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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Oak Aged Stout "Strategy"
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:08 PM   #1
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Default Oak Aged Stout "Strategy"

One of my homebrewing buddies recently moved away for work, but just found out he's coming back for a few weeks at the end of August. He'll be back again April/May of 2013 so we've decided to brew a nice imperial stout while he's here at the end of the month to drink at the end of his return in May.

Been trying to research, and just wanted to throw a plan at the forum and see what people thought. We don't have a recipe yet, but neither of us have done bulk aging or oak flavor yet so have just been discussing the strategy.

Brew an ~8-10% stout at the end of August. Ferment for about a month in primary before racking over to a Better Bottle for bulk aging. Mid December or so, drop a bourbon soaked oak spiral into the bottle. Mid march, have a taste and see how the oak flavor is maturing. If it's ready, bottle then and drink April/May. If we want more oak flavor, let it sit and bottle very early April to drink towards the end of May.

Does this make sense? Do we need to add yeast for bottling? Thanks in advance for the help!

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:04 AM   #2
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I don't think you will need to add yeast to carbonate, though I'll admit I've never tried to naturally carbonate a beer that had already aged for so many months. I also think you can add your oak spiral when you transfer the beer into the secondary. I also wouldn't wait so long to taste for the oak quality -- you don't want too much.

So I would transfer to secondary around the end of September, as you plan, but with the oak. Taste it in about a month, then periodically after that -- say every other week. I suspect you will find yourself bottling in December, giving the beer additional aging time to carbonate and condition. A big beer like this will take a little longer to carbonate, especially after extended bulk aging. I think if you bottle in December/January, it will be ready to drink when your friend arrives in April/May.

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:05 AM   #3
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Accidental double post.

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:09 AM   #4
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You're going to want to add the fresh yeast at bottling. I've had 2 beers that were in the 10% range not carbonate. Since then, everything over 8% gets a little sprinkle of champagne yeast into the bottling bucket.

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:25 AM   #5
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Thanks guys, we'll probably add some yeast to be safe. Any reason you go with champagne and not the same strain as the fermenting yeast?

The oak spirals say they take "20 Weeks" for full flavor infusion, so I'd picked March as a halfway. Is full flavor super oakey this requiring sooner tasting?

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifraf
Thanks guys, we'll probably add some yeast to be safe. Any reason you go with champagne and not the same strain as the fermenting yeast?

The oak spirals say they take "20 Weeks" for full flavor infusion, so I'd picked March as a halfway. Is full flavor super oakey this requiring sooner tasting?
I use the champagne yeast because it's cheap, an open packet keeps for quite a while, and it starts easily in an alcoholic environment. You could probably use anything though.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:40 AM   #7
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Champage yeast is ideal for all the reasons mentiopned and beause it will eat only the bottling sugar. If you add something more attenuative gthan the primary strain, you could have broken glass everywhere.

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Old 08-10-2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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Ah that makes complete sense, thanks!

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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In addition to the yeast you also may need to compensate for lost co2 with additional priming sugar. Most/all priming calculators assume a certain amount of co2 is still in suspension in the beer, but over time co2 leaves the beer so you need more bottle fermentation to compensate.

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Old 08-11-2012, 11:57 PM   #10
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I've used Windsor Ale yeast to bottle conditioned. Its a low Attenuating yeast so no real worries about creating bottle bombs from it consuming additional sugars.

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