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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Oak chips, just throw in the whisky?
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:13 PM   #1
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Default Oak chips, just throw in the whisky?

Hey,

Quick question, I hope

Next beer on my list is gonna be probably a pale ale, a little on the sweet side and planning to soak some medium toast french oak CHIPS in some scotch for a week or two and add to the ferment.

Two questions:

100grams (4-ish ounces) for a week in secondary, sounds about right?

Do I have to drain off the whisky or can I dump all the chips in, with the whisky, with any luck impart a little more of that sweet scotch goodness.

It wouldnt be much, just barly enough to cover the chips. But I'm worried adding 100proof booze in any ratio might be detrimental to my poor yeasts.

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Old 06-16-2010, 06:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Priemus View Post
Hey,

Quick question, I hope

Next beer on my list is gonna be probably a pale ale, a little on the sweet side and planning to soak some medium toast french oak CHIPS in some scotch for a week or two and add to the ferment.

Two questions:

100grams (4-ish ounces) for a week in secondary, sounds about right?

Do I have to drain off the whisky or can I dump all the chips in, with the whisky, with any luck impart a little more of that sweet scotch goodness.

It wouldnt be much, just barly enough to cover the chips. But I'm worried adding 100proof booze in any ratio might be detrimental to my poor yeasts.
The way I had it explained to me by a guy at my local HBSS

Boil the chips for 10-15 minutes to extract unwanted tannins and sanitize. (BTW this left some funky residue in my pot that I had to remove with an abrasive cleaner)

Then put the chips in a mason jar and put in enough whiskey to cover and let the chips soak it up for a week


I was also told to only use 1 ounce per 5 gallons
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:33 PM   #3
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Default Imo

From what I understand you should be adding the whiskey and chips in AFTER fermentation is done. And you should rack on top of the chips, not dump the chips in.

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Old 06-16-2010, 06:57 PM   #4
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If you're worried about alcohol killing the yeast beasts, add it to the beer rather than racking on top of it. And like Alehouserock said, the oak will leave a residue, so use a nonstick pot and definitely not ceramic! SWMBO was pissed to see a ring on her ceramic pot.

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Old 06-16-2010, 07:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by r_flagg View Post
If you're worried about alcohol killing the yeast beasts, add it to the beer rather than racking on top of it. And like Alehouserock said, the oak will leave a residue, so use a nonstick pot and definitely not ceramic! SWMBO was pissed to see a ring on her ceramic pot.
Bar keepers friend worked great for me for removing that. I don't know how if it would damage ceramic though
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:41 PM   #6
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I have never boiled my oak chips. I always soak them vodka to sanitize them then drop them into a sanitized hop bag and into secondary. I would agree that racking onto them would be better than throwing them into the beer in secondary. I would think that the whiskey would do the same thing as the vodka. If you boil them, you lose flavor and aroma. At least that's what I've been told and I've never had any problems so far. Plus it sounds like I avoid a lot of clean up!

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Old 06-16-2010, 07:42 PM   #7
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Ok.
1oz only (not sure on this point yet) add whiskey age a week.
Dump chips, whisky and all into secondary.
rack to secondary on top of chips/whiskey.
wait a week.
Bottle.

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Old 06-16-2010, 07:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jason_Merritt View Post
I have never boiled my oak chips. I always soak them vodka to sanitize them then drop them into a sanitized hop bag and into secondary. I would agree that racking onto them would be better than throwing them into the beer in secondary. I would think that the whiskey would do the same thing as the vodka. If you boil them, you lose flavor and aroma. At least that's what I've been told and I've never had any problems so far. Plus it sounds like I avoid a lot of clean up!
I was told it was to remove tannins so you get more vanilla ans other flavors from the oak.

Did/Have you finish beer(s) have a lot of tannins?
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:52 PM   #9
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I was told it was to remove tannins so you get more vanilla ans other flavors from the oak.

Did/Have you finish beer(s) have a lot of tannins?
I guess I don't know what a tannin tastes like. The couple of beers I have used oak chips in were great. A friend actually said that one of them was the "best beer he has ever had". We drank almost 2 full cases of that one night. What do tannins taste like?
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:52 PM   #10
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Bar keepers friend worked great for me for removing that. I don't know how if it would damage ceramic though
Luckily it wasn't permanent, it just took ALOT of scrubbing. I should get some of that bkf, I keep hearing about it.

@ Jason, I've heard to boil the chips because there's so many cracks and crevices that soaking in alcohol wouldn't do the trick, and also it helps to boil off tannins. But then again, I've also heard "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
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