NorthernBrewer Bourbon Barrel Porter

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glenn514

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Not long at all. I brewed it on Tuesday, 15 September 2015. I racked it to secondary on Wednesday, 30 September 2015, which is when I added the bourbon and the oak chips. I bottled it on Monday, 7 December 2015, so it had been in the secondary for over two months. From bottling to this past Sunday was just a bit over a month of bottle-conditioning. Another son-in-law and I tried a bottle on Christmas Day, at the chocolate taste was almost overwhelming. In the recent taste, the chocolate has mellowed and other tastes are coming to the foreground. I would pronounce the bottles from Sunday evening to be very good...NOT excellent, yet, but it is moving in that general direction.

glenn514:mug:
 

BlackDog-Brewery

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Don't see any issues with that as long as you don't leave it in there for another month, but let's see if some more people chime in. I personally soaked my oak (only used 1 of the 2 oz it came with ) and 2 split vanilla beans in 12 oz. of bourbon for 1 month, then dumped that into my secondary when i racked it and let it age for 28 days. Use caution with the oak and taste weekly as it can get pretty strong and it is a personal taste. I found the 12 oz. of bourbon to be perfect.
Thanks for your reply Arnog

A double thx for the vanilla bean addition. I've seen that on a few threads and now I'm convinced to use it as a dry hop along with the bourbon and oak.

Cheers.
 

BlackDog-Brewery

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I did a month-long primary and then racked to a keg to oak and age. My thoughts were that I didn't want "waste" the oak and bourbon by using them in the primary that would have some of the volume discarded (trub, the last of the liquid, etc). I was also concerned about leaving the beer on the cake for months. I followed a similar process as @arnobg by soaking the cubes (I used the full 2 oz) in 16 oz of bourbon for 4-6 weeks and then dumping that whole volume into the keg. I bagged the cubes and let them hang for another 6 weeks before pulling them. I then aged the keg for a month or two before tapping. It came out excellent. I wanted noticeable oak and bourbon, without being overpowering, and that's how it came out; smooth, luscious and vanilla.
Thanks for your reply HopsandHops

I think I'm convinced for the lack of need to transfer to a secondary and risk infection despite following standard sanitation procedures.

My plan is to follow the Northern Brewer instructions, but pitch the oak and bourbon into the primary after the fermentation is confirmed to be nearly complete.

Cheers
 

BurlyWind

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Brewed this one in december (1 gallon batch) its been in secondary for nearly 3 weeks, i added 3oz of cacao nibs, 2 vanilla beans, and and extra oz of makers mark and its smelling amazing, the bourbon is still pretty hot but the flavors are definitely mellowing and coming together nicely
 

BlackDog-Brewery

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I just wanted to post an update . . .

Shortly after I convinced myself not to do a secondary and pitch the bourbon and the oak and the vanilla beans right into the primary, I decided to treat this batch like you would if you were aging a lager or wine.

So I did transfer the beer off the trub and yeast cake while following strict sanitation of everything that came in contact with the beer.

I can't wait to try this beer because the last few bubbles that I got out of the airlock smelled awesome.

Cheers,
Jim
 

tonymark

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Brewed the extract kit last year and it kicked butt. Got a sack of Maris Otter and trying to do the all grain version. What are the IBU's supposed to be on this kit?
 

arnobg

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Brewed the extract kit last year and it kicked butt. Got a sack of Maris Otter and trying to do the all grain version. What are the IBU's supposed to be on this kit?

My Beersmith is showing right around 50 but it doesn't taste it at all. With such a dark beer it balances out.
 

tonymark

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I am getting about 46 with Beersmith's 13% chinook and the EKG I have on hand. Probably going to go straight Goldings sub centennial for chinook.
 

Timberline

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I ordered this kit today as NB was having a sale that I couldn't pass up. I'm not a big fan of bourbon but a lot of my friends are, so I think I'll split it in two and do half w/ Bourbon (Buffalo Trace ok?) and half on Scotch (probably Lagavulin or Talisker) .
 

heckofagator

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Hmm..that is a pretty good sale. I haven't made an extract kit in a while. But for $20, maybe i could. This was one of my favorite beers I've ever made.
 

Partagas

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Some of you have added coffee or vanilla, has anyone tried adding honey to this recipe? Im new at this and would like to know how to go about doing this. 15 minutes before flame out? At primary or secondary fermentation?
 

bleme

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Some of you have added coffee or vanilla, has anyone tried adding honey to this recipe? Im new at this and would like to know how to go about doing this. 15 minutes before flame out? At primary or secondary fermentation?

Honey will ferment away and dry the beer out. Honey malt is better for adding honey flavor, but I can't see it in this beer as it already has so much going on.
 

jg80305

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I have made this twice. The first time, I kegged it and consumed it rather quickly. The second batch, I kegged 3 Gal and bottled the other 2 Gal. I bottled them in 2015 and still have a few left. I had one last month and it was amazing. So, just a suggestion - save some for cellaring, you won't be disappointed.
 

arnobg

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I have made this twice. The first time, I kegged it and consumed it rather quickly. The second batch, I kegged 3 Gal and bottled the other 2 Gal. I bottled them in 2015 and still have a few left. I had one last month and it was amazing. So, just a suggestion - save some for cellaring, you won't be disappointed.
THIS!!! I brewed this beer on Halloween 2015 and I still have a few left. I drink about 1 a month and it is just amazing. Ages really well.
 

Timberline

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I just wrapped up brew day on this kit. I hit the OG spot on at 1.065. I pushed the (sanitized) airlock grommet into the beer while inserting the airlock - but a quick search here says 'rite of passage" and should be ok since the grommet and lid were both sanitized. But I panicked when it first happened. Lesson learned - mount the airlock before putting the lid on.

It's now sitting quietly in the basement for 3-4 weeks, then off the secondary.

One thing I screwed up on: The Goldings hops were to be added 1/2 at 15 minutes remaining and the other 1/2 at 5 minutes remained. I put them all at at 15 min. What should I expect from that mistake?
 

hopsandhops

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I just wrapped up brew day on this kit. I hit the OG spot on at 1.065. I pushed the (sanitized) airlock grommet into the beer while inserting the airlock - but a quick search here says 'rite of passage" and should be ok since the grommet and lid were both sanitized. But I panicked when it first happened. Lesson learned - mount the airlock before putting the lid on.

It's now sitting quietly in the basement for 3-4 weeks, then off the secondary.

One thing I screwed up on: The Goldings hops were to be added 1/2 at 15 minutes remaining and the other 1/2 at 5 minutes remained. I put them all at at 15 min. What should I expect from that mistake?
You'll just get a bit more bitterness in the finished product. No biggie
 

Timberline

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I just moved mine to secondary after 3 weeks in primary. OG was 1.065, today's reading was a hair under 1.03. I called NB and they told me to pitch another pack of yeast, but considering my results are consistent with what everyone else is getting it seems like a wasted effort (esp since the LHBS is closed until Monday). I'm going to let it ride and add my bourbon/oak in a couple weeks.

It will drop on down a little bit from here though while in secondary though, yes ?


ETA: I changed my mind last minute and ran off the to the LHBS and picked up a second smack pack of Scottish Ale yeast and pitched it. It can't hurt, and I figured having so much time invested in waiting on this one to mature, I'll give it every chance I can.
 

HopGobbler

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I have a 5 gallon batch of this going now, been in secondary for 2 weeks and I just added the Maker's mark and oak cubes, can't wait to get this stuff into bottles, it already tastes amazing!
 

Partagas

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So i brewed this yesterday and missed the target OG of 1.064. I ended with 1.060 due to about a half gallon of extra water volume in the wort. Now im wondering how much these 4 points in gravity will affect my beer. Should i be worried?
 

doshotone

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I brewed this yesterday as well and came up a bit short, 1.062 which I know is ok. I think I missed because i did not get all of the LME out of the bottles.
 

tonymark

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I brew all grain, but my neighbor gifted me the extract kit of this beer a few years ago and after oaking with kit cubes for 6 days the tannins were overwhelming. Waited 4 months and it was incredible. Decided to make the all grain version in Sept. 2016. Made ten gallons, primaried in glass for 2 weeks with WY1968. Moved to an used American Oak brandy barrel from local brewery and added a pint of Makers Mark. The barrel must be used up, because oak cubes for 6 days did way more than this barrel for 6 months. I purchased the barrel to do pLambic/sours, so I guess it is ready. I think I will drop some toasted oak cubes in for the last days the porter resides in the barrel.
 

tonymark

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I think this kit can be bumped up to 1.075 with additional DME. Go darker and maybe add more dark grains for partial mash.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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I've been giving this kit/recipe a lot of thought recently and plan to brew it later this summer (I have two batches ahead of it in queue right now).

A couple thoughts:
First, thinking about the reports of overwhelming oak...that makes sense. What we're trying to emulate is aging beer in a barrel that's been used to age bourbon. That means that bourbon was put into the barrel, aged, them removed...taking a lot of the oakiness with it. Then the beer went in.

To more accurate model this, we should really be soaking the oak in bourbon, removing that bourbon, then putting the oak (and more bourbon) into the beer for aging. Otherwise we're really modeling a first use barrel with some bourbon thrown in.

Second, one of the things that has me a little timid about brewing this beer is that, as a person who loves big stouts, porters always seem a little thin to me. But this kit gets great reviews that make me want to brew it, so I'm thinking I'm gonna dress it up a little. My thought is to add some flaked oats, flaked barley and use WYeast 1450 to give it a little more body.

Also, I plan to do the all grain version, so I may mash a little higher too (thinking 155).

Thoughts?
 

JDWebb

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Got one cookin' right now. Added 3 pounds of caramelized wildflower honey to it. Dumped the oak cubes into a quart sized mason jar filled with Cruzan Black Strap Rum, it'll all go into the carboy with a couple Indonesian vanilla beans, and a few ounces of coffee beans and roasted cocoa nibs. Will age it for several months.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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Got one cookin' right now. Added 3 pounds of caramelized wildflower honey to it. Dumped the oak cubes into a quart sized mason jar filled with Cruzan Black Strap Rum, it'll all go into the carboy with a couple Indonesian vanilla beans, and a few ounces of coffee beans and roasted cocoa nibs. Will age it for several months.
What does the honey do for it?
 

JDWebb

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Kicks up the ABV a notch, adds a nice caramel aroma, and not all of caramelized honey is fermentable, which leaves a sort of nice slight residual sweetness. The honey was caramelized to the marshmallow aroma stage.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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I finally got this brewed a little over a week ago using the updates to the recipe I suggested above. All grain brew came in at about 1.079. Initial fermentation went very well and I plan to rack to a corny keg this coming weekend. I decided to go with half the supplied oak and those are soaking in 16 oz of Blanton's right now. I'm guessing that the flaked oats, flaked barley and yeast selection will likely push this into something closer to a stout. I'm hoping for a richer mouthfeel.

I have Madagascar Vanilla beans on order that should be here in a couple days.

My plan is to rack to the keg, purge O2 and let it bulk age for another month or 6 weeks. In September I'll add the oak/vanilla/bourbon mix and repurge the O2. I can then draw off a sample once every couple weeks but I plan to leave it on the oak until November or so. Whenever I deem it's ready, I'll just stick the keg into my kegerator, do a force carb and bottle from the keg.

I haven't tried a sample yet, so I'm really excited to rack to the secondary, taste and get a gravity reading.

All the above timelines are subject to change based on samples. I really want to give at least two weeks secondary before I add the bourbon mixture. Other than that, everything else will be based on how it seems to be progressing.
 

Timberline

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My first iteration of this one went into the bottles a little over a month ago and they're hiding in a cool, dark corner of my basement until Thanksgiving.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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OK, after a couple weeks in the secondary, the FG is stable and the flavor has really come around. This could be a really special brew.

I added the bourbon/oak/Vanilla beans on Saturday. I'll check it every couple weeks, but the plan is to age until at least the end of september, maybe mid October. I'll just have to see how the flavor evolves. It's really nice to have it in a corny. I just sanitize the posts, sanitize a gas hose, connect CO2 and draw off a sample. I'm going to use a similar process for an Octoberfest.
 

HopGobbler

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I think you'll be happy with this kit, it's not one that I can drink all the time, but it definitely came out tasty
 

rival178

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Will this plan work?

5 weeks in the primary, adding the oak and bourbon for the last 2 weeks, then move to secondary leaving behind the oak to condition for a few months? Then into the Keg.

Is that enough time for the oak?
 

bleme

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Will this plan work?

5 weeks in the primary, adding the oak and bourbon for the last 2 weeks, then move to secondary leaving behind the oak to condition for a few months? Then into the Keg.

Is that enough time for the oak?
I don't know about the oak, but is there a reason you wouldn't skip secondary and condition in the keg? You could add priming sugar to the keg which would help consume the O2 from the headspace. This will give you a less oxidized beer than using a secondary.
 

rival178

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Only reason is I only have 2 kegs and I don't want to lose one for 6+ months while this conditions.
 

rival178

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Will this plan work?

5 weeks in the primary, adding the oak and bourbon for the last 2 weeks, then move to secondary leaving behind the oak to condition for a few months? Then into the Keg.

Is that enough time for the oak?

Only reason is I only have 2 kegs and I don't want to lose one for 6+ months while this conditions.
 

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