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Old 10-28-2013, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default Reusing "bugged" Oak Cubes

I plan to start making sours soon and have been gathering research on the subject. I'd like to reuse some oak cubes that will go into my sours to save some money versus buying new bugs every batch. My questions are

1) Will the beers be negatively affected by doing this?

2) What is the best way to store and reuse the "bugged" oak cubes? Freezing? Drying and storing? Preserving them in wine/wort? There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of info out there on this regarding souring bacteria/Brett.

Thanks!

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Old 10-28-2013, 05:44 PM   #2
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One of the Sunday Session interviews with Vinnie has some good info. I can't remember which episode it is, I think it's the one with the NHC presentation which is also on AHA website if you're a member. If I recall, I think you want to dry very well after use, either in direct sun on a warm day, warm not hot oven, dehydrator etc. and then boil before use.

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Old 10-28-2013, 05:47 PM   #3
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I like the idea, but is'nt it easier to use dregs from previous batches?

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Old 10-28-2013, 06:01 PM   #4
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Didn't even think of that, Coff. Guess my subconscious thought it was too easy.

TNGabe, I think I stumbled upon that one already, but my desire is to keep the buggies around to inoculate future batches; boiling would kill them all off, no?
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:43 PM   #5
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Didn't even think of that, Coff. Guess my subconscious thought it was too easy.

TNGabe, I think I stumbled upon that one already, but my desire is to keep the buggies around to inoculate future batches; boiling would kill them all off, no?
Not unless you boil for a very long time and perhaps not even then. Boiling will kill what's on the surface - some of the good bugs/critters and bad bugs like acetobacter, but not what's in the wood - good critters & maybe good bugs.
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Old 10-29-2013, 05:46 AM   #6
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Not unless you boil for a very long time and perhaps not even then. Boiling will kill what's on the surface - some of the good bugs/critters and bad bugs like acetobacter, but not what's in the wood - good critters & maybe good bugs.
Thanks for the advice, bud. Cheers!
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:53 AM   #7
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Not unless you boil for a very long time and perhaps not even then. Boiling will kill what's on the surface - some of the good bugs/critters and bad bugs like acetobacter, but not what's in the wood - good critters & maybe good bugs.
TNGabe, have you boiled cubes and then gotten bug activity out of them? i'd be quite concerned that bugs don't go that deep into the wood, and that boiling will in fact get enough heat deep enough to sterilize the cubes.

a common recommendation is to pour boiling water over cubes or wood chips before adding them to your brew - to sterilize them (and thus introduce wood tannins only, and no accidental bugs). i can only imagine that actively boiling wood cubes for any amount of time will do more damage than just pouring in boiling water - which is in itself a sufficient means of sterilization...
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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TNGabe, have you boiled cubes and then gotten bug activity out of them? i'd be quite concerned that bugs don't go that deep into the wood, and that boiling will in fact get enough heat deep enough to sterilize the cubes.

a common recommendation is to pour boiling water over cubes or wood chips before adding them to your brew - to sterilize them (and thus introduce wood tannins only, and no accidental bugs). i can only imagine that actively boiling wood cubes for any amount of time will do more damage than just pouring in boiling water - which is in itself a sufficient means of sterilization...
I should have made it clear that I haven't and am just repeating Vinnie's advice from the AHA presentation. I'm too lazy to save cubes. IIRC he was talking about boiling chips, so I assumed that cubes, being larger, could be boiled. I'm with Coff on using dregs/trub from previous batches instead.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:49 PM   #9
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I should have made it clear that I haven't and am just repeating Vinnie's advice from the AHA presentation. I'm too lazy to save cubes. IIRC he was talking about boiling chips, so I assumed that cubes, being larger, could be boiled. I'm with Coff on using dregs/trub from previous batches instead.
So should I collect the dregs from several bottles as I drink them and just keep them in a sterilized Mason jar or something in the fridge? Would that work? Any better ideas?
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:13 PM   #10
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So should I collect the dregs from several bottles as I drink them and just keep them in a sterilized Mason jar or something in the fridge? Would that work? Any better ideas?
I've heard of other people doing that. The guy who is interviewed on the most recent solera episode of Basic Brewing Radio talks about doing that. Again laziness comes into play so I never have. I've always though it had a higher risk of acetobacter contamination than direct pitching dregs.
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