Homebrew Batch #4: 3-Way Cream Stout

I recently tasted a few styles of beer aged in oak.  I loved the rich flavor the oak imparted into the beer.  I also like bourbon.  So I decided to brew an oaked bourbon cream stout for my next homebrew.

The more I thought about a creamy stout, the more I realized it would provide the perfect palette for other flavors like vanilla or espresso.  So I decided to make all three beers out of this batch.  Hence the name—3 Way Cream Stout.  All very innocent...

Yesterday, I brewed the cream stout, which will be my base beer.  After primary fermentation, I'll ferment for 10 days in secondary.  Then I'll add my flavorings into the beer as I bottle. 

I'm considering using a coffee liqueur (instead of espresso) that I bought in Colombia 15 years ago.  It tastes amazing and I think it would meld seamlessly into the stout.

Here are details about the base beer:
  • Style:  Cream Stout
  • Malt Base:  Briess Amber liquid malt extract
  • Specialty Grains:  Flaked Barley, Roasted Barley, Cara-Pils, Crystal 10L 
  • Hops:  Perle 6.9% alpha acid (bittering) 
  • Yeast:  Cooper's Dry Ale

Brew Log:
Jan 2:  Brew day.  I used my home made wort chiller and used it to cool the wort in just 16 minutes!  OG 1.06.   Wort is a very dark brown, almost black.  Based on my calculations, this should be 6.8% ABV and 20 IBU.  My last homebrew (a CDA) was a hoppy beer, so I think this will provide a nice change of pace.  I also started to soak my Makers Mark Bourbon and vanilla extract in my chips.

Jan 3:  Airlock started bubbling.  I like this part.

Jan 4:  Airlock bubbling like crazy.

Jan 8:  Transferred to carboy for secondary fermentation.  Gravity is 1.02.  I'll take a final reading when I bottle.  The roasted malts flavors are coming through, along with coffee and vanilla.  That's strange, I haven't even added the vanilla in yet.

Jan 23:  Bottling day.  I bottled in thee batches to accommodate my three flavorings.  I ended up using oaked vanilla extract, oaked Makers Mark, and a Colombian Coffee Liquer.  The whole process took much longer than it usually does.  FG = 1.022.  I added between 1-3 tablespoons of each.

Feb 2:  First taste.  I cracked open the bourbon version.  I can definitely smell and taste the bourbon.  I also taste coffee and vanilla even though I didn't add those flavorings to this batch.  I expect those flavors are typical of the malts I used.  I think it needs more time to carbonate and to further develop.  I'll try it again in a week.  Overall, the first taste is very promising!

Feb 5:  Tasted the oaked vanilla version.  I over did it on the vanilla extract.  It tastes extract-y.  I was warned not to put in too much and tried to keep it light.  I guess this is a mistake you have to experience to truly appreciate.  Anyway, I expect it will taste better once it ages.  I'll give this at least a few more weeks and try it again.

Does anyone have experience using coffee, espresso, or liqueurs in beer?   I'd appreciate any advice or recommendations.  Thanks!

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