Today, I thought I’d try my hand at the Oaked Imperial Whiskey Stout in my down time between shoveling the snow that blizzard Stella brought.
Stout was first derived as a stronger or “stout” version of a porter. But what makes a stout “imperial?” Now-a-days, it simply implies a stout with a higher ABV, about 9% or above.
The term was first popularized by a London Brewery shipping beer to the Russian court of Catherine II during the 18th century. They desired to make a formidable beer that would withstand the strenuous journey from London, through Baltic Ports, and all the way to the Russian courts.
I’m starting to get my brewing routine down now. But I did have my first boil over today. I thought I caught it in time by turning off the heat, but I did not. I spent hours cleaning the stove and now it all looks like new, except one part which will be soaking overnight in hot water and baking soda. For fun, though, I decided to chill my wort in the snow outside.
Now, unfortunately, I currently don’t have a bourbon/ whiskey barrel at my disposal so I need to cheat a little to achieve the same oaked whiskey flavorings in my beer. To do this, I will be using French Oak Wood Chips soaked in whiskey. I’ll let the chips soak for about a week, while the beer is fermenting and then I will add the chips and whiskey into the beer to sit for another week or so.
This method allows for more versatility. I chose wood chips over wood cubes because the chips are toasted more in unison and leech into the beer quicker than cubes. I selected French Oak over American Oak due to its cinnamon flavoring verses the American’s vanilla taste.
You can select any bourbon or whiskey to use. I’m actually still deciding on a whiskey to utilize. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment below.
As a reminder, sanitize the wood prior to slipping it in your beer. Some people believe that the alcohol content of the bourbon is enough to kill off any unwanted bugs, but others are more cautious. I suggest covering the chips in just enough water in a microwaveable container, microwaving it until the water boils, letting it steam the chips for two minutes in the closed microwave and repeating this process twice. Use your judgement and do what feels comfortable to you.