The Rollin’ Barrel Bourbon Porter had been in bottle conditioning for two weeks and I decided to refrigerate one and have a taste. I had previously posted that the taste test on bottling day revealed a strong alcohol heat. Too much and I thought that carbonation and refrigeration would moderate it. Well it didn’t. And as I was drinking the beer, I started second guessing whether what I was tasting was indeed an overbearing bourbon alcohol heat or if it was an astringency. But I wasn’t sure. I had tasted the batch prior to racking to secondary and adding the bourbon and oak chips and didn’t taste anything similar to that. So I’m a bit stumped because I added the same amount of bourbon, concentration wise, as the first time I brewed it years ago. That first batch came out beautifully. However there are some differences between the two batches.
Bourbon: Then- used Jim Beam Black label, now- used Jim Beam white label (I find it hard to believe that would make a difference)
Oak chips: Then- used 2 oz of untoasted chips that I toasted myself in the oven, now- used 4oz heavy toasted chips, already toasted when bought. (So I used twice the amount this time and it was a different product, but I used the same amount and same chip product in my 2B’s bourbon ale recently and the beer came out great)
Chips in bourbon soak time: Then – 4 days, now- 7 days
Time in secondary: Then- 4 days, now- 7 days
I wouldn’t think that any of these differences alone would make such a jarring difference or maybe there’s a cumulative effect going on. However, I’m stumped and a bit disappointed. If any of you out there have any suggestions or thoughts, I’d love to hear it.
UPDATE: I had told my girlfriend Erika about the issue with my porter over the past few days, but she hadn’t tasted it yet. So when she came home last night, I had a glass poured. I told her that this was the troubled porter. I said, “Give this a taste and just tell me your first thought about it.” She took a sip and said, “Wood.” So the verdict: The oak chips (too many, maybe too heavily toasted, soaked for too long). Next time I’m just going to mimic to a T what I did during the first batch I made that I loved so much.