Heartbreak Motor Oil

I just brewed a Foreign Extra Stout to which I plan to add oak chips and a small amount of bourbon.  Think Guiness but with a hint of bourbon and oak.  And I do mean hint of bourbon and oak.  I plan to add only an ounce of each into the fermenter after fermentation has ended.  I think the name fits too.  It is a reference from a Warren Zevon song.  I felt that something big, black and strong,  appropriate for drowning one’s sorrows over the winter months deserved such a name.

This recipe worked out in Beersmith to be about 7% ABV, but my original gravity turned out to only yield roughly a 6% ABV beer. 

Foreign Extra Stout Brewing

Foreign Extra Stout Brewing

This was probably due to my new mash procedure (see post below) and I left a lot of the spent hops and protiens behind in the kettle which could have boosted the gravity somewhat.  My new mash procedure may not yet be as efficient as my old routine so Beersmith is calculating it high.  I improved my efficiency as I became used to mashing in the 2 gallon cooler, so I assume I will get better results as I get used to this method.

And now a rant on commercial oak-aged bourbon beers.  The brewers just can’t seem to go lightly on the oak and the boubon.  I know that they are aging the beers in real oak barrels instead of adding just oak chips normally used in the wine industry to “freshen” old oak barrels.  And I know that the longer you leave the beer in the boubon barrel the more character it takes on, but come on.  It seems as if the brewers feel they need to hit you over the head with oak and bourbon if they are going to call it a “bourbon barrel aged beer”.  To me they just end up tasting like bourbon and wood, with just a hint of beer.

I think an ounce of oak chips and an ounce of Makers Mark will be just a hint of those flavors in the background will compliment the strong, roasty flavors of a stout instead of crash the party.  We’ll see.

The Adequate Brewer



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