Making a wee heavy and adding medium toasted oak chips that have been soaked in bourbon. The chips are tied up in a cheese cloth bag. My question is, should I let the chips dry thoroughly before dropping into the carboy? Or should I add them when they're still moist with bourbon? Thanks in advance...cheers!

3 Answers 3


I would add the oak (still wet) and the bourbon it was soaking in to the carboy. The bourbon has probably picked up a lot of oak flavour that you want in your beer.


I have a similar Porter which is due to be transferred soon. I've researched online for an answer to this question, and opinions vary greatly.

Some say that the whiskey will have dissolved a lot of the tannins, so you shouldn't put it in. Also a lot of those people think it is merely a way of bumping the alcohol by spiking the beer with whiskey (I think they're missing the point of why we are doing this!). Others say the whiskey has all the flavor and you shouldn't put the oak in because you'll just get extra tannins. Others say put the whole lot in.

I had decided to do the same as @Tobias suggests - put the whole lot in.

In my case, I have oak cubes in a jar of Maker's Mark. If it works, I intend to repeat next year but with Laphroig (an Islay malt).


If you are using the Bourbon to sanitize the chips and not looking for much Bourbon flavor, toss only the chips. I don't know if it make much difference if they are wet of dry other than the alcohol will evaporate if you let them dry. If you are trying to replicate beer aged in Bourbon barrels it only makes sense to toss the Bourbon and oak chips into the secondary. I use around 5 ounces of a good Bourbon to soak the chips in and then toss the whole thing into a 5 gallon batch. Be sure to take samples often after the chips have been in the secondary about a week as the wood flavor can get pretty intense pretty fast. My rule of thumb is to pull the oak chips out just as I think it's getting a little too oaky as the oak flavor will fall out over time leaving a nice balance. I've used the Whisky Barrel Oak Chips as well. The whisky is not very pronounced but it does provide a good oak flavor.

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