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Old 03-07-2011, 03:38 PM   #1
Mischief_Brewing
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Default Sourcing Oak for a Stout

I have a huge stout in primary chugging away and want to add some port soaked oak to secondary.

I've been building a red oak liquor cabinet and have a ton of scraps from the oak boards purchased from home depot and lowes. Does anybody know if these are safe to use or if they are treated with chemicals and should be avoided?

Thanks!

FYI, the website says they're untreated in the specs tab, but I wasn't sure if anything was done to them during the process of cutting them at the mill.

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:02 PM   #2
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If it's scraps of plywood used for the paneling don't use them because there's adhesive between the layers. The other stuff will be fine.

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:02 PM   #3
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I have heard that lumber from big box stores sometimes has a thin layer of wax on the outside to help prevent discoloring. Maybe this is only for the rough lumber (pine, fir, etc). I have been told that a light sanding takes this off but if it's scrap woold that would be a pain to sand.

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:03 PM   #4
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No they are not. Apperently the oak used for millwork has additives as preservatives and to reduce cracking etc.

Red oak is also not a good variety as it apparently adds some harsh off-flavors.

I've done lot of reading on this recently. I can't find the link about the chemicals but I read it last week.

edit:

Here's the link. http://www.vomdes.org/tools_and_tips/oak_cubes.pdf

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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Thanks dawgman! That was another question, is red oak good for this application.

Looks like I won't take the cheap route and risk ruining a 7-8 month 13% project...

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischief_Brewing View Post
Thanks dawgman! That was another question, is red oak good for this application.

Looks like I won't take the cheap route and risk ruining a 7-8 month 13% project...
Re-reading some of the stuff it appears that the biggest issue with untreated red oak is that it lacks the vanillin that gives so much character to oak aged beverages.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:54 PM   #7
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The risk is really not worth the reward, in my opinion. You can pick up a couple ounces of oak cubes from your LHBS or an online retailer like northern brewer pretty cheaply. Unless you were 100% sure there were no chemicals on your lumber, and were able to successfully toast the oak to the level you want, and decided that this particular kind of oak was the right tasting stuff... easier to go with the commercial stuff.

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Old 03-07-2011, 10:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pfooti View Post
The risk is really not worth the reward, in my opinion. You can pick up a couple ounces of oak cubes from your LHBS or an online retailer like northern brewer pretty cheaply. Unless you were 100% sure there were no chemicals on your lumber, and were able to successfully toast the oak to the level you want, and decided that this particular kind of oak was the right tasting stuff... easier to go with the commercial stuff.
I would agree if it were me but sometimes it is fun to try to do a DIY solution. Kind of like growing your own hops. You can now buy them rather cheap but some still like to grow them for the fun of it.
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:41 AM   #9
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No, the scrap is full of chemicals. I worked at in high school a company that treated wood for the big companies. They would soak the oak in chemicals to dry it out quickly. It was not kiln dried. I am not sure what was in it but it could not have been good. I would find some real trees or just by the wood chips form the LHBS.

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Old 03-08-2011, 10:32 AM   #10
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Get yourself some hungarian or french oak medium toast cubes. Let them sit in the beer for at least three months if not up to six. I have a stout with more than 2oz sitting in secondary right now. I soaked them in rum and dumped the rum in with the cubes. So my beer has great oak and rum notes.

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