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Old 03-04-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
jakebeer
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Default Oak chips

Brewing a wee Scottish heavy ale and planning to add oak chips steeped in is lay single malt scotch in secondary. A couple Q's:

1.) How much oak for 5 gallons of beer?

2.) I understand adding alcohol (the scotch) might kill the yeast. Was planning on soaking in chips in the scotch for 6-8 weeks, letting them dry out and then a quick soak in water before adding to secondary for the last month of a 2+ month secondary. Any suggestions?

Thanks

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Old 03-04-2012, 07:42 PM   #2
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First off, I highly recommend you listen to the "Wood" episode of the Brewing Networks Brewstrong show. There is an associated "cliff notes" version of it on hbt: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/tips-wood-aging-119445/

1) These REALLY Depends on the type of oak, whether it is toasted/untoasted. Wheter it is cubes, chips, or spirals.

2) The scotch will not sanitize the wood chips. I recommend soaking them in 180+ degree water for 30-40 minutes and adding that to a sanitized container with the scotch. then you can add it all into the secondary.

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Old 03-04-2012, 10:44 PM   #3
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What proof of scotch are you using that you don't feel it will sanitize your oak chips?

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Old 03-04-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettwasbtd View Post

2) The scotch will not sanitize the wood chips. I recommend soaking them in 180+ degree water for 30-40 minutes and adding that to a sanitized container with the scotch. then you can add it all into the secondary.


From the link you gave:


Quote:
Preparing your wood for the beer:
---Usually just throw the wood in (no sanitary steps)
---Some put wood in water in microwave (steam)
---Some boil water, throw chips in, shake a little, let cool, throw juice and wood in
fermenter. (Jamil sometimes pressure cooks his wood)
------Usually only sanitize for long aging beers (never any chem. (starsan, idophore)
--- Brett (and other sour critters) can live in wood (takes a long time to become problematic)
------You can pasteurize the wood at 170 F for 5 min.

So why do you sanitize first when the "cliff notes" essentially state that it is not necessary?
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie Brewer View Post
From the link you gave:

So why do you sanitize first when the "cliff notes" essentially state that it is not necessary?
I think that first part that was bold was what meant to read what homebrewers usually do - nothing to sanitize. But I don't think that was deemed the best way.

Not positive, but I am pretty sure I remember Jamil going off on a rant about it and that you need at least 70% ABV to effectively sanitize. It may or may not have been in that episode. Quick google search shows even that percentage may not be completely sterile: Center for Disease Control. I will have to go back and listen to the episode again, but I recommend you listen as well since its clear the cliffs notes don't depict 100% accuracy. Sorry if I gave that impression. Cliffs notes can trip you up on tests in school, just like real life I guess haha
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:52 AM   #6
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Thanks. Will listen to the podcast for sure and report back.

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Old 03-05-2012, 12:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jakebeer View Post
Thanks. Will listen to the podcast for sure and report back.
Thanks! Let me know if I am wrong... could have been my mind playing tricks on me again
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:11 PM   #8
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Did either of you find a more difinitive answer?

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Old 12-02-2012, 03:28 PM   #9
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Cooking them in a pressure cooker or autoclave is the only way you will sterilize them.

However, you'll do a really good job of reducing the population of life in oak chips by boiling or steaming them followed by a soak in vodka or some other liquor.

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Old 12-02-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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I always just stick the chips in a Pyrex glass, fill the glass with water till it barely covers the oak, microwave until the water boils for about 20-30 seconds and then cool to about 60 degrees.

After the chips are cool, i put them into a very large hop bag and dump them into the fermenter or keg. This way i can taste the effects of the chips over time and remove the bag when it's ready.

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