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Old 01-26-2012, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default Reusing Oak Chips

First let me say that I did a search and there has been some discussion on this topic but no one has really stated their results. I did a russian imperial stout and aged it with some rum soaked oak chips from AHS. I have been saving the oak chips and plan on drying them out in the oven for a little while then resoaking them in either some rum, whiskey or bourbon and reusing them in the future. If anyone has done this before what were your results? Im sure that the oak flavor tends to lose its potentcy each time its reused.

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Old 01-26-2012, 05:47 PM   #2
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I wouldn't.

1) Chips are cheap.
2) Why risk contamination?
3) The wood qualities are probably pretty much spent from the first beer.

The only time I'd do it is if I was inoculating a funky beer and keeping my 'house' culture in the wood.

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Old 01-26-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
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I think you'd definitely get more of the RIS taste than the oak, which might not be bad depending on what you're doing, but if you want rum/whiskey flavor I'd start a new batch of chips.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:00 PM   #4
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Well, scotch makers buy bourbon barrels from the states because they don't want to use 'virgin' wood for aging their scotch. This is to avoid overpowering woody aromas and flavors. Wood chips are different, though, because their surface-to-mass ratio is much higher, so it will be absorbed much faster than if they were inside a barrel.

If you were to re-use them, I'd do it in a lighter bodied beer than an imperial Russian stout, so you'd still get some aroma and flavor but it obviously won't be as noticeable.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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I would boil them to kill off any yeast that climbed aboard in the RIS and anything that might have climbed aboard after. Then add the chips to your liquor of choice. Let it sit for a few days and give the liquor a taste. If it tastes oaky then pitch. If not, dump and start with new chips.

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