Monday, November 16, 2009
Oaked Vanilla Bourbon Porter
Over the weekend, I kegged up 3 gallons of my homebrewed Oaked Vanilla Bourbon Porter. The base beer is a robust porter, rich and chocolately, clocking in at around 8.5% ABV. After primary fermentation, I slit open two whole vanilla beans (if you don't know what fresh vanilla beans look like, see the picture above) and added them to the secondary fermenter for just over a week. While the beer was being vanilla-ized, I took a 200ml flask of Jim Beam Bourbon and put it in a container with about a 1/4 oz of medium toast French oak cubes. At kegging, I blended the vanilla porter and the oaked bourbon. I think I added a bit too much bourbon, but there's no harsh flavors--the beer is still smooth and very drinkable. It's carbonating now in the keg at about 12 PSI, and I plan on tapping it when I move to DC at the end of the month.
On the DC note, if you didn't already know, I'm relocating there to start a new job at the beginning of December. I'll be living with a friend in Mt. Pleasant for a bit, while I look for my own place, which means brewing is going to have to take a break for a bit. The good news is that I've stocked up on homebrew to sustain me for awhile; I'm bringing down the 3 gallon keg of porter, a 5 gallon keg of pumpkin ale, and a case and a half of flanders red ale. I'm planning on buying a small chest freezer (5 cubic feet) when I get down there for the kegs. Once I find my own place, I'm going to use the chest freezer for fermentation temp control and lagering. My existing upright freezer, which is a lot bigger (14.1 cubic feet), will be converted into a real 3-keg kegerator (with taps on the front and all). I just got a 3 gauge secondary CO2 regulator to control the individual pressure in each keg, and I've already got it hooked up carbonating the porter and serving the pumpkin ale.
Although homebrewing will be on hiatus for a little, I'm looking forward to exploring the DC beer scene a bit more. There's some great beer bars there, including RFD, Brickskeller, and the newly opened Churchkey (which has a daily rotating tap list), all of which I'll be frequenting often.