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Matteo57 01-05-2012 03:34 PM

Toasting oak chips
So I am soon to be throwing in some oak chips into a stout that has been in primary for about 3 weeks now. I was going to throw them in about a week or so before I bottle for extended aging.
Anyways, I have heard people refer to toasting oak chips but also have heard that chips come toasted. I can't find info on whether I have to toast my chips (i.e. in the oven) or not. I want some vanilla flavor/oakiness in my stout from the chips and was thinking on letting them sit about a week but tasting to make sure it doesn't get too oaky!
Anyways, sorry if it's a stupid question, just trying to figure out what I need to do.
The package just says american oak chips from morebeer. On their website they only have cubes though. This was bought at one of their shops.


liquiditynerd 01-05-2012 03:44 PM

There was just a thread about that on one of the wine forums but I,m noy super good with this iPad so I can't link. Lemme see if ican find it on the CPU. The lighter oak gives that mouth feel your looking for, toasting will increase the charred oak flav. Hold on lemme use the other cpu

K this was in the wine forum and may not answer your quesstion completly.

helibrewer 01-05-2012 03:55 PM

I would use toasted cubes which you can find at your LHBS. For vanilla use Americam Oak toasted to medium plus (M+). Use about 1 oz. per 5 gallons. You will need a few months on the oak, a week is far too short.

NadoHawk 01-06-2012 12:27 AM

If you are to toast the wood, make sure you soak it for at least twenty minutes...overnight preferable. That way when you add the flame, you don't actually burn the wood. It's the same basic process as used in the culinary world for preparing the wood to be smoked.

Matteo57 01-06-2012 01:02 AM

I already have chips, the LHBS guy suggested them. I have seen a lot more suggestions to use cubes.... I would rather not drive 40 minutes to my shop and switch them.... do they impart that much different of flavors? I have heard that the chips impart the flavor faster and the cubes slower and steadier?
Also... how long would I want to toast them if I was going to? I have heard 1 week is a decent period of time for chips...

NordeastBrewer77 01-06-2012 01:10 AM


Originally Posted by liquiditynerd (Post 3630619)
I,m noy super good with this iPad

ya don't say! :ban:

nah, i'm just razzing' ya, good link. :mug:

squirrelly 01-06-2012 02:17 AM

For a quick vanilla oak flavor I would chops non-toasted is the way to go. A lot of wine makers will use cubes for a genuine oak flavor during aging. While this works, and imparts a great flavor on the beer/wine, it takes quite a while for that oakiness to come through due to the larger surface area of the cube.

Chips will really start showing their colors after about 2 weeks conditioning, and too much longer than that you can really over do the oak. Oak is a really cool background note to add complexity to a beer, but you don't want to be whacked in the head with an oak branch when you pop the cap on your brew.

Usually people recommend, and I follow this as well, throw in 2 oz or so of oak to condition for about 9 days. Draw a sample and taste it. Repeat each day until you've reached the level of oak desired.

One more thing. Be sure to sanitize your chips either by steaming or boiling them prior to pitching unless you want a Brett beer...

TyTanium 01-06-2012 02:42 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's a helpful graph on toasting oak from Home Distillation of Alcohol

I used 1oz of oak chips for 10 days and its barely noticable, I'll do 2oz next time. (but it was a big beer, 1.080 OG)

EDIT: Just full disclosure, I think this is a New Zealand website. Home distillation is largely illegal in the US.

Nemleu 01-08-2012 09:40 PM

How does infusing 1 - 2 oz. of Medium Toast Oak Cubes in Bourbon for a week or two work? Iím planning on an Imperial Vanilla Bourbon Porter, (Denny Conn) and reading the Oak would be a nice addition.

unionrdr 01-08-2012 10:00 PM

When I made my whiskely ale,I brewed my dark ale recipe. While that was fermenting,I had 4oz of medium toast French oak chips with 5 jiggers of Beam's Black in an airtight container in the fridge. By the tome the ale hit FG,the chips had soaked up 2/3's of the bourbon.
I poured the chips & all through a hop sock into secondary,tied it off,& dropped it in. Then racked the dark ale on top of it. 8 days later,it was fairly prominent. It sat in bottles for 9 weeks & 6 days before fridge time of 2 weeks to get good flavor,decent head & carbonation.
It seems darker beers take longer to condition,the same as higher gravity ones. Next time,I'm going to use only 3oz of the medium toast French oak chips,with only 2 or 3 jiggers of bourbon. That should let the malts shine through a bit more. It's all to easy for the bourbon & oak to overpower the malts & hops.
By the by,the reason I also added the liquid bourbon on the chips that didn't soak up is simple. Just as the chips soak up the bourbon flavor,the liquid soaks the resins (read flavor) out of the wood. Ever leave bbq chips soaking too long? The water turns brownish. Same thing here.

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