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Old 11-28-2010, 12:51 AM   #1
Phan71
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Default Re-use oak wood chips?

I just bottled my Bourbon Barrel Porter (based off of the Northern Brewer one recipe). I used oak wood chips soaked in Maker's Mark.

My question is, can I re-use the wood chips? Can I just dry them out and store them until the next time I want to do a bourbon barrel beer? What have other people done? Do you just pitch them after you use them?

Thanks.

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Old 11-28-2010, 01:30 AM   #2
nanop
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I've saved them... I ended up putting them on a cookie sheet in the oven @ 300 for a few hours to dry them out. I haven't reused them yet, so I dunno how much flavor they impart the second time around.

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Old 11-28-2010, 03:13 AM   #3
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I would say no, as the wood would soak the sugars into the grains and keep the flavors of the older beers.

But it might come in handy as a trial run brew, use them many times in different brews that are close in tastes, like maybe a string of porters with tiny differences in ingredients.

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Old 11-28-2010, 02:24 PM   #4
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Yeah, I was thinking if I kept them, it would be to use in the same or similar recipes.

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Old 11-30-2010, 12:23 PM   #5
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I've reused oak with decent success. Typically, though, reusing is more to carry bugs over from batch to batch. If you're soaking in whiskey, you shouldn't get too much beer flavor carry-over, provided you're not going from a strong porter to a pale ale. Even so, in 5gal quantities, the oak flavor should outweigh the beer carry-over flavor. You're probably more apt to get yeast carry-over (without sanitizing).

As far as reusing, i just leave mine sit on a paper towel to dry, then into a mason jar for storage. In my opinion, the harsher you treat the oak over and over again (oven drying, sanitizing, etc), the more you're losing the oaky goodness from those specific chips/cubes. I just throw my cubes into the beer after primary fermentation is complete.

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Old 11-30-2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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Throw the cubes back in your bottle of Maker's Mark.

I soaked my cubes in a little mason jar with Maker's too. After a few days I couldn't resist and drank the oak soaked whiskey. It tasted like wood and I loved it.

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Old 11-30-2010, 07:49 PM   #7
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Craft breweries reuse their oak barrels so I see no reason why you couldn't reuse your oak chips at least once and have successful results. Cactusgarrett is right though, you will definitely be carrying over some bugs unless you re-roast them.

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