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Old 05-10-2010, 10:51 PM   #1
JBrady
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hello, my next beer will be my first with oak chips. I was just wondering how many ounces would be considered a normal amount for a 5 gallon batch of beer? I do want a strong oak flavor so I am going to use austinhomebrews french oak chips. Can oak chips be added to the end of the boil? If adding to the fermenter, do you need to sanitize them? Thanks for any info on using oak.

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Old 05-10-2010, 10:58 PM   #2
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Never used oak chips (yet), but I would think sanitizing them would kill some of the flavor they would otherwise give you.

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Old 05-10-2010, 11:03 PM   #3
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You want to add the oak chips to the secondary! You definitely don't want to boil them in your boil- you'd have tannin beer. Once fermentation has stopped, rack onto the oak chips in secondary. No need to sanitize them, especially if you're opening a new fresh package.

One ounce for 2-3 weeks or so should be about right. If you leave them too long, you'll have to age the beer longer. I oaked an Imperial Amber last year for 10 days (3 gallons with one ounce) and it took 5 months for it to age enough where it didn't overwhelm you with oak tannins. After those 5 months, though, it was heavenly!

Taste a small sample after 10 days. If it's not quite enough, leave it another 4 days. If it's a bit too much, but just a bit, it's perfect! That's the goal. If you love the flavor, that is ok too, but it'll fade and mellow with age, so you want just a hint too much.

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Old 05-10-2010, 11:06 PM   #4
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I've used oak chips once. I used about 1oz. along with 2 vanilla beans for a fairly high gravity stout. I soaked them in bourbon for a few days before adding them to secondary. I then left them in secondary for around a month. I would say it produced a moderate to strong oak flavor.

I don't remember why specifically, but I know I was strongly warned against adding oak directly to the boil.

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Old 05-10-2010, 11:07 PM   #5
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thanks yooper, I don't secondary so I'll just add them to the primary after one week when fermentation slows, then I'll bottle the beer after another two weeks keeping me on my 21 day primary technique. Does that sound good enough?

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Old 05-10-2010, 11:33 PM   #6
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thanks yooper, I don't secondary so I'll just add them to the primary after one week when fermentation slows, then I'll bottle the beer after another two weeks keeping me on my 21 day primary technique. Does that sound good enough?
Seems kind of rushed to me, but it really depends on a variety of factors like OG of the beer and ingredients.

I don't do many secondaries, but I would for oaking. You probably want to get the beer off of the yeast cake, and move it onto the oak. If you just drop the oak into the primary, it'll settle in the trub and you will be "trubbing" your beer, not really "oaking" it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:36 PM   #7
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ah thanks, i was assuming that the oak chips floated. I'll secondary them.

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Old 05-11-2010, 12:14 AM   #8
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Ive used oak chips in a Black Lager that I also soaked in bourbon for a week prior to using, I did give them a quick sanitizing in a screen strainer
over boiling water for about 15 minutes. I think better safe than sorry..I added them into my secondary. And yes the chips will float.

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Old 05-11-2010, 12:16 AM   #9
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Ive used oak chips in a Black Lager that I also soaked in bourbon for a week prior to using, I did give them a quick sanitizing in a screen strainer
over boiling water for about 15 minutes. I think better safe than sorry..I added them into my secondary. And yes the chips will float.
That's strange- I've been brewing for years, and winemaking for even longer, and my chips sink. Weird.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:42 AM   #10
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Yea mine floated, had maybe a few sink, but all the rest floated on top or were clinging onto the side of the carboy..Maybe it has to do with the size of the chips ?

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