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Old 10-23-2010, 03:10 PM   #1
Hume-ulus
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Default finding oak to use and not pay for it

Question. I've been wanting to use oak in som eof my batches but honestly dont want to buy it. I mean, really, ? Can I not just use some seasoned oak that I have in my back yard? I can "toast" it in my stove at 200 for however long I need to. Have any of you dont this or is there a significant enough difference between pin oak, bur oak, white oak, etc.... then what ever oak species is used for the oak pieces available from teh HB suppliers?

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Old 10-23-2010, 03:14 PM   #2
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I can't say that using wood from the yard is a good idea, but it's not unheard of. i got some toasted oak on ebay for just a couple of bucks. I'm sure good oak is readily available in KY though. Might not be a bad idea.

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Old 10-23-2010, 04:38 PM   #3
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Make sure it's white oak, you probably know this already, but for other lurkers... red oak smells resiny, like dirty socks. Don't use it. I also remember reading about this last year before trying it myself (decided to just spend the $2 for toasted french oak cubes) and the wood has to be seasoned longer than just what you'd season for the fireplace or bbq smoker. If I remember correctly, to get the best character from the toasting process, it needs to be aged for a year minimum. I wish I saved all the links and pdfs I read about it so I could post them, but I didn't. One thing I do remember is that American white oak is considered to be the least desirable for most brewing purposes.



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Old 10-24-2010, 03:00 AM   #4
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I appreciate the info. I almost took an axe to old aunt may's prized oak dowery chest.........
I kidd.......... The point I'm trying to make other than "please help me be cheap...." is that folks for generations have made this stuff with alot less then you adn I have available and it was good enough for them to keep makign it and bringing it to the club fight.......
SO, I think alot of us (me too) make it more than what it really is. Beer. barley, water, hops and yeast. I think I'll stuff some laquered bamboo in my secondary to see what kind of crazy buzz I get from teh industrial chemicals and the biproducts............... sounds liek a new fad! Psycho hoppy terpintine ale. awesome.

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Old 10-24-2010, 03:28 AM   #5
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i was going to do this when i eventually get around to making something with oak in, i have some white oak in the garage just waiting for me to use,i was going to remove some with a spokeshave ,toast and either soak in vodka or toss it in the boil and transfer to the fermenter.

i believe wine barrels are made with either french oak or white oak.

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Old 10-24-2010, 01:31 PM   #6
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Does anybody know if using oak that has been kilned? I have some left over scraps of white oak hardwood flooring (not the prefinished type) that I was interested in shaving and adding to the secondary after a vodka oak.

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Old 10-24-2010, 01:39 PM   #7
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Many of us on here have used these in beers quite often. I've used the same bag for years, a little goes a long way. And it's like 8 bucks for a big resealable bag.



Lately I've been steaming them in a small collander for 20 minutes, and then I soak them in a mason jar full of more jack for a week or two, then dump them bourbon and all into the secondary. And at 7 bucks for a huge bag, you get a lot of uses of them.

I got that trick from biermuncher.

I've also been dry toasting them lately. I use one of my cast iron pans, get it hot, and then drop them in the pan and move them around for 5-15 minutes or so. They will darken, and toast up really nice. I've just been going by nose more than anything.

I do that, then steam and then soak in jack.

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Old 10-25-2010, 03:51 PM   #8
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If you're in Lexington KY, your right in the middle of bourbon country. Why not call one of the distillers and ask about getting chips from them? It's been several years since I was out in the area (stuck there for a few weeks for a school), and before I got into homebrewing, but I seem to remember the distillery tour saying something about the wood from the barrels being available.

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Old 10-25-2010, 03:59 PM   #9
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Finley, If you were here in the area for a class are you by chance in the security industry? Not trying to be off topic but most of the folks I know that come here for classes are GSA, govt., locksmiths, etc.... We're the safe lock hub of the USA.
Anyway, you're right about being in the heart of bourbon country. I'll give that a shot. I have a few friends that work at Buffalo trace and hadnt even considered that. I'm not much on bourbon ales and would rather just get the oak instead of the whiskey.....
It may be a whiel but I'll get back to you guys on that.

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:36 PM   #10
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Yep government/mil security. I was down at LSI/lockmasters for a couple of weeks for some training down there.

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