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Old 01-28-2014, 07:01 PM   #1
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Default Oak chip bourbon ale question

I'm turning my summer ale into a bourbon ale by soaking oak chips in Knob Creek. I'm not sure how much to use though. A fellow master brewer says he uses 4oz for a 5 gallon batch and doesn't add the liquid. Only t he chips, so I was thinking of soaking 4oz but only using 2. That way if its too mellow I can add more later. Also how long after adding them to secondary should I leave it. Any other advice greatly appreciated. This will be my 4th beer brewed. Its already in primary now.

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Old 01-28-2014, 07:30 PM   #2
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I've used an ounce of oak soaked in bourbon and from what I've seen most people start with about a cup of bourbon for 5 gallons of stout. A summer ale might require less.

The good news is that it's SUPER easy to add bourbon at bottling time if you think it's not enough. Just taste before racking into bottling bucket and if it's not strong enough, add some more to the bottling bucket, then rack.

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Old 01-28-2014, 07:40 PM   #3
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I did just this:
I added 2 oz of oak chips and 3 vanilla beans (you skip those clearly) to 11 oz of Maker's Mark bourbon and soaked for about 2 weeks. I was just lazy and that is how long it took me to rack to secondary. I added the oak chips and vanilla beans to secondary in a hop bag then poured in 4 oz of the bourbon, leaving the rest in a mason jar for later use.

I find the bourbon smell and taste is exactly where I wanted it to be, present but not overbearing. I get a roasty taste from my porter and I still detect vanilla. It is hard to say if I detect the oak. Next time I will do the same but add 3 oz of oak and see if there is any difference.

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Old 01-28-2014, 07:59 PM   #4
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Thanks so far. I'm narrowing in on what I'm going to do. I'll end up going with an educated gut so to speak. My gut is pretty trust worthy. I'm leaning towards 2 1/2 oz of chips, enough bourbon to cover, couple vanilla beans in a jar for 7-10 days then add to secondary since the beer can sit there for quite a while, while the chips soak. Im using toasted french oak chips. They haven't come in yet. Thats why I'm behind. I should have held off on brewing.

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Old 01-29-2014, 12:54 AM   #5
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Get the vanilla in bourbon quickly. The longer they are in it, the better the extraction.

Don't forget to add the bourbon to the beer. It will have all the great flavor from the vanilla and oak.

How much bourbon? 10 ml in a standard beer =half a liter, or 18 ozs in a 5 gallon batch. Seems like a lot? 10 ml = 2 teaspoons. Add 2 teaspoons to your next beer you drink, or 1 teaspoon to half a beer. Decide from there how much you want to add to your brew.

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Old 01-29-2014, 01:17 AM   #6
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18 oz is way too much. As is the recommended 16 from a northern brewer recipe. Unless you plan in sitting on the beer for 6+ months to let it mellow, 4 oz was enough for me plus what the beans and oak absorbed. I'm very happy with mine.

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Old 01-29-2014, 01:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hello View Post
18 oz is way too much. As is the recommended 16 from a northern brewer recipe. Unless you plan in sitting on the beer for 6+ months to let it mellow, 4 oz was enough for me plus what the beans and oak absorbed. I'm very happy with mine.
It may be for you! I find it about right abd have done it many times. And what does it need to mellow for? The bourbon is probably several years old already.

If you read my post, I didn't say he should add that to his brew, I said he should see how 2 teaspoons tasted in the next beer he drinks, and make his own decision from there.
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