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.