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Fortified Beer?

I’m not necessarily a wine hater, I just don’t get it. I mean, I had a wine tasting phase where I at least learned what kind of wine I liked, but never went beyond that. One thing I do like is port. So while thinking about port I got the idea, why not beer?

So for a quick background, port is made in Portugal on the Oporto River. Basically, you start with a table wine, and in the middle of the fermentation, add brandy to the wine. Now, pour that into a barrel, and in 20 years, you have port. Seems simple, right?

Now one of the fun aspects of home brewing is trying new things, but this one has a bit of an investment tied to it. Here’s my problem; I don’t have a barrel to age it in, don’t have room for the barrel and don’t have the patience to wait 20 years for something that could possibly be quite terrible, and I don’t mean in a bad is good kind of way.

So while I don’t see myself trying this anytime soon, here is my what my brain came up with. Start a nice, malty, overly hopped barleywine. Basically, go big, and when you think it’s big enough, go a little bigger. When the fermentation is about half way done, douse it with some bourbon. Then, get this new concoction into a bourbon barrel and find a nice book. I’m guessing War and Peace, followed by Atlas Shrugged, should keep you busy for a small portion of the aging process.

I think waiting 20 years might be excessive (really Mario? You mean like the idea of making a barleywine port?) but if you have the ability, shouldn’t 5 or 6 years be sufficient? I also don’t know about the bourbon. Does the bourbon need to be aged prior to this process, or can you just get your still going and make the bourbon at the same time as the barleywine?. Obviously this idea needs more planning and research. It also needs some space, anyone got room in their garage? In exchange I’ll let you try the first sample (God knows I’m not tasting it first).

So what do you all think? I’ve asked someone who would know and he was not supportive. Basically he implied it would be stale beer lacking the complexity the fruit gives to port. Doesn’t mean I can dream, right?