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Old 05-18-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
May 2011
Millburn, NJ
Posts: 1,385
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In various recipes for Whiskey Barrel Beer (Bourbon Barrel Beer) I see mention of Bourbon.
Whats wrong with using other types of Whiskeys?

Bourbon is 51%+ from Corn, while others are from Barley?

How will this affect the beers taste?

How would some type of Jack Daniels work? (no smoked flavors)

If Bourbon makes a big difference, what type do you suggest?
It will first be soaked in Oak Chips for a while, then sit in the secondary for a month.

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Old 05-18-2012, 01:18 PM   #2
Mar 2012
Tallahassee, Florida
Posts: 285
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I am a big fan of Bourbon and love Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale which is made in Lexington. I love the smokey flavors that bourbon gives to beer. I don't see any reason you couldn't use any type of whiskey you wanted.

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Old 05-18-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
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ktblunden's Avatar
Dec 2011
Lancaster, CA
Posts: 1,975
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I think bourbon is typically used more because of the smooth, smokey flavors. There's nothing that says you can't use other types of whiskey, but I personally find Jack to be harsh and I don't think it would play well with beer for my palate. Everyone's different though. I made a Bourbon Vanilla Stout with a mix of Jim Beam Black and Jim Beam Devil's Share and it came out awesome, though the vanilla didn't come through at all.

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Old 05-18-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
Jan 2012
Key West, Florida
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Most whiskeys or scotch will do but not all... in my opinion its because Scotch or American style Bourbon Whiskey has a smokey oak spiciness to it, where Irish whiskies are more peaty and earthy. Just make sure the qualities of the whiskey compliment the flavors of your grains or the earthy spiceyness of your hops. FWIW ive been told on here that Golden Promise is used to make scotch.
As far as bourbon goes you shouldnt have to soak it with woodchips, the whiskey has already been aging in wooden casks....and for varieties; Knob Creek, Bulleit, Woodford Reserve, Makers Mark, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey(80 proof would be better in your case) are a few I enjoy drinking and Ive used with great success in my cooking.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
Apr 2011
louisville, KY
Posts: 287
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While yes bourbon flavors seem to work well with beer I'd say the main reason it's used so frequently is because distillers can only use the barrel once so they're easier to get than other types.

For other spirits just think about the flavor and how it would go with the beer. Really any spirit will work as long as it complements the beer. B united is doing the zymatore project and has a bunch of beer in gin barrels, which makes for as awesome saison. I've heard of other brewers trying to get tequila barrels, so really the skys the limit.

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Old 05-18-2012, 02:17 PM   #6
Jul 2011
Ramsey & Akeley, Mn
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I've often wondered the same thing. Instead of bourbon, I have some scotch w/ oak cubes in my RIS currently. No flavor tests yet (4 weeks in), but maybe one is warranted.
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Old 05-18-2012, 04:12 PM   #7
Jan 2009
Posts: 1,556
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Because Bourbon is the best. Duh. (Biased)

What's with all the mention of bourbon and smoke? I drink a lot of bourbon and don't consider it smoky by any means. May subtle hints, but other flavors are definitely dominant.

Certain regions of Scotland produce the real smoky whiskeys, however I never drink scotch. I would rather get a super premium top shelf bourbon for the price of a mediocre scotch, also barrel strength.

As mentioned already, yes bourbon barrels can only be used once. They used to not be able to get rid of them, now they are like gold. Scotch/Irish/Canadian distillers all buy used bourbon barrels to age some of their whiskey in, and now brewers are buying them up like crazy as well.

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Old 05-18-2012, 04:16 PM   #8
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Sep 2011
aston, pa
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I made a whiskey barrel stout using irish manor and it came out great!!

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Old 05-21-2012, 12:36 PM   #9
May 2011
Millburn, NJ
Posts: 1,385
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>>While yes bourbon flavors seem to work well with beer I'd say the main reason it's used so frequently is because distillers can only use the barrel once so they're easier to get than other types.

A bit off topic, but why can a barrel used to make Bourbon only be used once?
Is that true for all Whiskey, or just for Bourbon?
If its true only for Bourbon, why?

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Old 05-21-2012, 12:57 PM   #10
Feb 2011
Portland-Metro, Oregon
Posts: 249
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The legal definitions of Bourbon specify that it must be aged only in new oak barrels, specifically American White Oak. Most other Whiskys/Whiskeys in the world do not have this restriction, so they have more flexibility in wood/cask choice.

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