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Old 07-16-2011, 04:24 PM   #1
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Default Oak chips/cubes

I'm planning on racking my IPA to secondary today and thought of adding oak chips/cubes. And I was wondering which kind of oak to use. Are the oak chips/cubes that are sold for grilling/cooking ok to use in beer? The reason I ask is because here in Miami, FL there is only one LHBS store and they don't carry oak chips/cubes.

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:36 PM   #2
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I would use chips, american med+ toast, for a week. 1oz/5gal.

Oak chips for smoking are only good to use if they are the jack daniels ones made out of old whiskey barrels. A lot of time and effort goes into preparing oak for use in barrels. They age for 1-3 years, and the terroire and the microorganisms where the oak ages has a big impact on flavor and aroma. If you use any old oak for smoking, you'll get a rougher, raw oak flavor that some people may like, but it won't taste the same as oak from a barrel.

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:37 PM   #3
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I thinks the oak chips/cubes are toasted. If so, you could toast your own. Do you not order online?

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:40 PM   #4
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I believe that the oak for grilling/smoking is non-toasted. IMO you don't want to use that for your brew. Better to delay racking and order some cubes online.

I used some French chips (medium toast) for my first two oaked brews. Flavors were strong of oak with a hint of smokiness to them early on. About two months later, that all turned into vanilla.

I then used medium toast Hungarian oak cubes... Flavors were more moderate early on, and have remained stable so far. I'll be opening up a bottle of that batch tomorrow, which will put it a few months (just over three actually) from when it was bottled. I did have some of that batch a couple of weekends ago and the flavors had not shifted like the others did.

IMO, get oak cubes to use. Or spirals, or staves. IME, chips are good for a batch that will be finished fast (less than a month) from when oaked.

I would also simply put the amount of oak you want to use (I've used 3/4oz of chips, and 1-1/2oz of cubes per batch) in a glass jar, pour boiling hot water over the oak (sanitizing the jar in the process), cover and let cool to room temp. Pour everything into the vessel you'll be oaking in. IMO, you WANT that 'tea' in the batch too. If you go with <2oz per 5 gallon batch, expect it to go a few weeks (3-6). If you use more, expect it to take less time. Sample the batch after a week, then each week until it's getting close to where you want it. Aim for a little more flavor, so that it will mellow with age.

BTW, what's the ABV of the IPA you'll be oaking??

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:41 PM   #5
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I do order online but didn't think about using oak chips until today that I'm going to rack to secondary. So using oak chips that are sold for grilling ok to use then? The abv. is around 6.5%

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:44 PM   #6
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Delay the racking until you get the PROPER chips/cubes/oak... There's a 99.995% chance that delaying the racking will do the brew no harm. Unless you've had it dry hopping for a week, or more, already.

I got my current set of oak from both Rebel Brewer and Farmhouse Brewing Supply... Depending on where you are, you should be able to get the oak before next weekend if you place the order at the start of the coming week (or over this weekend)...

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castillo View Post
I do order online but didn't think about using oak chips until today that I'm going to rack to secondary. So using oak chips that are sold for grilling ok to use then? The abv. is around 6.5%
I wouldn't, because you want oak prepared for beverages, not just any old oak. The toast doesn't matter. The "good" oak flavors come from years of aging with microorganisms before use. Like I said before, the only smoking chips I'd recommend are the Jack Daniels brand from old whiskey barrels.
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Old 07-16-2011, 04:48 PM   #8
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It's been in primary for 12 days.

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:53 PM   #9
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Leave it the F alone (in primary) at LEAST until next weekend... At 6.5%, it can easily go 4 weeks in primary before you mess around with it. Get some properly prepared oak chips/cubes/etc. from the online vendors and use it once the brew is FINISHED... Right now, the yeast is still doing good things for you.

I don't rack to secondary. I DO rack for aging a batch on things like oak, or to get it off of one flavor element in order to get it onto another. Otherwise. 4-8 (or more) weeks in primary before to bottle/keg... Just bottled/kegged up a big mild (6.4%) last night that was almost 6 weeks in primary... Tastes great and am really looking forward to pouring a pint of it (from either bottle or keg)...

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Leave it the F alone (in primary) at LEAST until next weekend... At 6.5%, it can easily go 4 weeks in primary before you mess around with it. Get some properly prepared oak chips/cubes/etc. from the online vendors and use it once the brew is FINISHED... Right now, the yeast is still doing good things for you.

I don't rack to secondary. I DO rack for aging a batch on things like oak, or to get it off of one flavor element in order to get it onto another. Otherwise. 4-8 (or more) weeks in primary before to bottle/keg... Just bottled/kegged up a big mild (6.4%) last night that was almost 6 weeks in primary... Tastes great and am really looking forward to pouring a pint of it (from either bottle or keg)...
+1 to all of that.
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