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Old 08-26-2011, 12:56 AM   #1
Craigweiser
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Default Oak cubes or chips?

I'm aging a bourbon stout with oak for 6 months in the secondary - what should I use for this, chips or cubes. How much should I use to get a good background oakiness that isn't overwhelming? If it helps, the OG was 1.092 before adding a cup of bourbon.

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:02 AM   #2
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if you are aging that long, either cubes or spirals. chips are very harsh and one dimensional due to their charring on both sides. they are not intended for long term storage.

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:11 AM   #3
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Cubes, spirals or staves would be much better than chips. I've found that chips change after about 3 months (from when added). If you go with cubes you'll have a much more stable flavor. The batches I used chips in went from nice oak flavors to tasting of vanilla (all oak was gone). Cubes don't have this change.

I prefer to use medium toast oak in my batches. I simply boil up some water (in the tea kettle) then pour it over the cubes, in a glass jar, with a lid. Cover the jar and let cool to room temp. Then just pitch into the batch and let it ride.

I would get some Hungarian oak (medium toast) cubes, or spirals for this. I make it a point to have some on hand at all times. Never know when I'll sample a batch and decide it would benefit from some time on oak.

Do you plan on bottling or kegging this batch?

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:33 AM   #4
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I haven't decided, but leaning towards bottling. I plan to soak in bourbon for a couple days before pitching.

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:38 AM   #5
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If you've already added bourbon to the brew, I wouldn't soak the oak in more. IMO, sanitize via a small hot water bath (use just enough to cover the cubes, then seal up). Especially since you're looking to gain OAK flavor in the batch. You can always add a shot of burbon if you want more of that flavor.

I'm getting more into kegging these days. I have the hardware coming to be able to bottle off the faucets too. With that, I'll be able to keg entire batches and bottle up a few as needed. IMO, far tighter control over carbonation this way. It only takes a couple of over carbonated bottles to see the benefit of using CO2 via a regulator for carbonating.

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:57 AM   #6
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Soak those puppies in the bourbon as long as you can stand it. The bourbon breaks down the fibers in the wood and allows for better extraction of flavors. It makes it more balanced in my experience. Not too much of either one; both get to work in great harmony.

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Old 08-26-2011, 02:10 AM   #7
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ThAnks for the info. Haven't added bourbon to brew. Will take your advice Maine. How much of the cubes?

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Old 08-26-2011, 02:17 AM   #8
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I've added 3 oz of Hungarian Medium Toast cubes to two 5 gal batches for 4 weeks and both are marvelously balanced. One was my Kate the Great clone and the other is my Curieux clone. Both of which have remarkably similar characteristics to the originals.

Best wishes to your big beer. Keep the thread up to date with your recipe and tasting notes once its all done! Thanks.

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