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Old 03-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
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Here's my dilemma:

This past weekend I tried one of the best beers I've had in awhile. It was Bittermonk from Anchorage brewing. Bittermonk is a Belgian DIPA. After primary the beer is racked into Chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces. After aging its bottled with fresh yeast and bottle conditioned.

My problem is the chardonnay barrel. Its next to impossible to find a used 5 gallon barrel (all I'm finding are fresh 5 gallon barrels).

My proposed solution was to try canning and sealing some oak chips inside a mason jar with some chardonnay. Let it sit for a month or two. Drain the liquid, toss the chips into a secondary, rack from the primary into the secondary and add my Brett.

Anybody see any problem with this or have other suggestions? Any input is appreciated.

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:24 PM   #2
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Why go through the trouble of canning? I'd also go with cubes rather than chips or you might get more oak flavor than you want. Personally I'd go as far as boiling the cubes before soaking in wine to further reduce the oak flavor. Also wouldn't think you'd need to soak more than a week or two, but I've never soaked my oak.

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:28 PM   #3
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I used oak chips soaked in cab sauv in a recent brew. Only soaked for a couple weeks. The oak cubes need more time for the liquid to full penetrate.

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNGabe View Post
Why go through the trouble of canning? I'd also go with cubes rather than chips or you might get more oak flavor than you want. Personally I'd go as far as boiling the cubes before soaking in wine to further reduce the oak flavor. Also wouldn't think you'd need to soak more than a week or two, but I've never soaked my oak.
Yeah I've never soaked oak either. I thought canning would just be safer wasn't sure if the alcohol content of the chardonnay would be enough to keep nasties away.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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rainy did you experience any vinegar flavors from acetobacter?

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Old 03-27-2013, 08:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrshotshot

Yeah I've never soaked oak either. I thought canning would just be safer wasn't sure if the alcohol content of the chardonnay would be enough to keep nasties away.
I don't know much about wine, but I'd guess at least 10%. I routinely throw all sorts of undanitized things like fruit into beers with much lower abv with no problems to date.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:12 PM   #7
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I just made and bottle two beers that I used chardonnay soaked oak chips in. I had taken 4oz of oak chips, covered with chardonnay, covered and sealed for a week. At that point I split the two up and tossed it in a BGS and an IPA.

Left the chips in about a week and then bottled. The BGS has a strong pear type aroma and some flavor. I dont get much oak but the chardonnay flavor is very noticeable. Incredible beer IMO, really covers up the 9% ABV.

The IPA has subtle hints of oak and chardonnay but the tropical hop flavors dominate.

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Old 03-28-2013, 07:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpatrickv View Post
I just made and bottle two beers that I used chardonnay soaked oak chips in. I had taken 4oz of oak chips, covered with chardonnay, covered and sealed for a week. At that point I split the two up and tossed it in a BGS and an IPA.

Left the chips in about a week and then bottled. The BGS has a strong pear type aroma and some flavor. I dont get much oak but the chardonnay flavor is very noticeable. Incredible beer IMO, really covers up the 9% ABV.

The IPA has subtle hints of oak and chardonnay but the tropical hop flavors dominate.
Great info! I'll probably start somewhere around here and adjust from there.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:35 PM   #9
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And keep the sealed container in the fridge for a couple weeks at least. The fridge temps keep the nasties away. And use the liquid as well. The oak is not only soaking up the liquids flavors,but the liquid is soaking resins out of the wood.
Ever leave wood chunks for the bbq pit soaking to long? You noticed how the water was turning brown? That's the resins soaking out,same thing here.

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Old 03-28-2013, 07:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
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And keep the sealed container in the fridge for a couple weeks at least. The fridge temps keep the nasties away. And use the liquid as well. The oak is not only soaking up the liquids flavors,but the liquid is soaking resins out of the wood.
Ever leave wood chunks for the bbq pit soaking to long? You noticed how the water was turning brown? That's the resins soaking out,same thing here.
I left my chips in a sealed container on the counter but the fridge wouldn't hurt. I also agree with pitching the liquid into the beer with the chips as well. I had put my chips into a hop bag then poured the liquid into it as well.


Also, let us know how it turns out! What are you going to be brewing?(A Belgian DIPA?)
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