View Full Version : Best Bourbon to Compliment a Stout (and Kentucky Common)

10-04-2009, 22:32
I love bourbon, and I love beer, and the two together with the right mixture is just awesome. I have an Extra Stout that is fantastic, and I am going to do a mock "bourbon barrel" with it very soon, which involves soaking a few ounces of oak chips in a little bit of bourbon and tossing into the fermenter after fermentation has taken place. Eventually I plan to brew a handful of big batches and buy a bourbon barrel and do the real deal, but you have to start small first.

Now, do you all have any suggestions as to what would be a good bourbon to compliment and nice flavorful, full bodied stout? It's 7-7.5% ABV, and has a nice roasty, chocolate flavor (produced by chocolate malt, not actual chocolate, so it's subdued). It has a fair amount of bitterness for a Stout, but I think it all balances out just right. A BJCP judge gave it a 43/50, saying it needed a little more body and head retention. Any ideas on a bourbon? My only rule is try to keep it under $40 (Hancocks Reserve is $30 here, if anyone is thinking that), unless there is one that would just go fantastic with it that is more. This will also be a nice excuse to buy another bottle to drink on. I will only be using maybe 6oz of it for the beer.

Also, while we are on the topic, I've been brewing Kentucky Commons, and I am going to do a bourbon barrel version of that as well. It is a very unique beer. I do a sour mash by mashing normally for 24 hours. The beer has hints of sourness, chocolate, nuts, and caramel. I feel like this might be awesome bourbon barrel, or just be too much of the same flavors. We'll see.

I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.

10-07-2009, 05:17
well, right up to the point when you put a price limit I was thinking stagg. thats not entirely true, I'm still thinking stagg.


10-07-2009, 05:58
I'm afraid the price point is the issue for me as well. Stagg is a good recommendation, though I happened to be thinking of WL Weller when I was reading your post. The point is, the bourbon should be robust enough to shine through the maltiness of the stout, so think "strong" would be my suggestion. Perhaps Booker's would work out well for you, as it too has strong flavor but would add enough sweetness and a hint of toasted nuts that would compliment the Extra Stout. In any event, let us know what you eventually choose and how the experiment works out. Good luck!

10-07-2009, 10:50
As much as I would love to get Stagg, I don't think I can afford it, or even rationalize the purchase. It might be cheaper at other liquor stores (need to check around), but the one I work at it's $69. Some things are good deals there, some aren't. Too bad I only get 5% off.

What WL Weller were you thinking? The main bourbons I've noticed over $50 are the Four Roses barrel strengths and Stagg, and a barrel strength rye I forget the name. Mainly bottles we just recently got in.

I feel like something that is too much proof would create too much strong alcohol notes in the beer, which is not good. A good high abv beer hides it well. I do however want a strong bold bourbon flavor. Don't higher proofs and bold flavor usually go together though? So maybe a compromise?

Sorry I'm new to the good bourbon world. I appreciate the help though.

10-08-2009, 22:32
I am kinda thinking Four Roses Single Barrel or Small Batch. It's not too expensive, and I could get those barrels with ease. How do you think that might be?

People are welcome to bottles of my brew to try. Either meet/pickup or pay for shipping costs (or trade or something) but the beer will be free.