Suregork Loves Beer

Beer Reviews, Homebrew, Rambling

Homebrew: Adding Oak Cubes and Vanilla to the Nightly Serenade Imperial Porter

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Sorry again for the inactivity, last week I started working at the PBL Brewing Laboratory at VTT, where I will be writing my Master’s Thesis, so have mostly been busy with work. This weekend I thought I’d devote some time for my homebrews, so today I have been preparing some bottles for finally bottling the apple cider I brewed about 6 months ago, which has been bulk aging in a corny keg the last 5 months. Will hopefully have time to bottle it tomorrow. I have tasted it on a couple of occasions during the summer, and it is quite tart, but it is slowly mellowing fortunately. Hopefully it will become enjoyable in the upcoming months.

I also added 50g of French Medium Toast Oak Cubes (which had been soaking in bourbon) and 2 sliced up bourbon vanilla pods to the Nightly Serenade Imperial Porter. I took a gravity sample, and it had fallen to 1.023, giving the beer an ABV of 7.5%. With the bourbon it should rise to about 8%. I tasted the gravity sample, and the beer featured a combination of coffee and dark fruit tones. I think this will need at least a couple of months of maturing to reach its prime.

Took some small taste samples from the Unexpected Predator American IPA and Czech Mate Pilsner as well, which have been in kegs force carbonating and lagering. The IPA had a nice resiny hoppiness with a strong bitterness, coupled with a caramelly maltiness, but I think this will need a couple of weeks of maturing still. I will be bottling the IPA next week. The pilsner was a bit more interesting for me, since I haven’t brewed one before, and it featured lots of grassy and spicy hop flavours, coupled with a bready maltiness, and slight butterscotch tones (which I guess are from diacetyl). I guess I will leave this for 3 more weeks of lagering (it has been lagering for 3 weeks now, giving a total of 6 weeks of lagering).

One Comment

  1. I’ve actually started toasting my own oak. If you are lucky enough to have a link to someone who can supply you with pieces of barrels, you can too!

    There are a number of ways you can toast oak. The idea is to put a light char on the outside, not a heavy charcoal look, just a nice light toasting. Study commercially prepared chips for the right idea. If you have a fireplace, use tongs to roast the fingers in the fire. A burner from a gas stove or camping stove would work as well. I’ve heard that you can do it in an oven at high heat, but I’ve never tried it. I would recommend against using barbecue coals (although a gas one would probably work) since it’s such a smoky heat.

    I prefer to use a propane torch typically used for soldering plumbing. I just sit the bottle on a bench at a fairly low flame (make sure there’s nothing flammable nearby!!!). Using tongs, I toast the oak over the flame. I work slowly at the bit of a distance so that it doesn’t just quick burn but toasts somewhat slowly. When done, the oak should be evenly toasted on all sides..

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