Adding Bourbon At bottling?

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43 Degrees North
Mar 27, 2022
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43° north latitude
I’m going to bottle of milk stout in about a week and I’m wondering about adding bourbon to give the beer a poor man‘s attempt at bourbon barrel aging?

Has anybody tried this at bottling?

if it’s possible to add bourbon just before I bottle do I have to worry about adding less or more bottling sugar for the carbonation?

Could I soak a handful of oak chips in bourbon for a few days and then throw them into the fermenter for a few more days before bottling?

I like trying new things or at least try to improve upon mistakes that others have made in the past.

Thanks for your opinions in advance.
I'm no expert but have played with this a bit. You can definately make something drinkable and interesting. Soak the bourbon in oak chips for at least a few days, probably longer.

Then play around with pouring off a couple of ounces of your ferment, add a bit of your oaked bourbon to taste. Scale it up to your batch size. If you're bottling and have the patience, scale to bottle size, and then bottle. (If you pour it into your batch, you will lose some along with the sediment and other crud.

Hope this helps
Could I soak a handful of oak chips in bourbon for a few days and then throw them into the fermenter for a few more days before bottling?

I have done something similar before where I soaked oak cubes in whiskey and added measured amounts at bottling time. I pulled out a 4 oz sample and played around with the dosing, then scaled that up. I have also done as suggested by @Henbrew, where I have purchased a similar beer and used that to figure out the dosing for tinctures.

I have learned that it is good to first boil the cubes in water for 10 minutes to help pull off some of the tannic bite. The first time I just added cubes to whiskey, I dumped out that whiskey because it was way too harsh. The second soak of those cubes was much better, but boiling in water saves you from dumping out alcohol. I have not used chips in recent memory.
I've learned to just add some to my glass before serving. But of course if you bottle, and give one away, that doesn't work.

You might try something like counting the # of drops, from a dropper, that is the "right" amount for a glass of beer. Then multiply that by the # of glasses you'd get from a keg and then maybe that's the right amount overall?

I will say things age, and what works up front might not be right in a few months. I'd also add that (this may be obvious but may not, depending if you're a bourbon geek) bourbons are not the same. Some can work really well, and some can really clash, with your beer. Hopefully you have an array to try out.

I like the suggestion from @Henbrew above to buy something close to play with before you dose a couple gallons.
I make tinctures by soaking spices, zests, etc. in vodka then add to the bottling bucket with the priming solution. I think doing the same with bourbon and chips would work well. I usually soak for a week or two. Good luck!
I second (third? fourth?) the suggestions above. You can order 3ml disposable syringes online by the gross (they're handy for measuring out StarSan, etc, too). Grab some and use them to carefully dose a similar stout with a range of known quantities (.5ml/100ml, 1ml / 100ml, 2ml / 100ml, etc.) and use that extrapolate for your batch size.
It wouldn't hurt to buy a commercially available milk stout that's close to your recipe and experiment with adding bourbon to see what dosage would be best. It gives you an excuse to buy beer and drink bourbon so even if you don't learn anything it's still a win.
I like how you think!!!!

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