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Old 01-26-2008, 09:19 PM   #1
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Default Why is oak not appropriate for IPA's?

According to the BJCP regarding IIPA:
......"Oak is inappropriate in this style" I would tend to think that the early IPA's shipped overseas would have been in oak barrels, thus contributing to the flavor profile. I currently have a Imperial IPA aging in an oak barrel I recently picked up. Samples have been wonderful and I would like to enter this beer in some local competitions, but don't know under which catagory. The oak flavor is quite subtle, making me think the IIPA catagory would be correct save for the "inappropriate" nature of the oak. The Wood Aged catagory has this to say

"Beers made using either limited wood aging or products that only provide a subtle background character may be entered in the base beer style categories as long as the wood character isn't prominently featured"

What do you guys say?


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Old 01-26-2008, 09:28 PM   #2
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I just read the BJCP guidelines for all IPA styles, and all include the statement, "Oak is inappropriate for this style." I'm not sure why English IPAs aren't allowed to include oak, since it seems quite appropriate based on the style's history.

I do understand why American IPAs generally should not feature oak as a flavor component, though. There is no historical basis for American IPA, and the American version is typically intended to showcase American hops, usually the fruity Pacific northwest varieties. Complexity from wood aging and/or strong specialty malts takes away from the wonderful hop flavors and aromas associated with an American IPA.

The IIPA is simply an extreme version of an American IPA. As such, I wouldn't expect to taste oak in one of those either.

However, if I were in your shoes, I would probably enter the beer in the IIPA category. If the contest rules allow you to enter the same beer in two categories, try it in the wood aged category as well!


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Old 01-26-2008, 10:50 PM   #3
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I just bottled an IIPA that I added oak to.

I haven't started brewing for comps yet, so if I think it's good, then I'm pleased.
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Old 01-26-2008, 11:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
If the contest rules allow you to enter the same beer in two categories, try it in the wood aged category as well!
Ahh, the simplest answer is usually the best. I never brew specifically for anything other than my own enjoyment, but I feel like this beer deserves a chance to shine in competition. I never gave much thought to American vs English when considering oak in an IPA, but what Yuri says makes sense. While it may be inappropriate in an American IPA, it should have a place in the English version.
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Old 01-26-2008, 11:44 PM   #5
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I say....
Forget the guidlines... Brew what you want.


Unless you want to enter BJCP competitions then do as they say.
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:05 AM   #6
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English oak if different than American oak, and does not impart a flavour to the beer. (American oak imparts a flavor.)
However, Ballantines IPA was matured in Oak, and presumably American oak, as the oak was apparently used to impart flavor.

Source. Pale Ales - Terry Foster.

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Old 01-27-2008, 12:07 AM   #7
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Well, one thing to consider is that the style guidelines for the most part reflect the current state of the style rather than a historical representation for most categories.

Me thinks you are going to have to run with 22C...or more likely 23A. Someone certified should chime in.

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Old 01-27-2008, 01:21 AM   #8
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I seem to recall reading somewhere that beer barrels used for shipping were lined with brewer's pitch, so the beer never came into contact with the wood.
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:37 AM   #9
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What are the appropriate style for adding oak or aging in oak? All I can recall ever personally seeing were a couple stouts. I know this month BYO has an article I just havent gotten to it yet.
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:01 AM   #10
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From Wikipedia:
"In the USA, the original highly hopped and long aged (one full year in wood before bottling) Ballantine IPA was a beer of great distinction and a part of the Ballantine stable of brews since the early part of the 20th century."

I have yet to find out what type of oak was used in these barrels, but it would seem that there is some evidence that oak in an American IPA *might* be warranted. Barely makes a good point though regarding the English version and brewers pitch.


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