Using wood

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usmcoklahoma

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Ive been tickling the idea of using wood in my next brew, which will be a toucan American Style light beer. What uses could I get from wood? I have hickory, apple and pecan most readily availible.
 

Vance71975

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Ive been tickling the idea of using wood in my next brew, which will be a toucan American Style light beer. What uses could I get from wood? I have hickory, apple and pecan most readily availible.
What type wood are you talking? Chips,cubes,logs,sticks etc? Or are you talking like the wood used for a smoker? I would stick to wood chips Designed for beer use myself. Or at least make sure any wood you do use is sanitized very well,I would Soak them in high proof Vodka and then dry them in a 250 degree oven for an hour. Or Better yet, Soak the wood in Say Vodka or Everclear for a month or 2 and then add a cup of the liquid with the wood strained out to the beer at bottling time.
 
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usmcoklahoma

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Hickory and apple would be chips and cubes, the kind used for smoking. Pecan would be sticks from a buddies tree.
Would I want to add them to the fermenting process or use them at bottling time?
 

Vance71975

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Hickory and apple would be chips and cubes, the kind used for smoking. Pecan would be sticks from a buddies tree.
Would I want to add them to the fermenting process or use them at bottling time?
I Would Soak them very well(for a month or two) in a Neutral Spirit and Strain the sticks out and add the Neutral Spirit at bottling time. Just me, I am all for trying Bizarre Brews out, but i wouldn't want a few sticks or chips added for flavor to ruin the beer because of some bacteria on them. If you get say a 151 Proof Vodka, you can be sure than it will kill any bacteria on the sticks or Chips. And if you add it, 1/4 cup at a time or so, you can stop right at the flavor you want! If you want to use the sticks/chips, i would soak them in Neutral Spirits first(2 or 3 days) then Dry them in the oven on 250-300 for an hour, this will also kill anything on them, then you can just add them to secondary. And use the Neutral Spirit in a meat marinade or to make a smoky bloody mary!
 

Zamial

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I use smoking chips in my beers with no problems. Specifically the Jack Daniels chips. I plan on using other kinds in future brews as well! I boil them up for 10 minutes, discard the water, then I toast them in the oven @ 250 for 15 minutes. Put them into a sanitized bag and sink them into the beer.

All the talk of soaking the chips to sanitize them is mostly myth. There was a post around that someone experimented with the different proofs of booze and checked the sanitization. The end result was you would need to use everclear to sanitize it, anything else is just for flavor and does not sanitize anything and it takes about a week not months...
 

ArcaneXor

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For the chips, I would soak them/rinse them, mostly to get any dirt and sawdust off of them. If there are bugs in there, it's hard to kill them.

For the fresh wood, you'll probably want to dry it and then toast it in the oven and maybe char it a bit so that you get the toasted wood flavors, and not just a bunch of "green" flavors.

BTW, if you have a homebrew shop supplied by the Country Malting Group, you can ask them to order you some very inexpensive woods from cherry, maple, hickory, ash, birch, and, of course, oak.
 

unionrdr

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I'd take the pecan wood & cut it up into pieces like my French oak cam in from the LHBS. Then,toast'em up quick in a 400F oven till toasted to the desired color. That should kill anything,& work faster.
 

ChillWill

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unionrdr said:
see post #5...
Aye, but I thought you weren't meant to use vodka as it extracts some nasty stuff unlike other spirits. Could be wrong though.
 

unionrdr

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Hmmm,well,it is a rather neutral spirit. It might pull a lot of flavors strictly out of the wood. That's all you'd be getting. I think the intent is to use the wood to mellow the liquor being used,as much as the wood flavors themselves.
That's why I used the liquor & the chips together in secondary. Since it's not just the chips soaking up liquor flavor,but the liquor soaks flavor out of the wood.
 

Vance71975

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Hmmm,well,it is a rather neutral spirit. It might pull a lot of flavors strictly out of the wood. That's all you'd be getting. I think the intent is to use the wood to mellow the liquor being used,as much as the wood flavors themselves.
That's why I used the liquor & the chips together in secondary. Since it's not just the chips soaking up liquor flavor,but the liquor soaks flavor out of the wood.
That is the jest of it, the Vodka pulls flavors out of the wood, mellows the wood out, then dry it and use the mellowed wood. Personally i find it hard to believe that much of any bacteria is gonna survive soaking in 151 vodka, that is 75.5% Alcohol which is a higher percentage of ABV than most rubbing Alcohol (70%) that is is used to clean wounds and kill bacteria!! BUT if you are afraid something lived through soaking in 151, like i said throw them in a 300 degree oven for an hour to Dry them, Sanitize them and toast them.
 
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usmcoklahoma

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So if I do 151 vodka, how big a bottle would I need? Im seeing soak for a few hours the 350-400 for a bit to dry and toast
 

unionrdr

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If you dry them after soaking,you'll loose the liquor flavor,& the wood flavor soaked out of them. You toast them 1st so they'll give the quality of flavor desired. Then soak them. That's how it's generally done. It's a dry surface,& bacterium don't survive long dry.
 
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usmcoklahoma

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Do I want to put the wood in the primary or secondary? Probably the secondary so it cant try to ferment with the rest of the bucket?
 

unionrdr

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Most do it in secondary after primary FG is reached. I did it for 8 days,& that 4oz of wood & 7.5oz bourbon got pretty strong. So I primed & bottled.
 
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