I need advice on Vanilla Bourbon Oatmeal Coffee Stout

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I need advice on Vanilla Bourbon Oatmeal Coffee Stout

Postby Patriot54 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:27 pm

Hi - this is my first post here and I'm new to brewing. I have only brewed at a local Brew on premise which is why this is a 15-gallon batch.

My friend wanted me to make up an original recipe for his Imperial Vanilla Bourbon Oatmeal Coffee Stout. The basic guidelines were it should very black, very high in alcohol, not too sweet or chocolatey, and he mentioned Hoppin' Frog BORIS and Southern Tier Oatie stouts as examples of his favorite beers. The coffee should be strong in the flavor but keep the bourbon subdued so it's not too boozy tasting (most of the alcohol should come from the extract, grains and sugars). Another friend of ours works at a coffee roasting place so he's making up a nice fresh batch of espresso roasted beans for this beer and I have a pint of Jim Beam mixed with a dash of pure Mexican vanilla extract. So I did a ton of research and put together this recipe below but now I need more expert advice to finalize it. The hop schedule was kind of a guessing game so let me know how that looks to you guys (maybe the bittering hops could be moved to 45 and aroma to 15-20 minutes?). Any general advice would be helpful but my specific questions are approximately how much alcohol % or gravity would we get from this, how do I convert pounds of liquid extract into quarts, and when it says roasted barley does that mean roasted flaked barley? Also, when and how much bourbon should he use if it's poured directly into the beer. Thanks.

Imperial Oatmeal Breakfast Stout - recipe by Dave & Steve
15 gallon batch - Extract/Partial Mash recipe

Malt Extract:
20 lbs liquid extract (dark or amber)

6 lbs American pale 2-row malt
1.5 lbs caramel/crystal malt 90°L to 120°L
2 lbs roasted barley
1.5 lbs black patent
1.5 lbs chocolate malt
3 to 4.5 pounds of flaked oats

1.5 to 3 pounds of molasses (optional)
dark brown sugar (optional)

Bittering Hops:
3.0 oz Nugget or Centennial (60 min) (These are most common but Southern Tier uses Columbus, BORIS Stout uses Northern Brewer)
1.5 oz Cascade or Willamette (30 min)
Other choices for bittering hops are Magnum or Perle (used in a Founder’s clone)

Finishing/Aroma Hops:
1.5 oz Liberty (5 min) (BORIS Stout uses Liberty hops for finishing – Fuggle can also be used here)
1.5 oz Fuggle (0 min)

Irish Moss (optional)
dark corn sugar for priming

Liquid Yeast Notes: WYeast 1084 Irish Ale is most common in oatmeal stouts – the White Labs equivalent would be WLP001 Irish Ale.

Pint of bourbon when priming sugar is added or at end of boil?
12 to 18 oz of oak chips soaked in bourbon for a few days, drained or dried, and added at beginning of secondary fermentation in a steeping bag, left until bottling. Sanitize oak chips by steaming or mixing with a small amount of boiling water.

Whole vanilla beans can be cut open and soaked in bourbon prior to brewing or soaked in secondary fermenter. Vanilla extract can be added to taste.

16 oz (1 lb) cracked coffee beans during secondary fermentation OR 2-4 cups very strong brewed coffee poured in at end of boil
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:51 pm

I would say you're at around 8.2% ABV with this beer, gravity right around 1.085 depending on efficiency. And roasted barley is not flaked. It can be, but usually not.

I think this beer may be a bit too complex for a first beer, but that's just my opinion. I think when you brew your first, you should keep it to a minimum so you can get the basics down good.

The recipe looks good as far as the grains go. I would leave out the extra pint of bourbon. If you soak your oak chips (about 12oz.) for a few weeks in bourbon, then drain the chips and let them dry before throwing them in secondary...you'll have a subtle, but noticable bourbon flavor.

As for the coffee beans... WAAAY too much unless you want it to taste like you're drying straight coffee. Of course, it all depends on how fresh your beans are, and how long you let them sit in secondary. When I did my coffee bourbon porter, I used 3oz. of coffee beans crushed in the secondary for 5 days. If I did the beer again, I would only use half the amount of beans.

I like the idea of soaking the vanilla beans in bourbon.
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Postby Patriot54 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:13 am

Thanks for the advice. This is not our first beer, so far we have brewed a black lager, imperial IPA and imperial porter but this will be my first attempt at making a recipe from scratch.

You didn't say the size of your batch of coffee bourbon porter, but if it was 5 gallons, then a half-pound of coffee might be good for a 15 gallon batch. I'm sure it will be very fresh and strong coffee beans.

As for the bourbon, I will suggest he use the wood chips instead of straight bourbon.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:56 pm

I made a 2 gallon batch, sorry. The 3oz. of beans was a bit much. I used Camerons Southern Toasted Pecan beans. You can find the recipe on here if you search the recipe section for my user name. If you're interested....
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Secondary - Cherry Lambic
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Postby slothrob » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:22 pm

I think Nugget or Magnum for bittering a Stout. I really like Nugget with dark malts. Willamette and Fuggles to finish (though either one with Liberty as aroma might be interesting). WLP004 is the Irish Ale yeast, not WLP001. Either would work, but the cleaner WLP001 might be better in such a complex beer (in that case, I'd use the dry US-05 substitute instead), but I've made great beer with the WLP004 yeast, but not everyone likes it's flavor profile. Make a good sized starter, though, and give it extra time to finish before racking it off the yeast or you may have problems. I also like it fermented toward the cool side, and wouldn't let it get much above 65F.

I've never added Bourbon, oak or vanilla to any of my beers, so I don't have any helpful info from experience. I think the Vanilla and Bourbon and Oak and Coffee all together might be a little too much, but this recipe may be a useful guide. This is supposed to be THE homebrew Vanilla Bourbon Stout recipe, from Denny Conn:

#264 Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter

A ProMash Recipe Report

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.00 Wort Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 17.75
Anticipated OG: 1.086 Plato: 20.58
Anticipated SRM: 45.4
Anticipated IBU: 31.8
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73 %
Wort Boil Time: 70 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts

Evaporation Rate: 1.50 Gallons Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 6.75 Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.063 SG 15.52 Plato


% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
62.0 11.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) America 1.036 2
8.5 1.50 lbs. Brown Malt Great Britain 1.032 70
2.8 0.50 lbs. Crystal 40L America 1.034 40
14.1 2.50 lbs. Munich Malt (Durst) Germany 1.037 10
5.6 1.00 lbs. Crystal 120L America 1.033 120
7.0 1.25 lbs. Chocolate Malt America 1.029 350

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
0.65 oz. Magnum-Domestic Whole 15.00 29.2 60 min.
0.40 oz. Goldings - E.K. Whole 6.00 2.6 10 min.


Amount Name Type Time
0.00 Unit(s)Whirlfloc Fining 15 Min.(boil)


DCL Yeast US-56 Fermentis American Ale

Mash Schedule

Mash Name:

Total Grain Lbs: 17.75
Total Water Qts: 23.00 - Before Additional Infusions
Total Water Gal: 5.75 - Before Additional Infusions

Tun Thermal Mass: 0.13
Grain Temp: 65.00 F

Step Rest Start Stop Heat Infuse Infuse Infuse
Step Name Time Time Temp Temp Type Temp Amount Ratio
sacc 0 60 155 155 Infuse 172 23.00 1.30

Total Water Qts: 23.00 - After Additional Infusions
Total Water Gal: 5.75 - After Additional Infusions
Total Mash Volume Gal: 7.17 - After Additional Infusions

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.
All infusion amounts are in Quarts.
All infusion ratios are Quarts/Lbs.

Split 2 vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out all the stuff inside. Add the beans and "stuff" to secondary for 5 days-2 weeks. At bottling add 375 ml. of bourbon. I use Jim Beam Black.

He suggests that the base recipe, I assume without the Vanilla and Bourbon makes a good coffee porter with this addition: "First, I put about 1/4-1/2 oz. of coarsely cracked beans in the secondary for aroma. Then, when I keg or bottle, I add strong espresso to taste."

There's a nearly 70 page thread extolling this beer's virtues on the Northern Brewer Forum. If you are looking for answers, I'd use this recipe as your guide, if not just brewing it outright. Denny is famous for brewing his beers repeatedly until he gets the recipe just right, So, I suspect the quantities, temperatures, and hops have been well tested and verified.
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Postby Patriot54 » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:42 pm

This is all very helpful advice, and I'll print it out for my friend to look at. In the end it's his decision, but I agree that it might be better without the coffee. Maybe he could split the base recipe and make half vanilla bourbon stout and half coffee stout. Like I said, this is done at a Brew on Premise place so we'll have to ask about that, as well as the fermenting/temperature info.
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