Oak Cubes

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ChadS

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Hi, I’m about to begin brewing my first Imperial Stout and am planning on using oak cubes soaked in bourbon. I’ll be making a 5 gallon batch, but my question is how long do you keep the oak chips in the secondary, how much do you use, and do you pour the soaked bourbon in as well or do you drain it from the chips first?

Also, do you add them directly when transferring to secondary or do you add them later on after it’s been in the secondary for awhile? If you do it at the beginning, how do you remove the cubes without contaminating the beer once you’ve reached the desired level of bourbon/oak?

I’m completely new to oak cubes so any advice on how to not ruin my stout would be great!
 

Wagon_6

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I make a bourbon porter every year and love it. I start soaking the cubes in the bourbon in a sealed container on brewday. I “secondary” in the keg, so 3 weeks later i pour the bourbon in the keg and put the cubes in one of those stainless containers that have a screw top. Purge keg and leave it to age at room temp for 3 or 4 weeks.

If you don’t keg, you could put them in a muslin bag in your secondary.
 

cactusgarrett

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Shoot for a few weeks, then start tasting every now and again to get the flavor you want. Overshoot - as in, wait until the oak flavor it a little more than you'd like. I do this because every time i pull a beer from oak when i think it's ready, the oak flavor mellows into a more subtle flavor than i was originally shooting for. The oak flavor will mellow with time. I've found pouring the alcohol in lends too harsh flavors than I'd prefer. I just do the oak, myself. I usually do 4-ish ounces for a bolder beer.

There is no need for a secondary vessel (under "typical" circumstances), so that can be removed from consideration. Add the oak to the primary after fermentation has subsided (steady gravity readings), then rack the beer into your packaging vessels as typical.
 

Jag75

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I did 3or4 ounces I think in 5 gallons for 5 days. It was a little too much of the oak barrel taste. I do think it's starting to lighten up a tad though.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Watching this thread as I have the same types of questions. I need to figure out what beer I am going to age (Oatmeal Stout?, Milk Stout?, Russian Imperial Stout?). I recently picked up a bag of oak cubes to try out. I am a huge fan of Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stouts.
 

cactusgarrett

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Keep in mind the kind of oak and the level of toast matters - aging on French light toast is completely different than Hungarian medium toast.
 
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