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Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains


SKU# U1600

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Brew Master Craig"Bourbon Barrel Porter is unquestionably my go-to winter brew; it is the perfectly warming ale for cold Minnesota winter nights. The invitingly warm zing of Bourbon couples with rich layers of oak, vanilla, and velvety roast to help melt away the creeping cold like a cozy quilt, while bready and toasty malts round out the flavors for a surprisingly easy sipping beer. Although it can be brewed and consumed in a few short weeks, I like to brew this in the spring or summer and allow it mellow and age for a few months, if not longer. Bringing several aged bottles to family get togethers is always appreciated, and it’s invariably the highlight of the gathering. Brew this one now and age it all year for a marvelous treat for next year’s holiday season." -Craig Blum

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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
217 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Stars
Probably the best porter I’ve had
I think this is my favorite recipe from NB. I’m not even a big fan of porters and stouts, but this is the perfect balance of sweet, smoky, and roasty.
December 11, 2017
3 months ago
Used Rum instead of Bourbon
The first two batches I followed the directions and used Bourbon. I've brewed two more batches since using Rum and I like it better. The Rum I used was Antigua Rum. I discovered this rum while on a cruise in the Eastern Caribbean.
November 13, 2017
7 months ago
Awesome brew
This was only my 3rd brew. The process was easy and I have been excited to try it. Cracked one open after about 3 1/2 weeks in the bottle and man I gotta say it's amazing. My favorite by far!
October 26, 2017
4 months ago
Fantastic brew
Fantastic brew. Complex flavors of oak and bourbon come through perfect. Don't serve cold. This one is better at cellar temperature to let the flavors come out.
October 16, 2017
9 months ago
Awsome Brew.
I have brewed this beer twice now and it is fantastic beer. It definitely is a beer to pour into a nice brandy sniffer as shown. Black as coal and smooth as silk. Just swirl, smell and sip it. Not one to drink down fast. Just too darn good for that!!
September 25, 2017
1 year ago
Three Cheers--and More
This is my second batch and I love it. My friends do, too.
August 4, 2017
9 months ago
Fantastic Porter!
I brewed this to serve at a neighborhood pub crawl with other homebrewers in the 'hood, and it was a runaway hit! I will definitely be brewing this again. I ended up soaking the oak cubes for several days in Maker's Mark, instead of 1 or 2 as the instructions suggest. I'm not sure if it made any difference, but the beer was very smooth and the alcohol content was very high (I didn't get a measurement). Highly recommended!
July 21, 2017
8 months ago
This is the first time I decided to deviate from the recipe. Got this kit for $20 shipped along with a stout, so I decided to save the chips for the stout. After fermentation and before kegging, I dropped a cup of butterscotch toffee coffee in it for about 8 hours. WOW. I have enjoyed each pint more and more. I missed my SG, so it's a cool 5% - very poundable - and has a tremendous scent and finish. I will absolutely order this again!
July 11, 2017
9 months ago
A Fantastic Beer!
My 11th 5-gallon kit. Threw in a pound of amber Belgian candi sugar for an ABV boost. Gravity came out low: 1.060. Pitched 2 packs of Windsor. Bubbled like mad for one day (counted 120 BPM), then slowed down to 3 BPM the next day...which was unusual . Gravity sample after 2 weeks showed a stuck fermentation at 1.027. Threw in another packet of Winsor to no effect. Threw in a packet of Nottingham and got it down to 1.018. Stuck fermentation resulted in a 28-day primary. After racking to secondary, let it sit for 2 weeks. Soaked 1 oz of oak cubes in 16 oz of Jim Beam for 3 days. Poured it all in and bottled after 17 days, for a 31-day secondary. Been in bottles for 8 weeks now. VERY pleased with the result! Very smooth, very drinkable, great chocolate and roast notes. My only regret...You can smell the Bourbon, you can taste it, you can feel a nice Bourbony warmth, but in relation to the oak, it’s a little too oakey. Next time I brew this up (and there WILL be a next time :-), think I might use less oak, maybe 0.75 oz....or more Bourbon :-)
July 5, 2017
9 months ago
Waiting in anticipation
It's in the second fermentation process as we speak. Smells great and will post photos soon.
June 22, 2017
6 months ago
Start typing your question and we'll check if it was already asked and answered. Learn More
Browse 28 questions Browse 28 questions and 82 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.
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: For many reasons I couldn't brew for quite a while after purchasing the Bourbon Barrel Porter kit, and was worried about the yeast, however taking the chance that it would be ok I went ahead with it and I will say after only 3 tastings it is quite possibly the best beer I've ever had. Saving it and letting it set for awhile the first first sample was at bottling the second was about 4 weeks after and the 3rd was about 3 weeks after that. Going to let it age for another month or 2 & try again...no doubt in my mind I will do this again.
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
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%
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!
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.
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'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 recommend full boil for all extract with gain kits. It allows complete hop utilization in the total wort and ensures you have started with a full sanitary wort.
The directions do not specify when to add the liquid malt. This could be confusing for new brewers. I recommend you update the instructions. Is it when you add the DME?
A shopper on Oct 21, 2017
Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains
Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit w/ Specialty Grains
Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit
Bourbon Barrel Porter Extract Kit
BEST ANSWER: Hi there, it does say in the instructions to add it at 15 minutes, along with .5 oz of US Goldings hops. It is under step 5, second bullet point. Hope that helps! Cheers!
Has anyone tried cherry purée in this kit? Someone said they were going to eliminate the oak chips and use cherries. I have 4lb of black cherry frozen purée and can't decide whether to do this bourbon porter or a chocolate cherry stout. Any help would be appreciated
A shopper on Jul 13, 2017
BEST ANSWER: A bourbon cherry sounds awesome! I used Irish Whiskey in place of bourbon, and added chocolate and coffee so far. Each is better than the last. Good luck!
I came up with an OG of 1.090! I brewed this kit before and did get around 1.072. After reading the 1.090 I rinsed the measuring flask and took a new sample with the same result. I go through extra steps to get every possible ounce of fermantables (I rinse the grain bag with boiling water over the wort, I use hot water to get all extract from containers, etc.. ) Is 1.090 possible without any extra additions? My wort temp was 70 F at sample.
Scott W on Apr 23, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Extract style kits are so dialed in that it is pretty much impossible to be more than 5 or 10 points off if the volume is right. Especially if you boil half the batch volume then top up with cold water, that can lead to stratification and an inaccurate sample, and that can easily happen over and over again until the suagrs dissolve completely and evenly. I would assume the target OG if at the right volume.
I'm a novice Mead maker and would like to attempt a braggot with this kit. I have a fermentation bucket, carboy and airlocks. Is there any additional equipment I will need for this?
A shopper on Jan 6, 2017
BEST ANSWER: I would think you are good to go. I have made the White House Honey Porter Kit many times. From my limited knowledge of what you are asking, basically I think you are going to be adding Honey to this kit. In that case yes your equipment should work. Note that this kit will need your fermentation stuff to be 5-6 gallons. Good luck!
I have both the dry ale yeast and the liquid Scottish ale yeast. Any downside is using both?
M C on Jun 17, 2016
BEST ANSWER: Pitching two strains into the same often yields unpredictable results. Sometimes one yeast will dominate the fermentation, other there will be flavor characteristics of both, and other times they can combine to create a third kind of thing. As far as fermentation goes, the wort will turn into beer, but it would be an experiment as far as flavor is concerned.
I'm in the last stage, 10 days with the bourbon and chips, and the beer is still fermenting, about one bubble per 30 secs. Should I let it go and wait till fermentation stops before bottling?
Edward K on Mar 25, 2016

That is probably just residual co2 coming out of solution. Typically there is very little or no actual fermentation that occurs in secondary. If you want to be sure, take a gravity reading. When the SG holds steady for 3 days, you can bottle safely.



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