourbon, and kept topping it off as necessary for a few weeks until the Stout was ready for it, then I put the whole thing in secondary. I wish I'd poured a whole cup of bourbon in, because there just wasn't enough bourbon flavor to notice. I tried to be careful because everyone always says it only takes a little, but I suppose I can always add a capful to each glass I pour.

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:54 PM   #8
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Thank you!

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Old 03-10-2011, 05:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
I placed a bunch of oak chips in a 1-cup mason jar with bourbon, and kept topping it off as necessary for a few weeks until the Stout was ready for it, then I put the whole thing in secondary. I wish I'd poured a whole cup of bourbon in, because there just wasn't enough bourbon flavor to notice. I tried to be careful because everyone always says it only takes a little, but I suppose I can always add a capful to each glass I pour.
I think it has a lot more to due with what you're looking for in the flavor addition. I was looking for a subtle addition, not depth-charge level.

This is one of the reasons why so many people say to taste the brew before you bottle it, as well as after time with each flavor addition. It's far easier to add more of an element that to try and get some of it out.

I aged the brew with bourbon added for about a month on oak after I racked it (to pull it off another element)... I tried some on the 2/26 and it still wasn't where I wanted it. I'm probably going to wait another month, or two, before I try another bottle of it. It might be closer to what I wanted come the fall.
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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:08 PM   #10
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I do it all the time but i brew 10 gallon batches. An example I did a Arrogant Bastard clone. I dry hopped one 5 gallon batch as suggested then did the other with a different hop. I also put oak in the 2nd stage fermenter. The first 5 gallons went into a keg, the second into bottles. With 3 gallons left to bottle I poured 2 shots of bourbon into the bottling bucket. So I ended up with 3 different beers.

I'd have to agree with Goldiggie though is saying in that coffee and bourbon not sounding like a good blend. While you may be on the verge of a great discovery, I believe most everything has been tried. Look at the recipes near the bottom of the forum. You can see some of the combinations that were winners.

Off the top of my head:
Coffee chocolate for Mocha Porter
Bourbon & Oak (this was soooo good in my AB clone)
Bourbon Vanilla.

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