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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Conservative oak aging?
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:31 PM   #1
cm02WS6
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Default Conservative oak aging?

I'd like to try oak aging on an IPA that I'll be transferring to secondary in the next couple of days, but I want to be conservative. I'd like the beer to be ready for Christmas, so I don't have time to let it mellow out if it gets much oak flavor. I've done a lot of research and found that using chips (I have light toast American) is a slippery slope because they can "over-oak" more quickly than cubes. People say to use less of them, but they don't say very often how much they actually used. Timeframe is also a factor, which from what I've read seems to be 1-4 weeks.

What I'm thinking is that I start with 1 oz of chips for 1 week, same as my dry hopping. If that doesn't seem like much then I can do more, I just don't want to start with something that would be considered a lot. I also don't really have time (or know-how) to taste it know when it is done, so I'm looking for a solid recommendation to start with.


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Old 11-15-2011, 05:45 PM   #2
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Haha - I'm in the same boat. TONS of threads on oak, but not much in terms of amt & timetable. I'm planning to oak a porter for Christmas, and actually have come up with the exact same schedule - 1 oz for 1 week, then bottle. Should have 4-5wks in the bottle before Christmas. I'll be curious to hear what other people recommend.


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Old 11-15-2011, 08:08 PM   #3
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I was listening to Brew Strong and they said that Vinny at Russian River uses oak chips in his Pliny. But only during active fermentation.

Personally, I have done a couple of oak aged beers. They all have been high ABV styles. Currently I have a RIS on oak at about 11% and after a month I had a good oak flavor. Not overpowering but noticeable. I used med oak cubes soaked in bourbon for a month. At about 3 months I pulled them off. I used 2 oz.

From my understanding chips 1 or 2 weeks MAX. Cubes around 3 to 6 months.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:13 PM   #4
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I have gotten significant oak flavor in a 2 hearted IPa clone from 2 weeks on 1 oz of medium toast oak cubes.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:34 PM   #5
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Add your oak chips to vodka and let the vodka pull out the color and flavor. Then add the vodka, but no chips, to your bottling bucket and blend to taste.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:52 PM   #6
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I've had my oak chips soaking in bourbon for ~2 weeks. Was planning on dumping the whole thing in & letting it sit for a week.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:22 PM   #7
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I made an old ale / winter warmer with spices, orange peel, and medium toast American oak chips, a 2.5 gallon batch. OG was 1.083, and Wyeast London Ale brought it to down to 1.010. (9.6% ABV.)

I used .5 oz oak chips during active fermentation, and at 14 days added another .5 oz. I bottled at 21 days.

I've just started to drink it, and I have to say that although I was concerned that the American oak chips would give an overpowering flavor, the opposite is true. I can't really detect much if any oak flavor, and the spices and orange peel flavors are far in the background as well.

I don't know if it's the strength of the beer, or the dominance of the yeast character, but it seems like this beer is just too sturdy for 1 oz of oak chips to set off balance. Maybe if the whole oz was added after fermentation, it would be more noticeable. I can't really say.

It's delicious, by the way.


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