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JLem 01-07-2011 04:07 PM

Aging an oaked beer
 
Each winter I brew a "big" beer - something in the 10% ABV range. I take my time with it, bulk age it for a few months, and then let it sit in the bottles for a few months more. I usually don't even bother opening one until at least 10 months have past since I brewed it and I like to keep some of it cellared to try over the years. So far, I have really liked the way my brews have aged over a couple of years.

This winter I want to add oak to my "big brew". I have read a bit about how not to over-oak a beer, but I was curious if I should purposely over-oak this now so that in a year or two (or more) the oak is still there. How fast does oak "fall out"?

My idea right now is to make 3.5 gallons (my standard brew size) of a robust porter in the 10% ABV range, to which I would eventually add 1oz of Hungarian Med. Toast oak cubes for a month. Does this sound OK for this project?

Any help would be appreciated. :mug:

Oldsock 01-07-2011 04:32 PM

Oak certainly dies out over-time, but it is much slower to fade than something like hops. 1 oz of oak in 3.5 gallons might be too much unless you give it a short boil to remove some of the "fresh" oak character. I would certainly wait until the oak is slightly stronger than you might want, but don't wait until it tastes like a visit to Home Depot.

smokinghole 01-07-2011 05:19 PM

I'd keep it in longer than a month if using cubes. I kept 1.5oz in 5 gallon with a 9.5% beer for three full months and it was certainly a background hint instead of a noticeable flavor. I have two ounces in a stout right now and it's close to 5.5g I am hoping this one picks up more oak flavor.

JLem 01-07-2011 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oldsock (Post 2531396)
Oak certainly dies out over-time, but it is much slower to fade than something like hops. 1 oz of oak in 3.5 gallons might be too much unless you give it a short boil to remove some of the "fresh" oak character. I would certainly wait until the oak is slightly stronger than you might want, but don't wait until it tastes like a visit to Home Depot.

I was planning on boiling some water and pouring some over the cubes and letting it sit for 15 minutes or so to sanitize them. Would that be sufficient you think?

Quote:

Originally Posted by smokinghole (Post 2531570)
I'd keep it in longer than a month if using cubes. I kept 1.5oz in 5 gallon with a 9.5% beer for three full months and it was certainly a background hint instead of a noticeable flavor. I have two ounces in a stout right now and it's close to 5.5g I am hoping this one picks up more oak flavor.

Good to know about the timing. I thought 1 month would be a long time, but perhaps I'll just have to see where it is and rack off the oak when it's time. How long has the oak been in your stout?

Oldsock 01-07-2011 09:04 PM

A hot water soak will do something, but you'll still have plenty of oak character. I think the longer the better (3+ months), less oak for longer seems to give more complexity for me.

smokinghole 01-07-2011 09:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JLem (Post 2532246)
Good to know about the timing. I thought 1 month would be a long time, but perhaps I'll just have to see where it is and rack off the oak when it's time. How long has the oak been in your stout?

It's been about a month but it will be another five months probably. I can barely taste it at the moment.


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