Double Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter by Denny Conn


  • Eleven (11) pounds of US pale malt (2 row)

  • One and one-half (1-1/2) pounds of British Brown malt

  • Two and one-half (2-1/2) pounds of US Munich malt

  • One (1) pound of US 120L crystal malt

  • One-half (1/2) pound of US 40L crystal malt

  • One-half (1/2) pound of Chocolate malt

  • Three-quarters (3/4) ounce of Magnum hops (bittering)

  • One-half (1/2) ounce of E.K.Goldings hops (flavoring)

  • One (1) teaspoon of Irish moss

  • Wyeast American Ale/Chico 1056

  • One (1) cup of extra light DME

All Grain Brewing:

  1. Approximately three (3) days before brewing, prepare a 1-liter yeast starter.

    See the yeast starters page for further information and instructions on how to prepare a yeast starter.

  2. On brew day, crush the grains and combine them with five and three-quarter (5-3/4) gallons of 167 water, temperature should stabilize at approximately 154. Hold this temperature for sixty (60) minutes.


  3. Sparge (rinse) with two (2) gallons of 170 water and drain sweet liquor into brew kettle.

    "Sparging" is brewing terminology for rinsing. The purpose of the sparge is to allow the remaining sugars in the grains to be washed out into your brew kettle rather than being left behind in the grains. With the nylon hop bag method, I simply pick the bag up with sanitized tongs and pour the sparge water evenly over top of the grains allowing the wort to drain into the kettle. This is not the way all-grain sparges are conducted, but it works well enough for steeped grain brewing.

  4. Add enough liquor to the brew kettle to bring at least six (6) gallons of wort to a boil.

    The more of your total batch size (5 gallons) you can boil the better. This creates a better finished product but requires a larger brew kettle and more sophisticated and efficient wort-cooling techniques. Remember that boiling water will evaporate at the rate of one-half (1/2) gallon every hour keep this in mind to keep your final batch size is as close as possible to your target batch size of five (5) gallons.

  5. Once the liquor reaches a boil, remove the brew kettle from the heat source then stir in the Belgium candy sugar.


  6. Once the candy sugars are thoroughly dissolved into the liquor, return the brew kettle to the heat and resume a boil.

    Boiling may caramelize the extract to some extent and darken the color of the final beer. With certain styles of beer, a lighter color is appropriate or desired. You can obtain a somewhat lighter color in your extract beer several different ways. Using a gentle boil instead of a vigorous one will reduce the risk of caramelization and, therefore, help to ensure a lighter color.

  7. Once the wort is boiling, add Magnum hops for bittering and continue boiling.

    If you are using hop leafs or plugs, a 90 minute boil is necessary to achieve optimum hop bitterness utilization. If you're using hop pellets, only a 60 minute boil is necessary. Again, using a nylon hop bag is probably a good idea.

  8. Add 1 teaspoon of Irish moss and the E.K.Goldings hops for flavoring 10 minutes before the end of the boil.

    The addition of Irish moss is optional but recommended. Actually a dried seaweed, Irish moss is a clarifying agent that works by coagulating loose particles during the final stage of the boil. These particles precipitate out of the beer and are left behind when you siphon the cooled wort from the brew kettle to the primary fermenter, making your beer cleaner and clearer.

  9. Once the boil is complete, remove the brew kettle from the heat source and drop the temperature of the wort as quickly as possible.

    This is where the wort chiller comes in. Little more than a coil of copper tubing, a wort chiller works by drawing the heat from the wort through the copper - a thermal conductor - into the water - another thermal conductor - passing through the chiller. There are two types. The more basic type is called an immersion wort chiller. You simply place an immersion wort chiller in the wort and run water through the chiller. A counter-flow wort chiller is copper tubing covered by a plastic garden hose. This chiller works by allowing the wort to pass through the copper tubing while the cold water runs over the copper in the opposite direction (thus, counter-flow). The counter-flow wort chiller is more expensive but much more effective. An immersion chiller should chill your wort to pitching temperatures in about 15 minutes. A counter-flow chiller will chill the wort in as little as 5 minutes.

  10. Once the wort has cooled to approximately 75 F, siphon the wort into the 6.5-gallon glass carboy primary fermenter, add enough cool water to create at least 5 gallons and take an original gravity reading. Remember to adjust the reading if the temperature of the wort is not 60 F. (See the Hydrometer Temperature Correction chart on the measurements and conversions page.)


  11. Once the wort is at the desired fermentation temperature and a gravity reading has been taken, aerate the wort.

    Aerating the wort is one of the keys to ensuring a strong, healthy fermentation. Shaking the carboy is a relatively ineffective way to accomplish aeration, but it's good enough for the novice brewer with enough on his mind. For more experienced brewers, it is recommended that you purchase some special aeration equipment to achieve this task. For example, I use an aquarium pump with an in-line filter and an aeration stone. I aerate the wort for at least 15 minutes and my fermentations start faster and are more complete. Other brewers oxygenate their beer with a shot of pure oxygen. You need a special tank for oxygenation, but it's quicker and (allegedly) more effective than aeration.


  1. Once the beer has been aerated (or oxygenated), pitch the yeast prepared in the yeast starter (if you've done so).

    You can either pitch the entire yeast starter or gently decant the spent wort and pitch only the yeast slurry. There's no real difference between the methods, but keep in mind that if you're going to pitch the entire starter, it will increase the volume of beer in your primary fermenter accordingly.

  2. After approximately 1 week in the primary fermenter, rack the beer into the 5-gallon glass carboy secondary fermenter and add the remaining one-half (1/2) ounce of Cascade hops.

    The addition of hops to the secondary fermenter is a technique called "dry-hopping" and will add further hop aroma to your finished beer. It is not absolutely necessary to place these hops in a hop bag as they should be left behind in the secondary fermenter when the beer is racked to the bottling bucket.

  3. Allow the beer to finish fermentation in the secondary fermenter for an additional 14 days. Take a final gravity reading to confirm that fermentation is complete.



  1. Once fermentation is complete, the beer is ready to be bottled.


  2. Sanitize all bottles, bottle caps and bottling equipment in preparation for bottling.


  3. When you are ready to bottle, rack the beer very gently from the secondary fermenter into the bottling bucket.


  4. Once all of the beer has been siphoned into the bottling bucket, stir in the DME very gently to make sure it is evenly distributed.

    You may substitute DME instead of corn sugar for priming. To prepare the DME for priming, dissolve it in a pint of water, then boil it for 15 minutes before adding it to your beer. Some homebrewers suggest that you get better conditioning and head retention with the DME instead of the corn sugar but it may impart a very slightly malty flavor to your beer that you don't want. If you're not comfortable using the DME or don't have any extra lying around, feel free to continue using the corn sugar. Personally, I've never had any luck getting good carbonation with DME, so I've stuck with corn sugar.

  5. After the DME (or priming sugar) has been evenly distributed, fill each bottle to within no more than 1-1/2 inches from the top of the bottle, cap the bottle and wipe of any excess spillage.


  6. Once all the beer is bottled, move the bottles back to whatever spot you used for fermentation to allow the beer to condition for at least two weeks.

    Transferring the beer to a refrigerator for another two (2) weeks or so before drinking it will improve the smoothness and clarity of your beer.

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