Tender Surrender - Bottle

Tender Surrender

Bourbon Milk Stout

Homebrew Series

Paying homage to Steve Vai's "Tender Surrender", this smooth and sticky stout blends intense vanilla flavors with notes of raisins and dark chocolate, all into one rich syrupy pour. With extra conditoning on vanilla beans and bourbon soaked oak chips, followed by long term bottle aging, flavors come together nicely in a well ballanced decadent concoction.

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  • Last brewedDecember 9, 2020
  • Alcohol9.5%
  • MaltsPale, CaraAroma, Carapils, Roasted Barley, Chocolate, Flaked Oats
  • HopsNugget
  • YeastMangrove Jack's M15 Empire Ale
  • ExtrasLactose, Bourbon, Vanilla, Oak Chips
Tender Surrender - Label Design

This was the first stout I had ever brewed, so a lot of the process was still new to me back then. The goal was to make it sweet, smooth and not too roasty but in the same time giving it more complex underlying flavours, which is why I decided to experiment with wood aging and bourbon. Once the beer had fully fermented, I transferred it to a different vessel where it conditioned for another 30 days on a mix of vanilla beans and medium toasted oak chips soaked in Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon. I had never used any of these in a beer before so I had to be careful not to overdo it, however the first batch turned out really good, especially after a few months conditioning in the bottle. Knowing that this stout had the potential to grow in complexity over time, I decided to take the ABV to imperial levels so that flavors could continue to evolve over time in the bottle. I bumped up the fermentables and tweaked the adjuncts, batch by batch, until it ended up exactly how I wanted it. Now, after several years of aging in the cellar, it makes for a great sipping beer in the cold season while spinning some vinyl and enjoying some tunes.

Tender Surrender - Pencil DrawingTender Surrender - Ink IllustrationTender Surrender - Digital Print

The Artwork

It's hard to say what inspired this concept but one thing's for sure: up until this point it was the most intricate illustration I had ever done, period. Once I had the idea in pencil, it took me around 20h just to finish inking it; dot by dot, line by line, feather by feather. On the other hand, coloring allowed me to play around more by adopting a vibrant palette that was still able to deliver the dark and almost brutal feel that I wanted for this piece.

Tender Surrender - Artwork
Tender Surrender - Showcase
Tender Surrender - Aging Experiment

Aging Experiment

With this being one of my first stouts, I though it would be a good experiment to let some of it age for a longer period to see what flavours I could get out of it, so I ended up packaging a larger 750ml bottle with a more vintage-looking label. Even though that first aging experiment was not a success (mostly due to the low ABV), the following batches that did have imperial-level ABVs did age successfully, developing highly complex flavors that made them excellent sipping beers.

Tender Surrender - Outdoor View
Breitenstein • 1,622m
Bavarian Prealps, Germany


This is a homebrewed beer that is not available for sale or distribution of any kind. It was brewed at home in small quantities to be shared only with family and friends, simply out of passion for the craft and as a tribute to the music that inspired it.

  • Non-commercial
  • No selling
  • No distribution


If you dig the label artwork and would like to get your hands on some merch that features it, then check out the Hopsylvania web shop and snoop around for something you might like. All orders and manufacturing handled by Spreadshirt.

Gear up!
Tender Surrender - T-Shirt

Other Beers

Check out some of the other things I brewed that might be similar to this one, or alternatively just explore the full range regardless of their style.

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