I just was struck by a few questions regarding wood chips this morning.
First, I've got a dubbel that I've moved from primary fermentation to another growler for secondary fermentation. Since I haven't added any sugars to it that is technically aging, right? Well I've seen a number of "oak-aged" beers, if I were to add oak chips to my beer while it's aging, it should produce a similar effect as aging the beer in oak chips, correct? Since at my local wine brewing shop a 5 gallon Hungarian oak aging cask costs $230 CDN, and a much cheaper but similar effect is fine by me.
Second, my local hardware store carries these for meat smokers. http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows....jsp?locale=en
, their actual chipped bourbon casks (or whiskey, if you don't like calling JD bourbon). Would these be suitable for brewing with after they've been sanitized?
What if I wanted to try experimenting with other kinds of wood, say maple or hickory? How would I go about doing this? I would assume I'd have to get said kind of wood, chip it by hand with an axe and dry it a bit in a kiln and then start using it as I would oak. Do these kinds of wood impart specific flavors to beer, or are they too mild flavored compared to oak to leave a noticeable flavor?
To answer one of my own questions, regarding the JD wood chips, I spoke to the owner of my LHB shop about it. He said you shouldn't use them because the oak was most likely chipped in an oiled machine and the wood could have come in contact with said oils. So unless you like hints of 10W-30 in your beer you should stay away from it and just smoke meat with it.
The other questions are still up in the air though.