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Background:

I am a large fan of bourbon flavored beers and have flavored a number of my homebrews with various bourbons with a wide range of results.

Question:

What bourbons/whiskies result in a good flavor in beer?

For anyone starting out with flavoring using bourbon, this is a question that will likely be raised along with:

And potentially:

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2 Answers

I don't know if there's an answer to your question because it's totally subjective and based on personal taste. For instance, I have a rather "famous" Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter recipe. I use Jim Beam in it and it turns out great. Other people also like the beam in the recipe. But you've said you don't like it, even though I could recommend it based on my experience and other people's recommendations, it wouldn't work for you. I can tell you that my experience is that if the brand of bourbon actually makes a difference, you may be adding too much.

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So you can have too much of a good thing! How much do you normally add in a 5 gallon batch? –  mdma Apr 7 '12 at 17:16
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375 ml. per 5 gal. You want the flavor to be integrated, not scream "bourbon!" at you. To arrive at the amount, I dosed 4 2 oz. samples with different measured amounts of bourbon. After deciding which I preferred, I scaled that amount up to the baatch sizae. –  Denny Conn Apr 7 '12 at 17:23
    
Alright... I will admit that this is somewhat subjective, but it is still a valid (and very useful) question for any homebrewer who wants to use bourbon to flavor a beer. Knowing which bourbons will produce what kind of flavor and strength is very much akin to what flavor and strength a hop varietal or yeast will produce. So, my question to you is: How do I alter this question to make it less subjective and more practically useful for homebrewers? –  akdom Apr 7 '12 at 18:36
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I think you could end up with problems adding straight bourbon to any fermentation even secondary because the added alcohol will stress the yeast. I would suggest soaking oak chips in bourbon then putting the oak chips into your secondary. as for soak time your going to have to play with that and do some research and figure out what works best for you and your processes.

Good luck!

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As long as you don't add a huge amount, no problems. –  Denny Conn Apr 7 '12 at 15:05
    
"Secondary Fermentation" is a misnomer. Fermentation has already occurred and completed as such there should be no yeast stress related issues (the yeast have likely already gone dormant). Secondary is largely used as a method for clearing the beer similar to a commercial "Bright Tank". –  Kevin Colby Apr 11 '12 at 22:55
    
Thank you, I am well aware that a "secondary fermentation" is pointless in terms of actual fermentation. Maybe I am just using the wrong word, but I would still suggest making any additions to your beer after fermentation (like in a "secondary"), for one the alcohol will help kill any trace of contamination. –  Ryan Shdo Apr 20 '12 at 12:51
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