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Old 06-18-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
jeremydgreat
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Default Oak Chips, Rum, and Porter... oh my!

Hey all. So, I'm set to do some brewing in a couple hours and I'm trying something new- oak chips! I'll be soaking them in some 12yr aged spiced rum (really sweet/wonderful stuff) and adding them to my secondary. Here's my plan:

  1. Brew porter (a standard recipe)
  2. Put 4 ounces of American Oak Chips (lightly toasted) into a plastic bag, and pour in 1/2 the bottle of rum. Let that sit for a week or so, while my porter ferments in primary.
  3. Bottle 3 gallons of my porter so I can have it as a compare/contrast baseline beer.
  4. In my secondary, I'll add add the oak chips and rum and then the other 3 gallons of porter.
  5. After 2-4 weeks I'll bottle the secondary when it tastes right.

Here are a few questions:
  • Sanitizing oak chips- Since I'm pouring 40% alcohol over the chips, is this enough to sanitize them? Or should I boil them first and let them dry? Or steam them?
  • Is 4oz of oak chips for 3 gallons of porter too much? If so, what's your recommendation?
  • Is a zip lock baggy okay for soaking the oak chips?
  • How long would you guess the porter should sit on the oak/rum for?
  • When I add the chips and rum mixture, should I get rid of some (or all) of the liquid rum before putting it into the secondary carboy?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. This is only like my 6th batch of homebrew and until this point, I've been following pretty classic recipes.

Thanks!
~ Jeremy
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:30 PM   #2
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I used 4oz of medium toast French oak chips that I started soaking in 5 jiggers (7.5oz) of 8 year old Kentucky bourbon at the point where I pitched the yeast on the dark ale. I mixed it in one of those glad deli meat containers we save. Thoroughly washed & rinsed,of course. I placed the mix,covered in the fridge the whole time.
It has already soaked up 2/3 of the bourbon. So you def do not need half the bottle. You just want enough to flavor the chips. When brew reaches FG,I'll use a muslin grain sack (looks like a big hop sock),hold it open over secondary bucket,& pour chips & all through sock & tie off. Drop it in the bucket & rack ale onto it.
I'll leave it at least a week,maybe two,with the amount of chips/bourbon being used. But this amount is for 23L (6.072G) of dark ale. 4oz of chips & half a bottle is way too much for only 3 gallons. I'd just do the whole 6G with 4oz chips,& 5 jiggers of liquor. And a jigger is 1.5oz,or a shot & a half.
You don't need to sanitize the oak chips,since your putting 80-86 proof liquor on them. Any lil nasties will get alcohol poisoning.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:59 PM   #3
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Oh, you'd put the chips/rum in the fridge while they marinate? I was just going to put them in a cupboard.

Thank you for the advice by the way!

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Old 06-18-2011, 10:22 PM   #4
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I've only done one oaked recipe but I found that 2 oz oak chips in 5 gallons for three weeks was more than plenty for an oaked IPA. I placed chips in a mason jar and just covered with bourbon. I bottled it back in March and it is really hitting its peak right now, the oak mellowed a bit over time. When I do it again I will probably back off to only 2 weeks on the chips or I will get cubes. Do yourself a favor and listen to Brew Strong's podcast on wood aging before you jump into it.

http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/sho...-08-Wood-Aging

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Old 06-19-2011, 12:21 PM   #5
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I was planning on conditioning the ale for a couple months after bottling myself. I've read that the oak/liquor flavor mellows to where The oak flavor brings out vanilla & what not from the bourbon.
I was shooting for a fall to turkey day brew anyway. Thought it best to brew it now so as to have ample conditioning time.
Where 2oz is said to be plenty,that takes longer to infuse into the ale. I thought 4oz would work a little faster for a like level of aroma/flavor. We'll see in September or so...
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:44 PM   #6
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I had a porter in primary for 3 weeks, i used 4 oz of medium french oak chips, just covered them with bourbon and soaked them for the last 2 weeks of the primary, then racked into secondary on the bourbon chips. let it go 10 days. Kegged it up and it really imparted alot of the wood flavor in just 10 days. It made the finish VERY dry and im hoping it mellows down some as it ages. I buried that keg back for awhile and will sample from it again ina couple months. It also has pecan flavoring to be fair so it had alot going on, i think when the flavors marry it will be very good. I am worried that 4oz in 3 gallons for 2-4 weeks would overdo it. Oh and i did put both chips and bourbon in secondary but it was only maybe 8-10oz

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Old 06-19-2011, 03:07 PM   #7
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Sounds like mine. I used 4oz of medium toast French oak chips with 5jiggers,or 7.5oz of bourbon. Just a little shy of 1C. 2/3's of that got soaked up,so it sounds like we're on the right track. If you got good flavor in 10 days with a 3G batch,I'll try 12-14 with my 23L (6.072G) batch.
I think I'll check it in 10 days anyway,just to see how it's going compared to yours.
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