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kanta 08-27-2012 02:55 PM

Question about aging big beers
I have an Imperial Stout that's been in primary since 3 weeks ago or so...gravity seems stable, and I was planning on racking to secondary and adding oak chips that have been soaking in a single malt speyside scotch since the day I started the fermentation. I was planning on letting the whole mess stay in secondary until around Thanksgiving or so, then bottling and I figured I'd see if they were ready to hand out around Christmas or so (I think they'd make great Christmas presents).

My question is: Will the yeast survive all that alcohol for that long and still be able to carb in the bottles? I mean, this is going to be in the neighblorhood of 9-10% I'm guessing and it's going to have been sitting for 4 months in secondary/bottles by the time it's done. Do the yeast just go dormant and then wake up when you give them fresh sugar? for carbing? Thanks.

rexbanner 08-27-2012 02:58 PM

As long as you used a yeast with 75% attenuation, use champagne yeast to carb it.

Also be careful with the oak/scotch. Might want to do it to half, and blend to taste.

TyTanium 08-27-2012 03:00 PM

That should be ok, but they may take a while to carb up. You could just add a touch of fresh yeast at bottling.

Also, not sure I'd leave oak chips in there for a few months. B/c of more surface area, they can turn it into woodchip beer pretty quickly. What I've always done with oak chips is given them a week, then sampled every few days (yum), and bottled when it's just oakier than I want it...usually 10-12 days. The remainder of the conditioning occurs in the bottle.

HawksBrewer 08-27-2012 03:01 PM

I would absolutely not leave the beer on oak chips for months on end. A week or two is generally plenty to get the oak flavor you are looking for, and anything more can ruin the beer (think licking an oak tree). A small amount of oak cubes would be a different story, but I would reconsider the length of time on oak chips.

Instead of bulk aging, you can always do your oak now and then bottle and forget about them.

HawksBrewer 08-27-2012 03:02 PM

Ha, good work TyTanium. Way to answer the question while I was still typing. At least we agreed on info though.

kanta 08-27-2012 03:11 PM

Ok, so essentially, since the aging process is the same whether in a bottle or a carboy, I will get the same results for aging if I only flavor in secondary for a week and then bottle?

TyTanium 08-27-2012 03:17 PM

Not the same (you can search aging in bottle vs carboy), but very similar. And far more convenient, IMO (frees up carboy, sample over time, no over-oaking, etc)

kanta 08-27-2012 03:47 PM

Hmm, saw an older post by Revvy and an excerpt from Palmer...looks like maybe I should secondary for a couple of months and then add the scotch and chips for a week, then bottle and let it carb up. Not horribly worried about freeing the carboy, I have 2, and Austin Homebrew is 15 minutes away if I want to buy more

TyTanium 08-27-2012 03:51 PM

That works too. Sounds like a good schedule.

ReverseApacheMaster 08-27-2012 04:20 PM

The yeast will probably take a long time to carb the bottles if you don't add fresh yeast. Another thing to consider is after all that aging you will lose a bit of CO2 in suspension over time and you'll need to add more priming sugar to compensate for lost CO2.

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