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Old 12-06-2011, 04:00 PM   #11
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I just read a thing about drying oak for use in barrels used to age bourbon, sherry and scotch. Apparently, drying the wood first is really important, pre toasting. From what I read, an oven at low temps for a few hours before toasting at higher temps looks sufficient
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:43 PM   #12
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Just get yourself some oak cubes. 1oz per 5 gallons. There is American Oak, Hungarian Oak, and French Oak. The toasts are Medium, Medium plus, and Heavy.

There is a lot more to proper oak curing than just drying and toasting, it is a process that takes many months. You can make yourself a tea with boiling water and an ounce of cubes so that you can taste each type and get an idea of what it can contribute.

If you do try to make your own, I would still make a tea out of them to get an idea of what they taste like and whether you like it or not.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by helibrewer View Post
Just get yourself some oak cubes. 1oz per 5 gallons. There is American Oak, Hungarian Oak, and French Oak. The toasts are Medium, Medium plus, and Heavy.

There is a lot more to proper oak curing than just drying and toasting, it is a process that takes many months. You can make yourself a tea with boiling water and an ounce of cubes so that you can taste each type and get an idea of what it can contribute.

If you do try to make your own, I would still make a tea out of them to get an idea of what they taste like and whether you like it or not.
I appreciate the point that I'm not going to be able to replicate a "proper" oak cube, but that's not really what I'm going for here. I genuinely enjoy the idea of incorporating into my beers various ingredients I've harvested from the wild around me. For example, I'm probably going to try to make a pawpaw brew next year (I harvested enough this year but they were so tasty I just ended up eating them all).

I understand that this is a hobby where I could focus on beer style specs and use only the finest ingredients, but that's not the route I've taken. I'm in it for the tinkering and experimentation. This beer will probably be the closest thing to a "normal" beer I've brewed in more than a year, and as you can see it's not exactly normal: Late Winter Warmer.

That said, I will be boiling the wood chips after I toast/bake them, and I will definitely sample that water for both aroma and flavor to decide whether to add each one, and if so how much.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:27 AM   #14
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With Pawpaws just make sure that you discard all of the seeds. The native americans used pulverized pawpaw seeds to cure migrains in very small doses. Just a little bit more, and I mean little, leads to a very painful death. This is what I've read, not experienced, but then I haven't tried poison hemlock either. Have you?

 
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:38 PM   #15
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With Pawpaws just make sure that you discard all of the seeds. The native americans used pulverized pawpaw seeds to cure migrains in very small doses. Just a little bit more, and I mean little, leads to a very painful death. This is what I've read, not experienced, but then I haven't tried poison hemlock either. Have you?
Interesting, I didn't realize that. Luckily the seeds are enormous (like large lima beans or something), so I can't imagine many will slip through my brewing process. I googled it and found this interesting first-person story of someone who decided to eat a pawpaw seed to see how toxic they are: Pawpaw seeds - just how poisonous are they? - General Chowhounding Topics - Chowhound

Basically he felt like crap and then his digestive system took it upon itself to cleanse itself.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:51 PM   #16
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Just looking into doing something like this as well and noticed that there are some bourbon barrel chips on Amazon, and I'm noticing that Amazon has a bunch of other wood chips available too. Would something like these grilling chips be considered acceptable to use in a brew?

Amazon.com: bourbon barrel chips
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Old 12-07-2011, 04:40 PM   #17
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There are some folks on here that do. Search oak chips or the like.
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