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Expand the Bourbon Beer

I have a favorite bourbon beer recipe that I use, and I’d like to take it a step further and expand the flavor profile of my favorite brew. Any insight is appreciated. Below is the recipe as I use it:

Grain Bill:

  • 6 lb - 2-row
  • 6 lb - Pilsen
  • 8 oz - Biscuit
  • 1 lb - Medium Crystal
  • 8 oz - Honey malt
  • 1 lb - Brown sugar

Hop list

  • .25 oz Centennial @ 60 min
  • .25 oz Chinook @ 45
  • .50 oz Amarillo @ 30
  • 1.0 oz Liberty @ 15
  • .50 oz Nugget @ 15
  • .50 oz Cascade @ 2 (sometimes)

Yeast: California Lager WY 2112

Secondary fermenter addition:
French toasted oak chips that have soaked in 2 cups of bourbon for 2 months (bourbon also gets poured in)

What I’ve done so far: switched between dark, medium, and light toast oak chips soaked in the bourbon. I’ve also thrown in a vanilla bean with the chips and bourbon, and included the same bean in the secondary.

I’d love to hear further advice on how to best alter the taste on this. I love experimenting, so let’s hear your thoughts.

My thoughts is that is already a complex recipe and I wouldn’t do anything else to it. Especially if you’re happy.

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What are some of the taste/aroma differences between the different oak toast levels?

Consider replacing the brown sugar with an invert sugar.

The hop timings are missing, so I’m assuming Chinook / Nugget for bittering, Amarillo / Centennial for flavor, Liberty for aroma, and Cascasde for dry-hop. If I’m close, could you 1) drop nugget & liberty, and 2) use either Centennial or Cascade (but not both)? edit: after hop timings were added

You don’t mention yeast . You could try different yeast. Maybe age it with some Bret. Hey it’s your beer but I also question the hops kind of a lot going on there. You must not be happy or you wouldn’t have asked


All: OP has been edited to show times and yeast. I removed 1 oz of Cascade from the list as it was designated for dry hop, and I’ve never dry hopped this beer.
@iahomebrew : The toast levels change the level of smokiness in the brew. I prefer the medium and dark toast, as it lends a noticeable, delicious, but not over powering smokey flavor to the beer.

@brew_cat : I never thought about that. I’m not extremely knowledgeable on the changes in the yeast

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