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Old 01-24-2011, 09:43 PM   #1
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Default Adding oak to primary vs. secondary

i have an imperial brown ale in primary that finished fermentation a few days ago. i am planning on adding some american oak chips too it. in the past i have always transferred to a secondary before doing this but is there any real advantage to doing this, or should i just oak it in primary until it taste ready to bottle. thanks.

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:27 PM   #2
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I like to leave my beers on oak for a few months, so doing it in primary isn't an option for me. If you're only doing a few weeks, then it shouldn't be a problem.

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Old 01-25-2011, 05:25 AM   #3
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Wow. thats a long time. I usually get all of the oak flavor i need after about two weeks.

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Old 01-25-2011, 01:14 PM   #4
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Right...most of the time, two weeks is fine. But if I use oak in a heavy stout, I love letting it sit. Oak hits a peak and then starts to fade. So...if it hits its peak after 3 weeks, and I leave it for 6 months, it won't matter much. I just feel like it keeps its flavor a little better if I soak it for that long.

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Old 01-29-2011, 02:58 AM   #5
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If you add oak during active fermentation, the vanillin compounds will be metabolized by the yeast, so you would do this if you didn't want as much of the flavor but more of the structure compounds from oaking.

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Old 01-29-2011, 03:02 AM   #6
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the only reasons i secondary are oaking, adding fruit, or a HUGE beer

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:19 AM   #7
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I tried oak on primary the first time I oaked. Then I oaked in secondary and will never primary again. The primary oak tasted almost oxidized. It also make a huge difference on form, cubes, chips etc.. I have a few staves from a barrel of Jefferson Reserve and chopped them up. I tend to like cubed oak and let it soak for at least a month. Reason being most of my oaked brews need to age anyway. Oak tends to really mellow in the bottle. What is over the top now, is perfect 8-12 months down the road.

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Old 01-29-2011, 12:19 PM   #8
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Secondary. I use oak cubes and it takes about 6 months for full extraction of the oak at that point. Chips are extracted super fast and I think lack the complexity of the cubes or a spiral.

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Old 01-31-2011, 03:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpher View Post
the only reasons i secondary are oaking, adding fruit, or a HUGE beer
Ditto. I also dry hop in secondary.

I think secondary is the ideal place to add oak because you can let it sit there for as little or as long as you like. Just taste it every few days until you are happy with the amount of oak flavor.
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