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Old 05-15-2009, 03:36 AM   #1
eschatz's Avatar
Dec 2007
Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 3,434
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This is an outline that I created after listening to the Jamil Show podcast, Brewstrong, and reading the Classic Styles book. I am not an expert in the area of wood aging. This was done in preparation of oaking some beers of mine and I thought that others could use the information that I collected. Feel free to comment and make suggestions about the information here. There is a section for links and tried-and-true recipes at the bottom of the post. Please contribute to this compilation.

Information provided by:
---Jamil Zainasheff
---John Palmer
---Jason Petros

Wood Aging = having your beer in contact with toasted oak (barrel, chips, cubes, staves, etc.)

Generally only use oak.

3 types of oak for fermentation:
------Light can give coconut/fresh oak flavors
------Med can give vanilla
------Smoother than American varieties
------Heavy can give spicy clovey flavors

All types are toasted to light, medium, medium plus, or heavy toast.

Toasting of the oak creates melanoidins:
---Heat breaks down carbohydrates into sugars in the wood
---Heavier toasts create maliards and charring, also confectionary compounds (custard/caramel/butterscotch flavors)

Does wood character remain stable or deteriorate over time?
---It does lessen to some extent, it is slow though

Tannins (good body and mouthfeel) can come from wood

Oak chips last about 2 weeks before tannins start to leach into the beer (body/complexity tannins) too long and it can become astringent (bad tannins (sour puckering)- can add to dryness of finish)

“Doing it right” requires slow dosing of your beer over the course of months

Higher alcohol beers possibly draw out more compounds form the wood.

Preparing your wood for the beer:
---Usually just throw the wood in (no sanitary steps)
---Some put wood in water in microwave (steam)
---Some boil water, throw chips in, shake a little, let cool, throw juice and wood in
fermenter. (Jamil sometimes pressure cooks his wood)
------Usually only sanitize for long aging beers (never any chem. (starsan, idophore)
--- Brett (and other sour critters) can live in wood (takes a long time to become problematic)
------You can pasteurize the wood at 170 F for 5 min.

Different flavor in cubes vs. chips
---Chips are toasted on both sides (generally one overall flavor)
---Cubes are taken form already toasted barrels so they’re only toasted on one side (creates multiple flavor profiles)
---Long aging beers = cubes

Chips in fermenter:---This can possibly over-oak a beer.
---Yeast will scrub off a lot of the aromatics leaving behind a lot of layering and structuring tannins.

How much oak to use for a 5 gal batch?:
Chips: (impart flavor much faster) 1/2 oz for 5 gal (one dimensional flavor) in fermenter (helps the flavors “bind up”)
---If for a long time on these it will extract unpleasant flavors (possibly only
leave for one week)
------APA or IPA on chips for 1 week because hops will be best when
Cubes: (impart flavor much slower) for aging after primary (in keg) use about 1-2 oz for 5 gal 5
months-1 year
---No point to using cubes if only aging for a month or so.
------The more the beer sits on the cube it penetrates deeper causing a variety of flavors
------The more oak you apply the shorter amount to time it takes to show itself
------The flavor is different depending on amount placed and time left
------The flavors that come out first from the oak only become more defined with age
---It takes 3-4 weeks to notice flavors are melding (especially with cubes)
------Vanilla and caramel are first, then spices and cloves later on
------Toasted coconut for lighter toast oak
---Oak cubes will dissolve to “little nubs” after 1 Ĺ -2 years of keeping them in a keg (Jamil did this with an English Barleywine, which became an award winning beer)
---Too little oak for too long creates bad tannins
---Too much oak does not create complexity of flavors before it becomes overwhelming (varies between different styles of beer)

Barrel flavors can be achieved with chips in a carboy.

Barrels can contribute to micro-oxidation (plum/sherry notes)

Barrel aging:---Lose a couple pints a week/month (angel’s share)
---The more surface area in contact with the beer the faster it will gain it's flavors
------Small barrel vs. large barrel
---Do not want a big o2 area (fill to the top)
---Keep a spare keg (5 gal) handy to “top off” beer from angel’s share every

Barrel restoration:
---Don’t acquire a barrel where everything is loose
------Fill up with water to make everything swell
------Cooperage will fix it (expensive)

How do I sanitize barrel?
---Never use fire near a whisky barrel!
---Never use boiling water in barrel unless it’s in bad shape
---Fill up barrel with hot water
---Chemical methods
------Acids and sulfite compounds
------Ozone machine
------Hydrogen peroxide
---Sniff the bung- if it’s rancid or vinegary then leave it alone
------At least 140-160 F for at least 30 min to pasteurize
---Keep liquid in a barrel, must stay moist, and cannot dry out

Oak infusion spirals (something between a chip and a cube)
---Barrel replica kits for wineries to keep neutral barrels going.
---Brewstrong does not recommend because they have no experience (go with cubes)

How to preserve chips for future batches?
---Freeze them. Possibly will crack chips from moisture (will not change character)
---Not put in vodka, will extract flavors, different compounds have different solubility. Can change character of oak.

Originally IPA’s shipped to India should have massive oak flavor?---No, barrels were lined with “pitch” (brewer’s pitch) to make water tight and keep flavors out
---Brewers did this to keep them from getting oak flavors
---Oak flavors are faults in a traditional IPA

Using bugs in beers from infused cubes:---The flavor of the bugs will change when extracted from cubes
---Lay cubes out and let them dry, turn over a few times, don’t store wet
---Still can store in freezer

Oak Barrels LTD
Oak Barrel Experiment
Thousand Oaks Barrel Supplies
Vadai World Trade Enterprise, Barrels.
play the bass, brew the beer

What's tappening? :D

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Old 05-15-2009, 03:48 AM   #2
Nov 2007
Pittsburg, California
Posts: 385
Liked 12 Times on 11 Posts

Very nice sir, thanks for the work!

Now do the rest of the Brew Strong shows, hahahah.

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Old 05-15-2009, 11:28 AM   #3
eschatz's Avatar
Dec 2007
Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 3,434
Liked 35 Times on 19 Posts

Originally Posted by ChrisKennedy View Post
Very nice sir, thanks for the work!

Now do the rest of the Brew Strong shows, hahahah.
Thanks! I'm actually thinking about going through most of the other shows and making outlines for the forum...
play the bass, brew the beer

What's tappening? :D

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Old 05-15-2009, 08:48 PM   #4
Jan 2009
Santa Clara, CA
Posts: 1,914
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Great article, but I had to smirk at this:

Originally Posted by eschatz View Post

---Sniff the bung- if itís rancid or vinegary then leave it alone

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Old 05-15-2009, 09:57 PM   #5
eschatz's Avatar
Dec 2007
Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 3,434
Liked 35 Times on 19 Posts

I'm actually oaking Brewpastor's Water into Barleywine right now!
play the bass, brew the beer

What's tappening? :D

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Old 05-15-2009, 10:19 PM   #6
Dec 2008
Posts: 509
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Wow - nice job! Glad I could help out. If you have any questions and Jamil is too busy being cool to respond, lemme know!

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Old 06-08-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
Cycling + Beer
Aug 2008
Santa Maria, CA
Posts: 67
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Thanks for the synopsis, saves me an hour of re-listening to the show prior to attempting the Firestone DBA clone.

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Old 06-16-2009, 02:54 PM   #8
eschatz's Avatar
Dec 2007
Terre Haute, IN
Posts: 3,434
Liked 35 Times on 19 Posts

Got me another pound of american med cubes and a pound of french med chips. I'm an oaky bastard!!!!
play the bass, brew the beer

What's tappening? :D

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Old 06-19-2009, 12:17 AM   #9
Dog House Brew
Dog House Brew's Avatar
Jun 2008
Posts: 1,068
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I used 3oz of med toast cubes in an imperial porter. I soaked them in Makers Mark until they soaked up 3/4 of a liter. This took about a month while in primary. I racked it onto the chips and let it sit for 8 weeks. I had read that it would over power the beer and it is the best I've made to date. I oak a lot of brews and like the USA oak the best. Getting ready to brew a Yeti coffe stout that I'm going to oak in a few weeks. Love the flavor of Oak!

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Old 06-21-2009, 03:29 AM   #10
Mar 2009
Edgewood, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 119
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Anyone know if you can reuse the chips/cubes for future batches? Or should I just use them one time and then chuck them? I would think they might lose their flavor pretty quick.

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