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Old 02-25-2010, 08:36 PM   #1
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Default Oak aging- short term vs. long term

I'm getting ready to do an imperial stout that I'm planning to oak age. I've read a handful of threads here about oaking, but I'd really like to get some input on how long I should let the beer sit on the cubes.

My impression is that short term is a "taste it and see when it's done" kind of thing, and that once it's good, you bottle it and that's that. So does this mean that long-term (like the people who suggest 6 months, etc) is basically going way over that point, then mellowing to a tasty finish?

If that's the case, what are the differences in the finished product? I guess my options are:

1. Oak age for a week or two in the secondary, bottle it.
2. Oak age for a week or two in the secondary, then transfer to a clean carboy for longer-term aging off the wood.
3. Oak age for long-term, 6 or 7 months, then bottle.

Which of these methods do you recommend, and what's likely to be the difference in the final product?

Thanks for your input!

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Old 02-25-2010, 08:43 PM   #2
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If you're oaking with cubes or chips, it usually is enough after a few weeks. Once they give up their flavor, it doesn't get much stronger unless you add fresh cubes. I will say that even just oaking on one ounce chips (in three gallons) for two weeks was plenty for me. It took about 4 months to mellow in the bottle into a nice smooth beer. Before that, it was too oaky.

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Old 02-27-2010, 01:28 PM   #3
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bump

Anyone else wanna chime in on this?

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Old 02-27-2010, 04:00 PM   #4
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I recently oaked a dark amber and there was enough oak flavor after 4 days. I used 1 oz of french oak chips for 5 gal. I then bottled and will probably age in bottles for a few months. There's less chance of oxidation in bottles than in a carboy. Oak cubes will take longer than chips to get flavor. Just keep tasting to see because you can't un-oak. You should download jamil show podcast and brew strong podcast on oak aging , they give some really good info on both these shows.

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Old 03-01-2010, 04:32 PM   #5
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Chips are done in about a week and give a straight, up front flavor. Cubes are more mellow and will slowly does your beer over 6-8 months. This is my preferred method, and the one that will best replicate aging in a barrel. The oak will mellow over time, but I don't think it should be something you plan on.

We have a nice article on using oak in beer, it may help you understand more of what you are looking for: http://morebeer.com/content/using_oak_in_beer

Good luck!

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