Barley wine secondary

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Adamkav

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Hey guys so I brewed up a batch of Barley wine about a week ago, 1.102. I haven't checked the FG, but with 5 days of aggressive fermentation and a healthy yeast starter I'm fairly confident it is fermented out. So my plan was to rack to secondary on oak cubes, but the smallest carboy I have is 5 gal and I estimate my total volume to be about 3.5 gal. I'm concerned about oxidation.. should I just leave in primary and skip the oak? And no I don't have C02 unfortunately

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

MaxStout

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A few months on the cake in primary is not a big deal for homebrewers. The autolysis risk applies more to larger vessels (i.e., commercial brewing), where the pressures are greater.

Add your oak in primary and keep it there for the few months it needs. I have let big beers bulk age in primary for 6-8 months with no problems. The risk of oxidation from racking to secondary is greater than any risk from keeping it in primary.

You might need to add some fresh yeast before bottling, as the yeast you used for ferm might be weak by then.
 

TurnipGreen

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Regardless of what you do keep an eye on your headspace, especially if you are bulk aging. I messed up a wheatwine last year because of too much headspace. It ended up oxidized and nasty.

I vote for leaving it in the primary and age it in the bottle. I’ve never used oak in a beer but i’ve added plenty of other junk right into the primary with no problemo. I’ve also gotten away with up to three month in the primary and still been able to bottle prime beers without adding fresh yeast. I bet some yeast do better than others in that.
 
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Adamkav

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Thanks so much guys! I'm glad I asked, I almost racked it the other day. That sounds good I think I'll add oak now, let it age for 3-5 months and bottle with fresh yeast
 
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Adamkav

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One more question... I have a good 3 inches or so of trub.. with the cubes still impart oak flavour?
 

deadwolfbones

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The oak should get in there regardless. The cubes will probably float for a while, anyway.

Like the other guy said, oak it until you like the taste, then bottle and age in bottle. There's no functional difference between bulk aging in the fermenter and aging in the bottle except for the added chance of oxidation you get in the fermenter.
 

kevin58

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I stopped using secondaries long ago. For big beers like barleywine I will rack into the serving keg after nearly three months in primary and let it condition in the keg for another 6 to 9 months before it goes into the keggerator.
 
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