Bourbon Barrel Stout
This is a delicious, heavy, high-alcohol stout (a "big" beer, if you will) that derives some of its flavor from the chips of actual bourbon-aging barrels in the secondary fermenter, plus actual bourbon added for flavor before bottling.

So why use bourbon barrels? They add a distinct flavor. Before aging bourbon, the insides of the barrels are charred as a method of sterilization. This also causes the sap of the oak barrels to caramelize on the surface that will age the liquor. During the aging process, the bourbon soaks into the wood and blends with the caramelized sugary oak sap.

Over the aging period, the bourbon is drawn in and out as the wood expands and contracts over time, which helps to give it the distinctive flavors. After aging and processing, a barrel still contains approximately 20 pounds of bourbon within the wood. By law they cannot be re-used for bourbon; some are sold to the Scotch whiskey industry, but a few are chipped and sold as additives for home-grilling and smoking meat. In both grilling and Scotch-making, the attraction is that the barrels impart some of flavors of the bourbon that was aged in them... and such is the basis for this recipe.

Now for a bit of scandal - this recipe uses Jack Daniels barrel chips (available on the charcoal aisle of most grocery stores), but Jack Daniels goes out of its way to proclaim that it's not a bourbon, but is instead a Tennessee Whiskey. This goes to the saying that "All Bourbons are Whiskeys, but not all Whiskeys are Bourbons." That in mind, perhaps this should be called "Whiskey Barrel Stout" - but there is already a kit by that name by a great homebrew supplier, and this isn't meant to be a clone of that. The best way to handle the nomenclature is to forget about it - make the beer, age it properly, and then sit back, relax, and have a homebrew.

3 lb Special Dark DME
4 lb Amber DME
3 lb Light DME

6 oz Roasted Barley
8 oz Dark Chocolate
8 oz Caramel 90L

.5 oz Magnum hops (start)
.5 oz Cluster hops (40 min mark)

9 oz Bourbon (or Whiskey... let's not get too anal about names)

1 pkg WLP099 White Labs Super High Gravity yeast

bottle caps

priming sugar

3 oz Jack Daniels Oak Whiskey Barrel Chips

1. The day before, do a yeast starter using 8 oz Light DME.

2. Pour 2.5 gallons of clean water into your brew pot and begin to heat. Pour crushed grains into grain bag and tie a loose knot at the top of the bag. When the water is within an appropriate steeping temperature (150 - 165F) place the grain bag into the brew pot. Steep grains for approximately 45 minutes, then remove.

3. Add extracts one at a time, stirring. Bring to a boil.

4. Add Magnum bittering hops.

5. Boil for 40 minutes, then add Cluster hops.

6. Remove from burner into an ice bath, and chill to ~80 degrees. Pour into primary fermenter, and add distilled water to bring to 5 gallons.

7. Aeroate wort using your favorite method.

8. Pitch yeast from the starter.

9. Boil wood chips for 5 minutes to sanitize, then soak in bourbon while primary is brewing.

10. When fermentation slows (4-7 days), you are ready to go to the secondary.

11. Remove wood chips from bourbon, allow to dry, then drop into secondary container. Siphon beer from primary onto them. Allow to sit in secondary 3-4 weeks.

12. When ready to bottle, boil 2 cups water and add priming sugar. Cool mixture down in an ice bath.

13. Siphon beer into bottling tank, add priming sugar mixture, and 9 oz. of bourbon. Stir well.

14. Bottle, and allow to condition for 4-6 months before drinking. Enjoy!

Jack Daniel's Old No. 7, Tennessee Honey, and Gentleman Jack are registered trademarks of Jack Daniel's 2014.
All other text and photos copyright 2013-2014 by the Meisters of Brew.