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Old 04-30-2009, 07:50 PM   #1
portlandbeergeek
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Default When and how to add oak chips?

OK, so i've searched the forum and I get the idea the best time to add the chips is in the secondary. And that the best way to do so is to soak the chips in some whisky or bourbon for a week or so, then add the chips and booze into the secondary. About two ounces of chips should do the trick.


So, my question is.....why in the world did the owner of my LHBS tell me to add the chips to either the mash or the boil? I was told either way would work fine, but I'd be afraid all that lovely oaky toastiness would just boil away.

Thoughts/comments? I'm about to start the mash now, and have no intention to mash or boil my chips unless someone's done it before with good results. Thanks and cheers!

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Old 04-30-2009, 10:27 PM   #2
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I've never heard of adding them to the mash or boil, but what do I know. I have heard about adding them during fermentation in the primary. But typically you add them to the secondary and only soak em if you want that booze flavor. Otherwise just dunk em around a bit to sanitize.

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Old 04-30-2009, 10:30 PM   #3
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Secondary. I have no idea why anyone would want to add oak chips to the boil.

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Old 04-30-2009, 11:46 PM   #4
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thanks guys! I'll be adding 'em to the secondary. Is the booze nessary to sanitize them, or will the fully fermented wort have enough alcohol to keep the nasties away? The beer should be around 7-8% ABV when I rack it on top of the chips in secondary.

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Old 05-01-2009, 02:13 AM   #5
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Some people soak in bourbon or vodka. Unless you get really strong spirits, it won't actually sanitize them. Steaming or boiling for a few minutes will properly sanitize.

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Old 05-01-2009, 02:20 AM   #6
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Add the chips in the secondary and add the bourbon at bottling/kegging. My advice would be to watch how long you let the oak soak in the secondary. Oaked beer is good, but over-oaked beer can pucker the mouth. I speak from experience. I've oaked with cubes several times and I have found that I like it in the 7-10 day range, then bottle and age for a good bit.

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