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Old 12-17-2008, 02:54 AM   #1
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Default Saving Oak Cubes - How Do?

So i just kegged an IIPA in which to the secondary i dry hopped, as well as added 2oz of medium roast american oak cubes.

I've heard of people getting oak from commercial brewers (ex. Russian River), which prompts me to attempt to save the cubes for later use at some point.

How would you who've dealt with saving oak before recommend i go about doing this so as to avoid any detrimental "side effects"? At this point, about 20min ago i just dumped the secondary, and rinsed the trub/hop material from the cubes with cold tap water in my bare hands. I then put the cubes, wet, into a small jar and capped. Should i do something different/in addition to what i've already done? Any thoughts on storage, also?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-17-2008, 03:08 AM   #2
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After rinsing them off, I just put them in a toaster oven at 300-325 for about 20 minutes to drive off the absorbed moisture. When they are cool, I put them in a Food Saver bag and vac suck it. Next time I use them, I steam them for a bit before adding them to the wort.

The Russian River oak chips are an entirely different beast as these chips are infected with the RRB house bugs. If you want to keep those bugs alive, there are other techniques to re-inoculate the wood. I have a bag of those chips and am not sure what to do with them. I have offered them to my friend and fellow HBT member and local bugged beer expert Natas to see what he can do with them.

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Old 12-17-2008, 01:00 PM   #3
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Yeah, I was going to say that reusing oak that just had some typical strain of yeast used is not all that practical. If you did a sour with brett or a lambic culture, it would be a way of keeping that going.

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Old 12-17-2008, 05:55 PM   #4
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Cool. If not shooting for a sour beer in the future, is it even worth attempting to save the cubes, then? Or am i better off just buying more later, and not worry about whatever the used cubes could grow?

FWIW, the yeast was just a dry pack of US-05.

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Old 12-18-2008, 08:27 PM   #5
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I just listened to a Brewing Network episode that said they work great in the smoker after being used. I think I'll try that whenever I make a wood aged beer.

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Old 12-18-2008, 08:52 PM   #6
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I soak my cubes in bourbon before re-using. I don't keep them sealed in storage, but let them air dry, so as to minimize the danger of a warm, wet, anaerobic environment.

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Old 03-26-2009, 07:14 AM   #7
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Nice, I found this thread quite helpful - the cost of cubes at my lhbs is around 5-6 bucks for a smallish bag, so i'd rather get the most for my money and have them on hand than to be forced to buy more if i want to try something woody.

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