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Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains


SKU# U1600

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Bourbon barrel-aged beers have been a hugely popular style ever since their inception in the early '90s by American craft brewers. By starting with a stronger-than-average robust porter, then infusing it with Bourbon-soaked oak (we recommend Maker's Mark), the end result is quite possibly the best beer ever.

Recommended: 2-stage fermentation and yeast starter.

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Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains

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  • Bourbon Barrel Porter Kit Extract w/ Specialty Grains
Product Details
Bourbon barrel-aged beers have been a hugely popular style ever since their inception in the early '90s by American craft brewers. By starting with a stronger-than-average robust porter, then infusing it with Bourbon-soaked oak (we recommend Maker's Mark), the end result is quite possibly the best beer ever. You'll have to supply your own bourbon - save a little to sip on brew day to really capture the spirit. The intense aroma and flavor of toasted American oak and the sweet graininess of good bourbon meld with the bittersweet roastiness of porter to make for a very characterful beer. Recommended: 2-stage fermentation and yeast starter.
Additional Information
Beer Kit Yield5 Gallons
Recipe and InstructionsClick Here for Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit Brewing Instructions
Regional StyleUSA
Original Gravity1065
Total Time to Make2 months
4.7 / 5.0
230 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
Consistently good
I've made this a few times and it's consistently good. This last time I didn't get as much of the oak flavor, but perhaps I didn't soak the chips in the bourbon long enough. But each time I make it - it doesn't sit around long!
April 23, 2018
7 months ago
Brewing this again by popular demand
I made this in spring of 2017 and didn't touch it until Thanksgiving. It was very good then, but I let it rest a few more months and it improved dramatically at the one year mark. I've got two bombers left that I have hidden until they hit the two year mark. My original thought was that I enjoyed it, but I'd make something else in the same type just for the sake of doing something different. But everyone who's had it have downright insisted that I make this again.
April 20, 2018
1 year ago
Love it
Love this beer. Just getting done making 55 gallons. My buddy sent me a 55 gallon Bib and Tucker bourbon barrel. I am going to try barrel aging it. Wish me luck.
April 11, 2018
1 month ago
To much carbonation.
This beer tasted good , butSomething went wrong. The beer became hyper carbonated, several bottles exploded. The beer would foam out of the bottle just like in a World Series celebration beer fight.
March 12, 2018
1 year ago
Response from Northern Brewer
Thanks for the review. We will have a brewmaster contact you to troubleshoot your bottle bombs and discuss our kit guarantee The main cause of this is when the beer isn't fully fermented and the yeast have too much sugar to consume in the bottles. There is an infection that could also cause that (often called "The Gusher") but it is tough to say from the info we have.
March 13, 2018
Todd J Staff
Excellent beer, but use a blow off tube!
I made this beer and woke up in the morning to find the lid had blown off. I was able to save it, and the beer was incredible. Wonderful flavor, and everyone loved it. Therefore, I thought I ought to make it again. This time, however, I used a blow off tube just to be safe. Even then the lid came up a little, and I have a mess. It's a great beer, and I highly recommend it, but I also highly recommend a blow off tube, and being able to watch it during the first 24 hours. Can't attach short video of after clean up, because it's not on youtube, but changed the tube, lid, and jar of sanitized water. Still vigorously fermenting.
March 4, 2018
2 months ago
Great beer, well worth the wait
This is a phenomenol recipe. Takes a long time but it is well worth it. Would recommend using a brown sugar as primer... really highlights the bourbon.
February 22, 2018
5 months ago
Love it. Used Knob Creek instead of Makers Mark and all the oak cubes.
February 7, 2018
4 months ago
Dark dark, sweet smell and bourbon I used a bottle of 750ml bourbon Makers Mark and all the cubes yum,yum.
Just bottled smelled and tasted great even though still flat can't wait until it is ready will definitely purchase again.
January 30, 2018
5 months ago
Not what I had hoped for..
I had high hopes for this one as I am a Huge fan of Maker’s Mark and bourbon beers. Went in Primary 2 weeks and secondary for 4 soaked cubes for two days then put in secondary for two weeks and it’s been in the bottle for almost 4 weeks. I have tried a few bottles and it has way too much oak to the point that that is all you taste I you don’t get any bourbon coming through just oak. I strongly recommend using less cubes by at least half.
January 25, 2018
6 months ago
Bourbon Barrel Porter
This is probably the worst beer ever brewed ! Makers Mark is the worst choice to use . I love oaked beers but this was bad even after ageing two years. Very dry ,over powering whiskey, and oak could be reduced in half . If I were going to brew it again I would use Buffalo Trace or Cody Road Bourbon and half the oak.
January 24, 2018
1 year ago
Response from Northern Brewer
We are sorry to hear that you disliked your beer. This sounds like a case for the kit guarantee so Customer Service will be in touch.
January 25, 2018
Todd J Staff
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 36 questions Browse 36 questions and 102 answers
I brewed two weeks ago. Fermentation seemed very slow. Temp of my wort when I pitched was 70 degrees (dropped really quick). I placed my primary in the same location I do for all my brews, typically around 60 to 66 degrees. After a week, I moved to my boiler room. Temp there averages 64 to 68 degrees. Absolutely no more CO2. I even cracked the lid to stir up (very carefully) the yeast back into suspension. Worried I brewed a non-alcoholic brew. Anyone else have similar experience with this?
K E on Feb 17, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Have you taken a SG? My final on that brew was 1.020, IG was 1.07 vs. the target of 1.065 (I had less than 5 gal in the fermenter). You might have to pitch additional yeast, not uncommon with high alcohol brews.
On a side note, I'm somewhat disappointed in the brew but think it is the fault of my water. I cannot taste the bourbon - but found after brewing that our water system had increased the chlorine content quite a bit. I think that screwed up a chocolate milk stout, too.
What is the ABV of this beer?
B Z on Jan 9, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Using this calculator (http://www.brewersfriend.com/abv-calculator/) and my OG of 1.07 and FG of 1.02, I get 6.56% - BEFORE adding the 16 oz of Makers Mark. The Makers is 45% ABV, so I replaced 16 oz of 6.6% ABV with the Makers. The net addition of alcohol was 16x.45 - 16x.066, or 6.1 oz.

Alcohol content in the 5 gal batch was 640x.066=42.2oz.
With the Makers, it is now 48.3 oz.

Thus the new ABV = 48.3/640=7.5%
Out of the drop down yeast options, is more money "better" yeast? I just brewed the Irish Red as my first and want to try this. I'm unsure about the yeast, thanks.
A shopper on Jan 8, 2017
BEST ANSWER: How you manage the yeast is more important than the selection, especially if you are new to brewing. The Wyeast or dry yeast (for summer brewing) will both be fine. With a higher gravity beer, the yeast starter process will help get the most complete fermentation. If you like the recipe, try the Omega yeast when you brew it in the future and see if it makes a difference.
Jim Miller
Do I really have to rehydrate the dry yeast or shall I just sprinkle it on the wort once its temp is 78F?
A shopper on Dec 19, 2016
BEST ANSWER: This recipe happens to be my favorite of all! I recommend following the instructions for the best results. Rehydrating the yeast makes it all the more potent. And since this beer will be fermenting longer than most, you will want to start with the strongest yeast possible. CHEERS!
I made this beer on Friday and use fast pitch, the first day, the second day was very strong as yeast work but today on the third day there is no activity no bubbles, Did I do something wrong?
Humberto H on Apr 30, 2017
BEST ANSWER: If you have a hydrometer or refractometer you can take a gravity test to know for sure if it is done. Without one of those two tools you do not know. Bucket lids are not always an airtight seal so this causes the airlock not to bubble. If you crack the bucket open and look inside you should see either krausen (foam) or krausen ring around the bucket just above the beer level. These are both signs that fermentation is or has happened.
Is it absolutely necessary to siphon from the primary fermentation bucket to a secondary bucket? Or can I just leave it in the primary fermentation bucket for another 3 weeks for the secondary fermentation period?
robert m on Feb 2, 2017
BEST ANSWER: For a brew involving addition of ingredients after primary fermentation, like this one, most homebrewers will use a secondary fermenter. The broader question of need for secondary is a subject of debate. Some brewers say one should never exceed 3 weeks in the primary fermenter. Others say longer primary is not an issue. You can find plenty of discussion on various brewer forums. See for example http://forum.northernbrewer.com/t/secondary-ferment-vesel/21376/4
Will I need a yeast starter if I choose the recommended Omega Scottish?
A shopper on Mar 29, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I didn't. It took right off. Turned out quite well. Very smooth, ages very nicely.
How to best age my Bourbon Barrel Porter? I want to age my BBP for at least 8 months and was wondering what is best. I have plastic buckets, a glass carboy and soda kegs. I was thinking that the soda keg with the air purged out would be best but was worried that the steel may change flavors and glass my be better. Thanks
barry S on Mar 16, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I aged mine in my secondary fermentation vessel which is a glass Carboy for 2 months before carbonating in my soda keg. I get excited to drink it so I get a little impatient..... lol. It’s a great beer and I’ve made it a few times, I soak my oak chips with makers mark bourbon.
I am very excited to brew this beer. My Question: I do not own a secondary fermenter, and I was hoping to give some of the beer away as a gift roughly 5 weeks after brewing. Is this enough time, and will it be OK without a secondary fermenter? I see that it says "recommended" but it is also not necessary.
A shopper on Jun 6, 2017
BEST ANSWER: A secondary fermenter is almost never necessary, but you usually get a higher quality product in the end if you use one. Switching to the second fermenter also gives you the opportunity to put the oak cubes/bourbon/other additives in without worrying about adding too much volume to your fermenter. 5 weeks may be pushing it depending on how much extra malt or sugars you add to the recipe and what kind of yeast you use. Remember, it will take a week or more for the bottles to carbonate properly if you intend to bottle. Lastly, I usually let this recipe sit for 4 to 5 months and age; it tends to be quite harsh at first but mellows out well.
Anyone tried Irish whiskey instead of bourbon? I'm thinking of buying this kit and trying Jameson or Tullamore Dew.
Brian C on Mar 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I've spoken with several customers who have used Jameson instead of Bourbon and thought it was amazing. I am not a huge whiskey fan, so when I've made this kit, I used a neutral spirit like vodka and my family and friends were raving over it. Just remember that you can add as much or as little bourbon you want. It can be tuned specifically to your palate. Cheers!
Will the omega british ale viii be a good yeast option? I have some being used on a stout, was going to wash it and when ready make a starter and pitch into this...
Matthew M on Mar 19, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I honestly don’t know as I have not used any Omega yeasts yet. The first time I made this kit (Oct 2012) I used Wyeast 1728 Scottish ale yeast, which made a very standard porter. When I made it in Nov 2015, I used White labs WLP070 Bourbon Yeast which is no longer available from this site. That gave it a richer profile and complimented the bourbon. I think the key to this porter kit is what type of bourbon you use. Do you want the yeast to stand out or blend in? The description of the omega British ale viii says Ales produced with this strain tend to be fruity.
FYI. The second time I made this the secondary was steeped with coffee beans and coco nibs. The bourbon was added at the end of a week. It was tons more interesting than the first time I made it.
I’ve been home brewing for 10 years.
Would you be able to bottle this into growlers, instead of just using 12 oz. bottles?
A shopper on Feb 28, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I put it into 32 oz. bottles so I don't know why you couldn't use growlers instead. Having said that, my plans for my current batch of double IPA is that I'm going to experiment with putting some in growlers. I'll know more on how it turns out in about 3 - 4 weeks. Cheers....
I'm in the process of finishing the first fermentation. I was reading the instructions getting ready to siphoning the beer from one bucket to the other. I read online that transferring to another bucket isn't necessary and poses a risk for contamination. My question is, can I leave the beer in the same fermenter for another 2-3 weeks before adding the oak chips or is it necessary to siphon the beer from the primary fermentation bucket to the other?
robert m on Jan 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I feel that 2nd fermentation should be transferred to a glass carboy or big mouth bubbler. It adds a lot to the clarity of the beer. There is a risk but you just need to sanitize everything really well and try not to shake things up and add additional oxygen to it. I have a small Co2 cartridge and always give it a little squirt to eliminate any oxygen in the head space of the carboy just before putting the air lock on it. but there is still enough off gassing going on in the 2nd stage you will be just fine. Do it in glass if you can if not go with the bucket. But it helps and is worth it. Enjoy, that was a good beer. Make sure you get a bourbon you enjoy the flavor of as you will be tasting its flavor in the beer!
Does this kit come with everything I need ? I'm buying this as a gift for my boyfriend. It will be his first time doing an at home brew. Do I need anything else with this kit ? TIA
A shopper on Nov 28, 2016
BEST ANSWER: The kit has all the ingredients as long as you also include the yeast. Since he's just starting, I would get the dry yeast option as that's a bit easier to work with. If he is going to bottle the beer, he will also need the priming sugar, although table sugar works fine.

Since you mention this is his first time doing a home brew, the other issue is equipment. If you click on the instructions under additional information it will detail the equipment you need. Basically, you will need a few more things than common kitchen equipment. The Essential Brewing Starer Kit (below) has pretty much everything to get started other than a kettle/pot to boil the liquid and empty bottles to put the finished beer in. If he already has an aluminum or stainless steel pot, like a stock pot, that will hold at least 3 to 4 gallons that's fine (the bigger the better).

You need about 48 12 oz bottles (the kind that require a bottle opener, not the kind that you twist off). You can buy those too but I'm philosophically opposed to buying empty beer bottles when you can buy full ones and empty them yourself.
Essential Homebrew Starter Kit
Essential Homebrew Starter Kit
I've made this before and loved it. I agree with the majority of y'all the longer it ages the better it is. My question is this has anyone tried a coffee addition to this? If so how much coffee did you use and was it during the book or secondary fermentation? I figured combining the three greatest beverages beer, coffee, and bourbon you can't really go wrong
C L on Jan 10, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I haven't tried this, but I have sure thought about it! A buddy of mine recently did a coffee stout, and did it a little different than I had ever heard or seen: He just brewed 1 full pot of REALLY strong dark coffee (Star Bucks something - said it was their darkest version). He took the whole pot, boiled his priming sugar in it, added that to the bottling bucket, and that was it. Super simple, and turned out GREAT! Either way, can you post to NB what you try, and how it turns out? Good luck!
I started soaking the oak in some Makers Mark. Brewing got delayed for about a month. I went to add the oak chips AND THEY'RE GONE! They disintegrated into the bourbon! Should I just throw all the whiskey in the secondary?
A shopper on Jan 3, 2018
BEST ANSWER: I have made this kit three times. Every time ended up with a great end result. Each time I changed it a little bit. Added vanilla bean twice to secondary. A cup and a half of Makers Mark to secondary once. Great each time . (Aged in bottles about 9 month's). I would assume if you add your Bourban /oak mix to secondary probably still ok but going to be a much stronger oak flavor.
The instructions for the Bourbon Barrel Porter call for the addition of the DME at the beginning of the boil...which is normal...but for adding the 6.3 pounds of LME 15 minutes before the end of the boil. I have never added the LME so late in the boil. So, I just want to get confirmation from someone experienced with this kit/recipe that the LME should be added that late in the boil? Thanks.
A shopper on Dec 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Thanks Charles. I did follow the directions and I am now in secondary for 2-1/2 weeks. Getting ready to add bourbon soaked oak chips. So It will be a few more weeks of secondary, bottling and bottle conditioning. A comment on another question indicated that this beer is quite harsh when fresh and is much better after being allowed to age (for 4 or 5 months I think he said). What is your experience on this?
I'm brewing this tomorrow, and I'm thinking about doing a full boil, any reason why I shouldn't?
jesse d on Dec 17, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I always do a full boil. Just make sure you have a big enough brew pot and watch it carefully so you don'get get a boil-over. Best of luck, this is my favorite brew. I hope you enjoy it!
Do I have to transfer the beer from one car boy to another for the secondary fermentation? I've been reading some forums and some have said it's not necessary and is a risk for contamination that is not needed.
A shopper on Jan 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: It is not absolutely necessary. However with the proper sanitized equipment it would be beneficial to transfer to secondary to avoid any unwanted off flavors from the beer sitting on the yeast cake for several weeks. I found it also helpful to take a propane torch to the Oak cubes to give it a little extra smoky flavor. It turned out a fabulous.
Just put mine to keg after a flawless brew/fermentation -- times/temps/numbers all rang in where they should be. Prepped a yeast starter and had a strong fermentation through out the primary, subtle activity in the secondary. I used Bulliet Bourbon for the soak/addition. Surprised my ABV is only right around 5%.... would have anticipated higher. Is this within an expected range?
J K on Nov 25, 2015
BEST ANSWER: I ended up at 6.4% after adding a pint & a half of Wild Turkey 101 with the chips and a couple vanilla beans. It came out of the secondary at 5.9% before the bourbon. You could have had some temperature issues during fermentation. I was able to keep mine between 66-68 throughout.Your starter could?ve been too young or small. I now use a 1600ml starter at 48+ hours. For this brew I only used a vail of Wyeast 2565 Kolsch yeast, not a starter. 5% is not too far off. I will be brewing this again and will add a pound of Golden Light DME and a pound of corn sugar to up the ABV. I have better luck with dry yeast in a starter of 4 1/2 pints water, 8 ounces of Golden Light DME and 1/4 tsp Wyeast yeast nutrient. After a 20 minute boil I end up with 1600ml. This should give substantially more ABV. Also, instead of using the chips I will age mine in a used bourbon barrel for the secondary.
What is the sanitation process when prepping/adding the wood cubes and bourbon?
W I on Nov 25, 2015
BEST ANSWER: If you soak the cubes in the bourbon

the alcohol of the bourbon will sanitize the wood.
OG was 1.073 and 2-1/2 weeks later it's stuck at 1.032. I used the recommended dry yeast with a liter of starter @66 deg. Had real lively bubble action in less than 24 hrs. which slowed down after 3 or 4 days and by the end of a week pretty much stopped. I figured all was good till I measured gravity. Not certain what to do now, if anything?
Gary G on Feb 7, 2018
BEST ANSWER: If this is being checked with a refractometer, it may just be that the number needs to be re-calculated to allow for the alcohol in the sample. Use a refractometer calculator to figure the correct current gravity, if this is the case. Check the gravity with a hydrometer, see if it is actually at that high number. If it is, I'd try warming it some, or adding some yeast energizer.
Do you recommend sticking to or increasing more than the recipe-specified 16oz of bourbon?
Justin G on Jan 8, 2018
BEST ANSWER: The bourbon isn't in your face at 16 oz, it kind of provides a nice background. I'v brewed this three times, and I've kicked the bourbon up a notch each time. I imagine I will add about 12 oz more in my next batch.
what would be a good choice of liquid yeast for this?
A shopper on Mar 15, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I've always used 2 or 3 packs of the Danstar dry yeast not rehydrated and had great results. Finished 3rd in state fair. I use 3 cups of old Barton bourbon and soak the cubes in it for 2 weeks. Sorry I'm no help with Liquid Yeast.
How can I tell a beers alcohol content when ordering from your website? Thanks
T M on Jul 17, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I don't think you can. Alcohol content is determined by the difference in original and final gravities. You will find a calculator here: www.brewersfriend.com/abv-calculator. My OG was 1.07, FG was 1.02, which gives an abv of 6.6%. However, adding the 16 oz of 90 proof bourbon increases the abv to 7.5%.

I was initially disappointed in this brew, but it matured wonderfully. I think it needs to be in the bottle at least 4 months before it really is outstanding.

I will be brewing it again soon for the coming winter. And I will not use Maker's again - that was likely a waste of excellent sour mash!
How how do I leave the bottles aging at room temperature before I put them in a fridge to age? Also, is it bad to let it age in the second fermenter for 2-3 weeks and then add the bourbon chips for another 3 weeks and then bottle after that?
Matthew W on May 30, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I followed the instruction sheet and conditioned at room temp for 2 weeks before chilling a few bottles and tasting. Most of my bottles are still at room temp; I chill only when I'm ready for some cool ones. I don't have a spare refrig, or would put them all in.
Steps 18 and 19 on the recipe call for 2-3 weeks in secondary; once there it can stay as long as you want. Mine was in secondary on 11/25, and I did not add the bourbon soaked chips until 1/2. Then bottled two weeks later on 1/16.
One problem I have with this brew, and with several others, is under-carbonation. There is a video on NB about using their priming sugar calculator (https://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator), which I was unaware of at the time. I will certainly do that on my next brew.
Will this yield 5 gallons
M I on Feb 29, 2016
BEST ANSWER: I think I recall getting just short of that. I filled about 45 beer bottles.
What's everyone getting for Attenuation? I finished really high (before adding bourbon).

OG 1.066
FG 1.030

That's only about 54%... Making 4.7% abv

I pitched some rehydrated dry yeast yesterday and have no activity. Does this really finish this high?
A M on Jan 23, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Greeting!

If you are still having trouble with your fermentation you can give us a call anytime!
I have this Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit but for some reason I don't have any of the yeasts that they recommend. I do have a dry lager yeast. Could I use that and ferment as a lager? I also have a liquid Irish Ale yeast. Would that be better or should I stick to the recipe and go get the right yeast? Any input would be great. Thanks. R.Brosnan
Robert B on Dec 28, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I would stick with the suggested yeast.. a lot going on with this beer!
I brewed this about 6-8 months ago and it will not carbonate. It has alcohol in it for sure and great taste but no carbonation. I'm scared to add sugar or more yeast and create bombs. any suggestions?
A shopper on Dec 24, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Try adding carbonation tablets. Try it with a couple of bottles first to see how it goes and if it works add the same amount of tablets to the rest .
Coopers Carbonation Drops
Coopers Carbonation Drops

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