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Adding Bourbon to a RIS

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by havok1024, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. I need an opinion on how to add bourbon to my RIS. I was going to soak about 8oz of bourbon with oak cubes in a refridgerated tupperware. Then, I was going to strain out the cubes and add the bourbon a week before bottling. Thoughts?
  2. The bourbon will leech all the tannins from the oak - ditch it. Add just the oak. If you want more bourbon flavor add fresh bourbon to taste.
  3. Pahn

    Pahn Champion (850) New York Dec 2, 2009 Beer Trader

    yeah, putting fresh oak into the bourbon before adding it will actually make the bourbon (and beer) worse.

    if you want oak (beyond oak flavors from the bourbon's original time in barrels), sanitize with bourbon / vodka / whatever, drain, add the cubes, and yeah add fresh bourbon to taste (or take a wild guess, or pull some out and try to experiment with ratios, or search online and try what someone else has done).
  4. I have had some good results with using 1/3-1/2 c of bourbon per gallon of beer.

    I used 2 oz oak soaked in bourbon for 2 months, then drained. I added the oak to my secondary for about a month before I got the flavor that I was looking for.
  5. DaveJanssen

    DaveJanssen Savant (305) Germany Apr 17, 2008

    I've had bourbon barrel aged beers that had good oak character without a lot of bourbon/booze (most notably the Eclipse beers) so I'm not sure I agree that aging oak cubes on bourbon will remove any oak character. I haven't tried a comparison but I think that there will still be oak character after a couple weeks/months of soaking cubes in bourbon. Also, winemakers are still able to pull oak flavors out of barrels after years of aging with previous batches of wine.
  6. The issue isn't removing the oak flavor, it's removing the harsh tannins from the virgin oak.
  7. DaveJanssen

    DaveJanssen Savant (305) Germany Apr 17, 2008

    Thanks. I misread the posts above (mainly the first reply) as saying that soaking the oak in bourbon would make the oak rather than the bourbon unusable.

    @ the OP, I prefer a more mild oak character so I would suggest soaking the cubes for a bit to mellow them out. That is what I've done when I've added oak cubes to a batch.
  8. Do you just add the oak and throw out the bourbon?
  9. DaveJanssen

    DaveJanssen Savant (305) Germany Apr 17, 2008

    It was just the oak. We weren't going for bourbon character so we steeped the oak in hot water and soaked it in commercial beer to make it more mellow. I have a bourbon/oak beer on the horizon and I was planning to add both bourbon and oak. Perhaps I'll taste to bourbon and decide to just go with the oak.