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Old 02-01-2011, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default Adding Oak Aged flavor to an oatmeal stout

So for my second attempt I'm doing an oatmeal stout. It's a kit from the brew shop in Kansas City. I learned a lot from my first batch so here's hoping my 2nd batch goes a bit smoother.

I had a question before I start it though. I'd like to add some "oak aged" flavor to make the batch similar to Yetti Oak Aged Oatmeal Stout. I saw a few threads about it but they both mentioned soaking the chips in bourbon.

My questions are as follows:
1) I'm not really much of a hard alcohol drinker, would it be safe to skip the soaking the chips in Alcohol or is that step primarily to sanitize the chips?
2) Can I flash char the chips on a fire pit first or is that a bad idea?
3) Should I order those chips especially for brewing or are they basically the same as the chips I get at the grocery store, but more size friendly?
4) Anything else I should know?

Thanks!!

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Old 02-01-2011, 06:38 PM   #2
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1) It's a prevalent myth that soaking chips in spirits will "sanitize" them. I heard on Jamil's podcast that you'd need to soak them in something like 180 proof liquor to actually sanitize them. I've dumped chips straight into my secondary without any sanitizing, and have not had infections.

2) You can dry sanitize in an oven at 400 for an hour or so, if you're concerned with infection. Charring them might change the toast profile.

3) If you can find oak chips in the grocery store, go for it. Where I live they're all hickory and mesquite.

4) Yeti isn't an oatmeal stout, but it's still very good. They age it in old Stranahan's whiskey barrels for a year before they sell it. I enjoy a bit of oak flavor in most beers, especially dark ones.

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Old 02-01-2011, 07:34 PM   #3
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I steamed mine similar to veggies. Also I used 1/2oz in a low IBU IPA and I think it was a touch much, but they are only 3 weeks old in bottles and could get better.

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Old 02-01-2011, 07:53 PM   #4
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Oak age mellows over time, but this is something that really depends on your personal taste. I used 2oz in my last oatmeal stout, and it was awesome, but as I said, I love oak flavor.

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Old 02-19-2011, 11:56 PM   #5
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I steamed mine similar to veggies. Also I used 1/2oz in a low IBU IPA and I think it was a touch much, but they are only 3 weeks old in bottles and could get better.
Do you need to soak them in water before steaming?10 min steam?
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:01 AM   #6
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I put 3/4 ounce of chips in my old ale... As an insurance policy against anything bad hitching a ride, I poured a few ounces of boiling water on top of them, covered the jar, let it cool, and pitched all of it in... I think that if you steam them, you're also steaming away part of the flavor. Putting them into boiling water, and then letting them cool (the container was sanitized first), and pitching it all in, means you lose pretty much nothing...

I've had the chips in the old ale for almost 5 weeks now... Last sample tasted really good... Planning to bottle it up tomorrow...

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Old 02-20-2011, 12:15 AM   #7
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Hmm. I guess toasting them would help intensify the flavor?So maybe toast before steaming. I dont know how to toast really and havent found the link.The oak chips i have say to soak in water for an hour. So should i boil some water with the chips and cool it and throw it all in?

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Old 02-20-2011, 12:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jonmohno View Post
Hmm. I guess toasting them would help intensify the flavor?So maybe toast before steaming. I dont know how to toast really and havent found the link.The oak chips i have say to soak in water for an hour. So should i boil some water with the chips and cool it and throw it all in?
What toast level are they now? If you toast them more, it will change what they'll give the brew... Typically, you get the chips already toasted so that you don't need to worry about such things.

When I did the boiled water soak, it was about an hour before they cooled down enough to be safe to pitch...

IF you use the oven, bake them as low as you can (around 200-225)... I wouldn't go much higher, so that you don't alter the toast level... Although, even that temp might be too high.

This could all be just really overboard though. Chances are, you won't get any kind of nasty element hitching a ride on the chips (unless the bag smells really nasty inside, and there's things growing on the chips). A blast of boiling water (like I did) should kill off most of what you could get on them... Look at it this way, you can sanitize something in hot water quickly... At 155F, it takes ~1 minute of contact to sanitize... So the amount of time needed at 212F is very, very shot (probably a few seconds, at most)... That's how they do things in the food industry... I think that the directions that say an hour are just to make sure they're covered in case someone doesn't do anything, and gets something nasty...

Since the chips I used have been in the brew for over a month already, and nothing funky has happened, I feel that the method I used is safe... Do what you like, and gives you peace of mind, but I think long boiling, steaming, roasting, are severe overkill... Just my $0.10 worth...
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:45 AM   #9
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untoasted.I just chewed one and its pretty good,it says soak an hour for wine and its ld carlson. so if i toast them i dont need to steam or boil or soak in water? Whats the need to soak then? just for wine? I understand the toasting for different flavors but the soaking in water is this needed?

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Old 02-20-2011, 12:58 AM   #10
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untoasted.I just chewed one and its pretty good,it says soak an hour for wine and its ld carlson. so if i toast them i dont need to steam or boil or soak in water? Whats the need to soak then? just for wine? I understand the toasting for different flavors but the soaking in water is this needed?
Never seen untoasted chips... I've seen from light to heavy, but never untoasted... You sure they're not just light (on the label)?

If untoasted, then you'll want to put a toast onto them. I've not looked up how, exactly, to do that, but I don't believe it's super easy to get them all even without a correct setup (hence buying them already at a toast level)...

If you toast them yourself, then once they've cooled to a safe temp, you should be able to toss them into the brew... Provided you make sure nothing can contaminate them between the end of the toasting, and when you pitch them in...
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