Fermentig with oak cubes

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2010
Reaction score
Southern Ohia
I'm going to start a sour mash kriek-style beer tomorrow, and I was planning on oaking it. I have American House Toast cubes, and I was wondering what would happen if I just through them in during primary to achieve an effect like barrel aging. However, the package says add to secondary and "minimum contact time is 8 weeks". What are the disadvantages to pitching them straight into primary?
Oak cubes take a lot longer than oak chips, and I don't think you'd want to leave the beer in primary for that long. It really is an issue of months rather than weeks.
I don't know, but I think the problem would be the insides aren't toasted.

Do you not want to do a secondary, or just not want to wait that long?
A little bit of both. My theory is that using cubes during fermentation would give a more complex woody flavor. For example, Belgian breweries ferment in oak barrels, as well as age in them. I suppose with throwing cubes in during fermentation would at least give it the barrel-fermented taste, but may lack the deeper complexity of age. Just a theory!
I was told at today at my local homebrew shop that the "minimum contact time 8 weeks" on the package is meant for wine makers....
The yeast will scrub the aromatics out of the oak if you add during primary, so you will really end up getting the structural tannins and some flavor from the oak and not the aromas. Adding oak to the primary is a great way to build a layer of oak in the beer, but I would add chips to the primary and cubes to the secondary in order to get the complex aromatics from the cubes.

The insides of the cubes are toasted in layers like the outside, so you can break them apart, but I'd leave them how they are.

You will start tasting the oak after a couple of days, but in order to really get the balance you are looking for, 1 month minimum is the way to go.