I'm brewing an imperial stout. It will have 10-12% ABV in the end (hopefully). I never used wood chips before, but want to add it to this beer. I read through guides but I read everything from just 24 hours to 2 months.

I have about 12 liters of the stout and want to add the chips next week after primary fermentation is done. How much do I add and how long?

I would prefer to do it for 2 weeks as I'm on vacation that time. My plan would be to fill a 100-150ml glas with the chips, soak them in whisky, drain, add to a bag and add the to the fermenter. Is this reasonable? It would be better to be on the safe side and to don't have an overwhelming wood character.

If it matters, the beer will be bottled after the secondary and I want to wait until winter to drink it.

2 Answers 2


The question of how much to add and how long is like asking how much salt to put into your food. It depends on the food and your taste. That's why the recommendations you've come across vary so widely.

Remember that it's all about balance: the more massively bodied and flavored your beer is, the more oaking you can get away with. In an impy stout you can probably use quite a bit. So experiment. Start with an ounce or so for a week or so and see what comes out of it, then increase or decrease accordingly for your next batch.


The type, roast and cut (i.e. surface area) of the wood has a huge impact on the amount of wood flavor you get, and the length of time changes not only amount of flavor, but the types.

Start with a specific type of wood species, toasting level and cut that you easily get in for the foreseeable future. if you can split a batch into smaller fermenters and do multiple tests in parallel you'll be able to dial-in what's right for your beer and your taste.

even if you can't split into smaller fermenters, try something, sample often and see what happens.

Finally, feel free to add the soaking whisky to fermenter...

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