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12

We soak ours in bourbon. Kicks the oak up a notch or two.


7

More beer has a great guide on taking care of oak barrels which covers cleaning, sanitizing, etc. The overview is: keep it filled so that it doesn't dry out and use a sulfur-dioxide mixture to sanitize. The oak will soak up some of the beer over time, so brew a little extra and keep it on hand to refill as the level goes down. You should also remember that ...


7

It depends on how long you leave them in the beer. Manufacturers of various oak products - cubes, beans, staves, chips, spirals, powder - sometimes mention how long it takes for them to give up everything they have. The lower the surface-to-mass ratio is for your cut of wood, the longer they'll last. I.e., staves last longer than cubes last longer than ...


5

The main reason for soaking the oak in Bourbon is to sanitize the oak. The Bourbon will kill any bacteria on the oak chips so you have less risk of batch contamination. Then later add more Bourbon to taste.


5

I've seen a great picture of an oak table leg sticking out the top of a carboy. Wish I could find it. BYO covered this question in depth. So I won't plagiarize everything here. Oak Essence and Powder Oak Chips Oak Cubes Staves and Spirals


4

Boiling the oak chips can bring out undesirable tannins. Soak them in alcohol, or trust that there is enough alcohol in your beer to kill an infection. Many people do not sanitize flavorings added to the secondary.


4

Likely late in the game now, but you can also put oak chips on a sanitized cooking sheet at 200F or so and leave in the oven for 15 minutes or so. This will sanitize the chips, and subtly brings out some of the flavour, but not too much tannic or other astringent flavours. Essentially you are pasteurizing the oak chips by heating them to 138F (min), before ...


4

I think relying on the supposed wild bugs in the wood naturally is generally a bad way to go. You've already done it "right" by pitching an appropriate brewing Brett strain you got from wyeast. So go ahead and steam your oak cubes first. You want to give the bugs you put in there on purpose the best chance at being the predominant character in the final ...


4

I don't know much about oak use in beermaking, but in winemaking, Frech oak is prized for giving a less "oaky" flavor while providing more tannins. American oak contains a higher level of vanillins and imparts a stronger "oak" aroma. Hungarian oak is also often used in winemaking. I don't know anything about it. I imagine these characteristics are taken ...


3

Put the chips in the carboy until you have the amount of wood-flavor you want and then rack the beer over to a keg or bottle it. You'll pull all the flavor you want out of chips pretty quickly (2-4 weeks, probably) because of their large surface area and thin-ness. Once you've done that, there's not much reason to leave the beer on the chips, so get it into ...


3

I have a recipe for Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter that's very popular. I add the bourbon post fermentation, pre bottling or kegging. I pour 4 2 oz. samples of the beer and add a different measured amount of bourbon to each. After tasting them all and picking the one I like best, I scale that amount of bourbon up to the batch size. I find this makes an ...


3

I've soaked them in scotch, and I've boiled them for up to 20 minutes. No harsh flavors. I pour all of the extracted woody liquid in too. I recommend using french oak unless you intend to age for a long time.


2

With things like cubes and chips, I've found that it's best to just throw them into your BBQ right before you put the meat on after they've been used in your beer. If you think about it, you've conditioned them with wine or bourbon prior to use in your beer. There's not a lot of surface area there, so they're probably mostly spent by the time they've ...


2

The problem as I see it here isn't so much getting the chips out of the carboy, but how to separate the chips from the beer without too much effort. Because if the chips were in an empty carboy you could just tip it upside down and shake them out with a few good rinses of water. I'd invest in a small CO2 system and then plan to rack the beer under closed ...


2

I like a heavier toast than the french oak chips my local brew store sells, so I soak them in Chardonnay (for IPAs) for a couple of weeks and then toast them dry in the oven (10-15 minutes at 350º or so). The Chardonnay might not have enough alcohol to fully sanitize them, but it adds a great subtle flavor to oak-aged IPAs. 350º is hotter than a wort boil, ...


2

If you want to avoid adding the alcohol flavorings from bourbon or whiskey, I would jsut steam them for 10 minutes. Get a good rolling boil going with a steamer in the pot, toss in the chips and once the steam refills the pot I'd take them off the heat. The hot steam with still sanitize, while the slow reduction in heat will help minimize the tannin issues ...


2

Bear in mind this is for oak cubes, but I've heard a good starting point is between one to two ounces for at least two to three weeks. The lower the amount, the less oak flavor you'll get in a longer amount of time. The more oak you add, the more oak flavor you'll get in a less amount of time. Cubes have more surface area (therefor less contact with the ...


2

Standard ways of cleaning barrels use really hot or boiling water to rinse and clean and/or using sulfur sticks. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to completely sterilize a barrel. 10 years without being properly cared for is too long. The wooden staves shrink and I'm guessing it won't be able to hold liquid. Some breweries just rinse well with sterile ...


1

Is it possible the barrel was previously lined with pitch? If so you might consider not using it. Pitch seals the wood and blocks the wood character from effectively aging the beer, as well as reducing porosity that contributes subtle oxidation and the development of microorganisms (all are primary reasons for barrel aging). Plus who want chunks of unknown ...


1

This is of course a judgement call depending on just how grim it looks and how large it is. But I would start with filling it with warm water and PBW, let it sit for an hour and then give it a serious scrubbing. When done rinse out the PBW and sterilize the barrel. Sterilization (or at least disinfection) can be done in several ways. In this case my method ...


1

The only way is to plan on tasting the beer regularly as the oaking occurs. For me it would be a matter of free time on my hands. If you think you can get in there and taste it every couple days using more oak would make things go faster. If you want to taste it once a week then less oak. In general I agree <2 oz of oak is a good place to start for 5 ...


1

There could potentially be a transfer of water between the air and wood if not kept in bag (e.g. controlled environment), but I don't know if this matters. Moreover, white oak anatomy includes closed tyloses which are cells that resist water and rot and are why white oaks are used in cooperage. I don't imagine there would be much loss of functionality ...


1

What I would do is a) add the chips in secondary and b) when you brew the beer put some test samples of chips into water at different amounts and leave it for two weeks in order to judge an appropriate amount of chips to use. I put 1g, 2g, 4g and 8g of chips into jars of boiled water and used these to judge the amount needed for the batch of beer and racked ...


1

I don't have any experience with using oak yet, but from my research it seems the most common advice is to use oak chips/cubes in secondary and rack the beer on top of them. This simulates aging in an oak barrel. I would definitely avoid boiling the chips in the wort, who knows what the heat would do to the flavor profile. Since oak chips have a relatively ...


1

Pine is used in the Greek wine Retsina


1

In Japan sometimes Sake is aged in Cedar barrels, I know of some beer makers (Cigar City) who also age in cedar. I'm sure other woods can/have been used for beer as well as wine but oak is the most dominant because it is particularly well suited to making barrels that won't leak. From a home brewing/winemaking perspective there's nothing stopping you from ...


1

Hungarian Oak gets used as well for barrel making.


1

You can reuse them several times, but each time you will need to wait longer to get the desired effect. Consider that Rodenbach brewery disassembles their oak vats between batches and scrapes some wood off them. You have the benefit of being able to taste the effect and remove the beer from the oak when you've reached the level of oakiness you want. You ...


1

I immerse it in two cups of boiling water for 15 minutes, then toss it in the secondary. I always add the water as well with good results. I also keep a 1.75 LT bottle of Jim Beam half full with bourbon and the rest with Med toast French oak chips so they are always soaking up that great flavor to add to Bourbon stouts. The chips pick up a lot of the great ...


1

I've got 4 oz of oak chips soaking in 4 floz of Jack Daniels right now for a porter I'm brewing on Christmas day. If that doesn't kill all the bugs in the wood, I can't imagine anything will.



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