Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Cooper (Bourbon-Oaked Robust Porter) - Brew Day

Like most beer nerds, I'm obsessed with Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout.  The velvety, luscious, pancake syrup of a stout blends perfectly with the character that the charred bourbon barrels add to the base beer.  There beer is paired perfectly with fireplaces, bear rugs, well-trained dogs eating a bone laying next to arm chairs, and other bourgeois endeavors.

My HPRIMS system...Hand-Powered Recirculating Infusion Mash
There are a myriad of clone recipes out there, all with seemingly varying success, but I decided to take a slightly different tack.  Instead of full-on trying to clone the beer, I thought about what beer in my recipe database would lend itself to this type of process.  The one that I kept coming back to was my batch of The Peon, a Hill Farmstead's Everett-inspired porter.  This porter, while lower in alcohol, had the same velvety, syrupy sweetness that I get from BCBS.

For this iteration of the recipe, I did a mash more in line with what Sean Hill of HF uses.  Namely, a shortened mash time -- 30 minutes -- with the dark, roasted grains only added for the final 5 minutes. Additionally, I upped my IBUs a bit for this beer, as some of the oak additions, detailed below, should add some vanilla-like sweetness that would probably benefit from some balance.

For the oak addition, I went with 1.50oz of Medium Toast French Oak (I happened to have a lot of this on hand) that had been soaking in Maker's Mark for several weeks.  After primary fermentation, the bourbon will be strained off of the oak and the bourbon-infused oak will be added to the beer.  The beer will sit on the oak for at least a couple of months or until I feel the bourbon and oak character has melded well.  I'm not ruling out adding actual fresh bourbon to the batch as well, although I'm hoping I don't have to do this.

The Cooper (Porter with Bourbon-Soaked Oak)
5.5 gallon batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.080
Est FG: 1.026 (but will probably finish higher)
Est ABV: 7.2%
IBU:  46
SRM: 42

14.5lb Maris Otter
1.25lb UK Caramel 40L
1.25lb Roasted Barley
1.00lb Carapils
1.00lb Pale Chocolate Malt
0.50lb Caramel 80L

1.1oz CTZ @ FWH (46 IBU)

1000ml starter of WY1028 London Ale

1.50oz Medium Toast French Oak soaked in Maker's Mark

Mash @ 159f for 25 minutes (non-roasted grains only)
Mash @ 159f for 5 minutes (add dark grains)

12/20/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Efficiency came in a little lower than usual, around 75%, probably due to the large grain bill.  Had to add a little DME to the boil to bring up the gravity.  Gathered 5.5 gallons of 1.082 wort.  Bubbling away within a few hours at 64F.

12/28/2014 -- Added 1.50oz of bourbon soaked oak.

1/15/2015 -- Added 1.25 beans of Madagascar Vanilla, cut and scraped.

1/23/2015 -- Bottled to 2.2 vol.  Finished at 1.030.  Blended in some fresh Makers Mark to taste.


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