Bourbon Vanilla Porter...Did I mess something up?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

cars1913

New Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Napa, CA
Ok so I brewed a version of Denny Conn's Bourbon Vanilla porter about two weeks ago. Keep in mind this is my second all grain brew! Here is the recipe:

1.50 lb Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 8.8 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 5.9 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 2.9 %
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 2.9 %
11.00 lb Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM) Grain 64.7 %
2.50 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 14.7 %

0.75 oz Magnum [14.00%] (60 min) Hops 29.1 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00%] (10 min) Hops 5.0 IBU

American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)

OG: 1.078
FG: 1.018

Abv: 7.9%

So I followed these instructions:
Mash/Grains: Grain Temperature: 72.0 F Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Sparge Water: 3.6 gal, Mash In Add 21.25 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F for 75 min
Boil: Bring wort to a boil for 60 minutes and add 0.75 oz Magnum hops (60 minutes)
Boil: At 10 minutes add 1.00 oz East Kent Golding hops
Fermentation: Primary ferment for 14 days
Fermentation: After primary, slit open 2 vanilla beans. Scrape the insides, chop the pods into quarters, add to secondary fermenter, rack beer onto vanilla.
Fermentation: Taste periodically for the correct balance.
Bottling: Rack to bottling bucket and add 1.5-2.5 oz/gal of Maker's Mark (to your taste).

So I ended up with less volume than the recipe suggested. After the sparge I had only collected about 5.5 gallons of pre-boil wort. The recipe had a note that said that because of the big grain bill you may need to sparge more. It also said that you should boil for 90-120 mins. I stayed with 60 min boil.
So here is my issue, I ended up with an OG of 1.071 and when I took a gravity reading after the 14 day primary it was at 1.011 and it still tasted sweet! I went ahead and racked it over to the secondary anyways and added my chopped up vanilla beans in a mesh bag this morning.

So my real question's are:
1. Should I have added top up water after the boil to bring up the gallons to 6?
2.Can I still add water (I know this is frowned upon:(, I am very hesitant to do it) when I transfer to the bottling bucket
3. Will 3-4 months of bottle aging mellow out some of the flavors

Sorry if this post is a little confusing I am new to brewing and still learning my setup. My first batch came out fantastic! (Honey Spiced Ale)
 

jfk69

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
217
Reaction score
41
Location
Owosso
Did you check your mash temp after mash-in? If you hit 1.011 and it still tastes sweet, you may have mashed at a higher temperature, creating long chain sugars that are far less fermentable. With my first RIS this year, I discovered the "wall" so to speak on efficiency. The higher gravity beers are tougher to do because a lot of your boil volume is acquired in the first runnings. That's why you'll often see 90-120 minute boils on bigger beers...simply to allow you to sparge with more water to achieve the wanted gravity, while counting on boil evaporation to get you to the volume you're looking for into the fermenter. No biggie. Personally I'd let it ride, adding water will simply reduce your OG. I wouldn't add water at bottling time. Ever. And on question three, yes. I've found the bigger stouts and porters to improve with age. JMO.
 

harry_the_face

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
168
Reaction score
28
Location
Milton Freewater
If you add water make sure you use bottled water or boil ahead of adding it, but I would not add water becuase you are just watering it down (reducing the ABV).
 

mrdail87

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Messages
261
Reaction score
33
So here is my issue, I ended up with an OG of 1.071 and when I took a gravity reading after the 14 day primary it was at 1.011 and it still tasted sweet! I went ahead and racked it over to the secondary anyways and added my chopped up vanilla beans in a mesh bag this morning.

So my real question's are:
1. Should I have added top up water after the boil to bring up the gallons to 6?
2.Can I still add water (I know this is frowned upon:(, I am very hesitant to do it) when I transfer to the bottling bucket
3. Will 3-4 months of bottle aging mellow out some of the flavors

I hate to break this to you, but this beer is supposed to taste sweet. The sugars in the Munich amd Crystal aren't totally fermentable, and there's a good amount in this recipe. They leave some residual sweetness around, which is the main reason to add them.

The sweetness will round out some with aging. But also keep in mind it'll also taste different when it's carbonated. Carbonation increases perceived bitterness.
 

dkennedy

Questionable Character
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
Messages
422
Reaction score
58
Location
Cary
My take:
I'd let it ride. Carbing, chilling, and the bourbon will all help balance out the sweetness. I wouldn't add water at this point- you will end up with a diluted beer that, I would bet, will still come across as sweet (unless you water it down to an extreme). Let it age, try a bottle each week (once it's carbed) and keep notes so that you know where the sweet spot of aging time is, for your tastes.

Looks like a tasty recipe, enjoy!
 

ObiBeerCanobi

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
20
Reaction score
2
1.019 also seems a high FG to me for such a low and long mash rest. That said, i would expect an ale on the sweet side with this load of speciality malts.
 
Top