Phantom Banter – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout with Whole Bean Coffee, Vanilla Beans, Cocoa Nibs

If you haven’t been to The Answer Brewpub in Richmond, VA for their beers and Vietnamese cuisine, I suggest you do so… as soon as possible.  The have some fantastic offerings including their line of adjunct stouts that use ingredients such as Kona Coffee beans, hazelnut, maple syrup, toasted coconut, and macadamia nuts.  They are truly out of this world!  My wife tends to shy away from many different styles, but I do have to say she is a fan of a big chewy stout, and when we visited here, she has been asking to go back ever since.  These stouts are different; they remind me more or less of a melted, liquid desert rather than a beer.  After our tour of the beer in Richmond, I decided (along with my wife’s influence) to attempt and brew a batch in honor of An (the owner) and the Answer Brewpub!

A twist on the traditional Imperial Stout brewed with a ton of flaked oats and roasted malts.  I plan to condition this Imperial Oatmeal Stout on vanilla beans, cocoa nibs and whole Indian Monsoon Malabar coffee beans for added complexity on a clean fermenting, dry english ale (house) yeast with German Magnum for bittering and a touch of East Kent Goldings (EKG) for some flavor, then on top of it all I’ll toss it onto some Am. Oak cubes that were soaked in rum.

My timeline is this; after brew day, I will set it into primary fermentation for quite a while, making sure I make a hefty yeast starter well in advance (around 3.5 liters).  The yeast I use for most of my clean fermenting styles does well starting in the mid-60s and then ramping the temperature up slowly over the course of a week or two to finish out around 72-75 degrees to make sure it attenuates well.  At this point, primary fermentation will be far from over, so I will keep the beer sitting on the yeast cake for a few more weeks and transfer it to a secondary fermenter for some bulk aging.  Only after this period of time will I consider adding the adjunct ingredients and sampling frequently until I get the flavor and aroma I desire.

Phantom Banter label 1

Phantom Banter

Recipe Specific (All Grain)
Batch Size (Gal): 6
Total Grain (lbs): 23.3
Anticipated OG: 1.096
Anticipated SRM: 37.5
Anticipated IBU (Calc): 61.5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
Boil Length (min): 120

75.1% 17 lbs 8 oz American 2-row (Breiss) malt
9.9% 2 lbs 5 oz Flaked Oats
4.3% 1 lbs Caramel 60L malt
3.2% 12 oz Black Patent malt
3.2% 12 oz Roasted Barley
2.1% 8 oz Crystal 120L malt
2.1% 8 oz Victory malt

2.0 oz Magnum (13.3%) @ 60 mins
0.75 oz East Kent Goldings (6.6%) @ 15 mins

Additional Components
1 Whirlfloc tablet @ 15 mins
0.5 tsp Wyest Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

White Labs 007 Dry English Ale Yeast (2L Starter)

Water Profile
Bru’n water – Dark full profile

Mash Schedule
Single infusion 75 mins @ 155F

3 days @ 65
3 days @ 68

Bump up to 70F for 2 more weeks on the yeast cake then transfer to a secondary vessel for bulk aging of at least 1 month.

After bulk aging, transfer to 5 gallon bourbon barrel for 2-3 weeks

After bulk conditioning add
8 oz of whole monsoon malabar coffee
3 split and scraped Madagascar vanilla beans
2 oz of cocoa nibs

Condition on adjunct to tast – carb and keg

Tasting Notes for Phantom Banter HERE!







12 Replies to “Phantom Banter – Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout with Whole Bean Coffee, Vanilla Beans, Cocoa Nibs”

    1. I just transferred from the barrel and added the coffee, cacoa, and vanilla soaked in more bourbon. So far I haven’t noticed any bourbon or oak character from the barrel after 3-4 weeks. Will take a sample at the end of the week to see how everything is going


    1. I think it’s one that certainty needs some age to help smooth it out so that maybe the other notes can have a better role. I think it’s going to be a dandy down the road.


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