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Old 09-22-2011, 02:17 PM   #1
DavesNotHere
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Default Oak Chips in an IPA.. 2ndary Ferm Use?

Hello all. I started home brewing about 3 weeks ago. I started off with an Irish Red Ale. Before I started doing anything, I read as much as I could on many forums. So...I put the Red into the carboy, and let it sit for 2 weeks. Took a gravity reading 3 times over 8 days. It was stable. I let it sit for another week, and then bottled it two days ago.

Now I'm working on an English IPA. A local store has ingredient kits. This was one of them. This kit came with Oak chips, commonly used in wines, I guess...(from the description on the package). The Instructions that came with the kit said to add the chips to the secondary fermenter. However, I've read that the use of a secondary fermenter is not advisable unless doing and actual secondary fermentation (i.e. fruits, more yeast, etc).

Now... I haven't been able to determine if the oak chips will cause a fermentation, or just add flavor. Given that it's not a yeast, or sugar, I don't think it will cause a fermentation... But still wondering if this is a good use of a secondary, or if I can just add the oak chips to the primary.

Thanks!

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Old 09-22-2011, 02:51 PM   #2
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If you are not excessively dry-hopping and/or harvesting yeast, or fruit additions or letting the ale age for extended periods of time, throw them in your primary, it'll be perfectly fine.

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Old 09-22-2011, 04:06 PM   #3
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The whole "is secondary necessary" topic can go on and on...everyone has their opinions. I personally don't use is much unless I am dryhoping or making additions. I transfer to secondary when adding oak, but I don't think you have to. Make sure to sanitize the oak chips though. You can do this by putting them in a microwavable bowl and add just enough water to cover them, then microwave for a couple minutes. You can then toss the chips and small amount of water into the fermenter. The oak just adds flavor and will not cause additional fermentation. Will you be dryhoping this brew as well?

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Old 09-22-2011, 08:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryceL View Post
Will you be dryhoping this brew as well?
The kit I bought does not have instructions or ingredients for dry hopping. I know dry hopping is how IPAs came into existence...but...I think this kit is for newbies like me. The kit came with 3 separate foil packs of hop pellets:
1 oz Magnum (Bittering, Boiled for 60 minutes)
2 oz British Kent Golding (Flavoring, boiled for last 10 minutes)
2 oz British Kent Golding (Aroma, boiled for last 1 minute).

The only extra stuff/instructions included are "1 oz French Oak chips - Added to secondary Fermenter."

The kit came with 9 lbs Light Malt Extract and 1 lb Dry malt extract. Also, 1.5 lbs Crystal...

Do you think dry hopping now would be too much on the hops side?
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavesNotHere View Post
The kit I bought does not have instructions or ingredients for dry hopping. I know dry hopping is how IPAs came into existence...but...I think this kit is for newbies like me. The kit came with 3 separate foil packs of hop pellets:
1 oz Magnum (Bittering, Boiled for 60 minutes)
2 oz British Kent Golding (Flavoring, boiled for last 10 minutes)
2 oz British Kent Golding (Aroma, boiled for last 1 minute).

The only extra stuff/instructions included are "1 oz French Oak chips - Added to secondary Fermenter."

The kit came with 9 lbs Light Malt Extract and 1 lb Dry malt extract. Also, 1.5 lbs Crystal...

Do you think dry hopping now would be too much on the hops side?
Personally, I love hops and especially with an IPA I don't think you can go wrong dryhoping. It really adds that nice bold hop aroma that IPA's are known for when you pop open a bottle. If this was my brew I would definitely dryhop...maybe stick with the BKG and dryhop with 2oz. That being said, since you are just starting out you probably don't want to mess with the recipes too much until you get your bearings with the whole process. If you decide to go for it, I would put my hops and oak in a secondary and siphon onto it after 2-3 weeks in primary.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:00 AM   #6
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I just did a Octane IPA from Midwest and it included oak chips for the secondary. I tasted while bottling and I really liked the taste it added to the beer. As for dry hopping I have not do that yet with any of my beers.

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Old 09-23-2011, 02:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BryceL View Post
If you decide to go for it, I would put my hops and oak in a secondary and siphon onto it after 2-3 weeks in primary.
Would you suggest adding more yeast and/or sugar (corn, table, etc) to kick the fermentation off again in the secondary?
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DavesNotHere View Post
Would you suggest adding more yeast and/or sugar (corn, table, etc) to kick the fermentation off again in the secondary?
The term "secondary fermentation" is a bit of a (I don't know the right word to use - I am trying to say is it does not mean what it sounds like it means ), think of it more as the second stage of fermentation - The main (primary) ferment has occured and now you are wanting to let it age/clean up. This can happen either in the initial fermenter or after transfering it to a new one. You don't actually want to have another (primary) ferment to occer after the first one - unless the brew specifically needs this to happen.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattd2 View Post
The term "secondary fermentation" is a bit of a (I don't know the right word to use - I am trying to say is it does not mean what it sounds like it means ), think of it more as the second stage of fermentation - The main (primary) ferment has occured and now you are wanting to let it age/clean up. This can happen either in the initial fermenter or after transfering it to a new one. You don't actually want to have another (primary) ferment to occer after the first one - unless the brew specifically needs this to happen.
+1 on this. You don't want to add any additional yeast or sugar to your secondary.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:46 PM   #10
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When I want to add oak, I sanitize the chips by soaking in a good whiskey for a couple of hours then adding the whole thing to the fermenter. This adds a nice subtle note of Awesome, as well as the oak , and boosts the ABV...

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