Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bourbon Barrel Brown

So, here's the recipe for the Bourbon Barrel Brown. I've still got a little more than a 6er left and it keeps changing and improving. The Maker's Mark soaked oak chips really added some interesting flavors. I would not add more bourbon and be very careful about how long you leave the chips in otherwise it could get overwhelming. Definitely pull a sample after a few days to see how you like it. An alternative would be to use cubes or something with less surface area, then you could leave the beer on wood longer. This beer has some really interesting vanilla notes to it, explained by a homebrew club member who tasted it as the bourbon coming out (in?) of suspension. Anyhoo, let me know if you try it. I will be brewing the same one soon but probably won't oak it.

  • 6 lbs light liquid ME
  • 2 lbs light dry ME
  • 8 oz caramel/crystal 60
  • 6 oz chocolate malt
  • 5 oz special roast malt
  • 2 oz caramel/crystal 90
  • 1 oz Galena hops at 60 minutes
  • 1 oz Ahtanum hops at 10 minutes
  • 1 oz American oak chips, steamed for 10 minutes and soaked in 5 oz Maker's Mark bourbon for about a month (added to secondary for 6 days)

OG 1.062, FG 1.014, 57 IBUs. As I brewed it, it seemed a little too light in color and not quite enough sweetness and chocolate, so I think if I brew this again I'll make a few changes to the grain bill but keep the hop schedule the same, though. Making a yeast starter to get the gravity to drop nice and low will help to dry it out nicely too. Something like this maybe:

  • 7 lbs light DME (easier to get at my lhbs)
  • 4 oz crystal 60
  • 4 oz crystal 90
  • 8 oz chocolate malt
  • 4 oz special roast malt

The OG would be about the same, but dropping the crystal 60 and bumping up the crystal 90 will keep the same sweetness but a little more color, and then bumping up the chocolate malt will give me a little more of that chocolatey goodness and color. I like the special roast too, it was the first time I used it and it's a pretty tasty grain, so I might bump that up some more too. Have any of you guys used it?

UPDATE (11:00 pm): Kristen and I planted the garden today, and aside from a tiny (1/4 inch) shoot on my Cascade mound, no shoots. Upon closer examination however, the ground was about as hard as concrete, so with a superhuman feat of strength I broke up each mound, carefully found the rhizome, then put loose soil back on top and gave them a good drink of water. All 3 rhizomes had some good underground budding going on, so I'm happy. I might not have much of yield since it's so late, but hey, they're not dead right?

Also, when I got home today I had a box filled with 4 oz of Centennial and a bunch of specialty grains, so I might be brewing on Monday if my lhbs is open tomorrow. I'm thinking Jamil's Amber (clone of Bear Republic's Red Rocket: BTW, I ordered from Williams Brewing, and although you have to buy an equal dollar value of other stuff when you buy hops, they do send you beer coasters, which I thought was pretty frickin cool.


Bri said...

Thanks for the recipe. I had one bottle of it when we met in the dells and I really enjoyed it. It's hard to remember the aroma and taste from that long ago. So it's time to make my own. I'll do a variation of what you listed. The way that purchasing ingrediants is going lately, I end up compromising when buying. But for the first time around on each beer I just let it rip and try and learn something new.

Is soaking the oak chips for 60 days necessary, or could I cut back to half that and get the same result? Also, how did you t-bag your chips?

rich.tessler said...

I did really like the hops and have the ingredients for a new batch already, but Galena and Ahtanum are getting a little hard to come by, so good luck. Whatever you use, I think the key is to have enough of a hop backbone to cut through the oak and bourbon, but still have some balance between the malt, hops, and boozy wood, so you probably don't want to make it a hop monster. As far as soaking the chips, I think that if you're throwing the chips and bourbon in the secondary you probably don't need to soak for a super long time. You'll probably want to do it for a couple of weeks though to let the bourbon and oak flavors mingle. Did you get chips or cubes?

rich.tessler said...

Oh, and I didn't do anything special with the chips. Just poured the chips and bourbon into the secondary thru a funnel and then racked the beer on top of it. I had a little bit of trouble getting them all in there, so you'll probably want to pour it in slow and then use a sanitized poking device of some sort to jam it all in there. Beer is nice and clear and continues to change and improve with age.

rich.tessler said...

BTW, if you do brew this, mine had an OG of 1.066 and 59 IBUs. Might give you something to shoot for.

Bri said...

I'm planning on following your second list and I've got alternative hops picked out. If I can't find galena, I will used nugget. If I can't find ahtanum, I will use amarillo. what type of yeast did you use?

I'm picking up the oak chips and a co2 splitter today. I'm going to wait on ingrediants for another 2 weeks to let the chips soak.