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Old 05-27-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
mre24j
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Default Questions about adding oak chips to secondary

So I have never added oak to a beer before and have a few questions. I have a RIS going that started out at around 1.120 and is about ready to go to secondary. I want to age it for a little on oak but have a few questions.

1. What sort of measures do I need to take to sanitize the chips?
2. How much should I use? I have a pound of light toast American oak chips.
3. How long do all of you who use oak leave it in secondary for?

thanks for the help in advance.

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Old 05-27-2009, 08:08 PM   #2
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Personally, I would advise against oak chips, instead go for some oak cubes, medium plus toast. Oak chips tend to have a one dimensional flavor and a heavier toasted oak will work much better with a RIS. (or put your oak chips in the oven until they turn a deep golden brown)

Sanitizing - steam them for a few minutes, or soak them in bourbon for a few days

Time/duration - really depends, with cubes, 1oz for about 2 weeks and then taste every so often after that till its where you like it. With oak chips, 1oz and taste every other day or so.

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Old 05-27-2009, 08:13 PM   #3
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any suggestion as to temperature if I wanted to toast them again in the oven? also how much bourbon are you soaking them in?

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Old 05-27-2009, 08:27 PM   #4
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I stole a tip from, I believe Biermuncherm and used regular ole Jack Daniels oak smoking chips that I soaked for 2 weeks in more Jack. Came out great...
Next time though I might toast them a bit, basically just put them in a baking pan and sticking em under the broiler for a bit.



You can oak multiple batches...

One thing guys, when using them...Pick through them and make sure you only pieces larger than someone could choke on...in other words make sure there's no long slivers or tiny pieces that could accidentally get sucked up your autosiphon and end up it bottles...I selected pieces that were at least an inch wide.

AND at 7 bucks for a huge resealable bag it's a great deal.

For a 5 gallon batch I basically grabbed a big handful and stuck them in a mason jar and dumped a half pint of jack on it...left it for a 2 weeks and dumped it all into my secondary, and racked on top of it.

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Old 05-27-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
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it was awhile ago, but I think I toasted the chips in the oven at 300 and checked on them every 5 min or so until the color was what I was looking for....totally subjective.

For soaking them, cover them with just enough bourbon so they're submerged.

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Old 05-27-2009, 08:37 PM   #6
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i used 4 0z dark oak chips for an IPA, i didnt prep them in anyway, but i got them from a homebrew store, so i assumed they were food grade quality.
i 2ndary them for 3 weeks...came out really nice, this adds that missing characteristic to an IPA most people forget is there.

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Old 05-27-2009, 08:51 PM   #7
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To my tastes, .3oz of oak chips or .5oz of oak cubes in a moderate gravity/flavor beer (like a malty ESB) is good. For an RIS, I would probably start with .5oz of oak chips and .75oz of oak cubes. Wait a month, and if you want more character, add more. Takes a lot of age to significantly reduce oak character, so take it slow.

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Old 05-31-2009, 12:06 AM   #8
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really?only half an ounce?..hmm maybe i really like oak!!! hehe

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Old 05-31-2009, 03:02 AM   #9
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I'm currently soaking about 4oz of oak chips in roughly 2 cups of Knob Creek bourbon - I shake up the jar every now and then.

In a few weeks, I will slowly add the resulting liquid to the bottling bucket until the taste is right.

I came across this while perusing recipes and figure this is a good way to not "over oak". My wife made a Cab Sav with oak chips a while back and it's still too oaky after two years...

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