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-   -   Aging my Barley wine with red wine soaked oak chips (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/aging-my-barley-wine-red-wine-soaked-oak-chips-137073/)

clept 09-16-2009 09:18 PM

Aging my Barley wine with red wine soaked oak chips
Made a hoppy AG American style barley wine about a month ago... Some details below

OG 1.080(had terrible efficiency due to my mash tun being too small for 20lbs grain)
FG 1.011
abv. 9%(right where I wanted despite the low efficiency, woo hoo attenuation!)
97 IBU's

Anyways, I made 6 gallons and split into a 1 gal wine jug and a 5 gal carboy upon transferring to secondary. I'd like to bottle the 1 gallon by itself after another month or two of aging. In the mean time I'd like to add some oak chips that have been soaked in red wine to the other 5 gallon.

A little history here; While at the Stone Brewery I sampled some of their Old Guardian Barley wine that had been aged in red wine barrels and the experience was, well, sublime. I'd love to try and recreate that experience here at home.

What I need to know since I have ZERO experience with wood aging beers is what type of oak should I use? Toasted/roasted or not? Also what type of wine would be best suited for this application? I'm thinking a red zin or pinot noir myself? Also, I hear of people soaking wood chips barely covered in bourbon for 2 weeks then dumping the whole thing into the brew. Would that technique work, or would the spoiled wine chance an infection?

I also plan to dry hop this brew before bottling/aging. Should I dry hop before wood aging, vice versa, or both at the same time?

Thanks for your replies.

bdnoona 09-16-2009 09:40 PM

I have nothing to add, but this red wine oak aging sounds great for a barley wine. I'm going to have to seriously consider this in mine...

malkore 09-16-2009 09:54 PM

i can tel you the Chianti wine kit I used, the oak chips were not toasted at all. any idea what kind of red wine was used? merlot? chianti (doubtful), cabernet?

i wouldn't go with anything too toasted.

clept 09-17-2009 12:55 AM

It had to be a California wine... either a Cab, Merlot, Pinot Noir or possibly a Zin..

I'm not sure, I wonder if I email the people at Stone if they'd be willing to share that info with me...

JoMarky 09-17-2009 02:13 AM

Cant be of any help, but would appreciate it if you kept the thread going with what you end up doing/how it comes out.

wade8069 09-17-2009 07:32 AM

I am here to wait for your answers, lol.

clept 09-17-2009 06:30 PM

Still nobody with any experience trying this sort of thing?

If I was to go at this alone I'm thinking of soaking about 3oz of french oak in a sweetish red zin for 2 weeks and then dumping the oak into the carboy for about a month? Too long? too little oak? bad win choice? help?

JoMarky 09-17-2009 09:37 PM


That should help you with the oaking aspect, as for the wine, i would go sweet, low acid/low tannin and mellow.

As for how to combine the oaking and the wining I'm still thinking

Beernip 09-17-2009 09:59 PM

I have no real experience with using oak chips but have been researching the subject some and if it was me I would toast the chips to cut the green wood flavor as well as give it a slight smokey character. I would also use a medium to full flavored red wine. The barelywine will be sweet enough (although your attenuation was really good for a barelywine). I would use a mellow Zinfandel or a rich pinot noir. You could use a merlot too but I think the other two would give you better flavor notes.

Again take all that with a grain of salt from a book learner.

clept 09-17-2009 10:57 PM

Well I emailed the guys at Stone yesterday and got a very informative and friendly reply today, man I love Stone, can't wait for their Louisiana launch next month. Anyhow this definitely points me in the right direction..


The barrels were French oak from a variety of varietals. Note that those barrels were used to age Stone Vertical Epic 07.07.07 for a year before we filled them with Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. I don’t think too much of the Belgian beer flavor shows up in the barley wine, but most of the red wine and much of the wood flavor had already been leeched from the barrels, making for a subtle effect. What does this mean for you? Go a bit light on the oak, and use a mellow red wine. I’ve heard air stones are useful in simulating the gentle oxidation that comes with barrel aging, so you might consider that as well.
So here's my plan, I'm going to take some lightly toasted french oak chips(1 to 1.5oz) and soak them in either Seven Deadly Zins or a Francis Coppola Pinot Noir. I'm thinking of putting the oak chips and wine in one of those ziplock vacuum seal bags to reduce the oxidation of the wine, and increase the penetration into the oak.

I'm still on the fence about taking an airstone attached to a piece of tubing ran through the middle of a stopper and left open ended for a gentle oxidation effect. Anyone have any experience with anything like that? Couldn't I just let a small amount of air into the carboy by gently swishing it with the air lock off to achieve the same effect?

btw I'm still open to suggestions for what type of wine to use. I'm thinking a $25 or less bottle. I'm wine stupid so I'm not real sure if my 2 above choices are very mellow, I just know I like them.

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