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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: pyrite on July 07, 2010, 07:07:06 AM

Title: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: pyrite on July 07, 2010, 07:07:06 AM
How does too much wood taste?   

Please, for those of you that have tasted a beer that was over aged in oak, please describe that taste to me.

I aged a beer in a French oak barrel for 3 months, today I popped open a bottle and my teeth feel like the enamel wants to come off.  So not cool.  I don’t get it, I tasted this same beer 2 weeks after bottling and I thought wow one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted (it was so smooth and velvet like almost like cream), and today 4 weeks after bottling and the enamel wants to come off my teeth. There is a bitterness that is like no other bitterness I have ever tasted, and it is so subdued almost like the oak is contributing its own IBU's. 

Your opinion please?
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: Hokerer on July 07, 2010, 01:46:25 PM
I don't think "over oaking" leads to intense bitterness like you're describing.  Almost sounds like it could be some sort of infection.
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: pyrite on July 07, 2010, 02:07:09 PM
I thought it might be an an infection, but I'm still wondering how an infection can drastically change the taste in two weeks time. Darn. Nothing I can do huh.
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: narvin on July 07, 2010, 02:11:56 PM
Ask yo momma...


sorry, too easy  ;D
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: pyrite on July 07, 2010, 02:44:04 PM
Ask yo momma...

haha, lol, already drinking are we.. Naw, but seriously, okay I might have an infection and I'm almost certain I know where it came from but I'm still wondering how too much wood taste?
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: mthogan1997 on July 07, 2010, 05:03:28 PM
... but I'm still wondering how too much wood taste?

Woody. Seriously. Put some oak chips in your mouth for a minute and and take a sip of beer (don't swallow the chips). Woody.
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: pyrite on July 07, 2010, 07:50:24 PM
... but I'm still wondering how too much wood taste?

Woody. Seriously. Put some oak chips in your mouth for a minute and and take a sip of beer (don't swallow the chips). Woody.

Oh, I guess that would be a good idea.  I was just curious because some people have said that they have tasted an over oaked beer, and for me I don't think I could ever oak a beer to where it would taste bad.  I have never tasted a beer with too much over powering oak.  At the same time I know and have read that using a new barrel will impart some green oak flavors that can make beer taste sharply oaked. I don't know, I'm new to the oak game.
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: blatz on July 07, 2010, 08:32:59 PM
I've had many an overoaked beer.  Its just an overwhelming oak or vanilla (or both) flavor that forces all the other aspects of the beer into hiding.  perhaps you like oak more than others do, so you don't notice it when its gone past the 'subtle' level.

its like porn - you know it when you see it.
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: redbeerman on July 08, 2010, 06:56:20 PM
Continuing on this line, I have an RIS that's been on oak cubes for nine weeks.  I tasted it today and the oak is coming through perfectly.  My worry is, if I take it off the oak and continue aging it ( already been 8 months in secondary) how much will the oak fade over the next 10 months?
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: brewmasternpb on July 09, 2010, 04:56:19 AM
I don't know about oak, but I recently aged a couple of beers on pecan wood, and got too much of an intense taste... and that character came across as overly dry and astringent.
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: pyrite on July 09, 2010, 05:14:41 AM
I don't know about oak, but I recently aged a couple of beers on pecan wood, and got too much of an intense taste... and that character came across as overly dry and astringent.

How long and how much did you age with pecan wood, and was it wood in it's natural state or was it denatured or treated pecan wood.  It actually sounds like a really great idea pecan wood flavored beer.
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: brewmasternpb on July 14, 2010, 10:18:41 PM
I used 2 oz for 3 weeks.  They were wood chips intended for smoking that I bought from my lhws (local hardware store).
Title: Re: How does too much wood taste?
Post by: thomasbarnes on July 16, 2010, 04:54:25 AM
How does too much wood taste?

You've tasted it: intense tannin astringency and bitterness, like sucking on a cheap tea bag.   

I aged a beer in a French oak barrel for 3 months, today I popped open a bottle and my teeth feel like the enamel wants to come off.  So not cool.  I don’t get it, I tasted this same beer 2 weeks after bottling and I thought wow one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted (it was so smooth and velvet like almost like cream), and today 4 weeks after bottling and the enamel wants to come off my teeth. There is a bitterness that is like no other bitterness I have ever tasted, and it is so subdued almost like the oak is contributing its own IBU's.

Let the beer age in a cool, dark place for at least 6 more months. If you're lucky, the intense tannins (responsible for the astringent, resinous, tooth-coating sensation) will settle down, giving you vanilla, coconut and mildly oaky/woody notes. You did brew a beer which could stand up to extended aging, right?

If this isn't an option, your only choice is to rebrew the beer, age it in a glass/stainless container and then blend it with your current batch of beer to control the degree of oak character.

I'm not sure why you experienced the sudden flavor change, though.  As a guess, there might be something in your beer that ate up some of the residual sugars and starches, making previously hidden tannins really stand out. Be on the lookout for possible wild yeast/bacterial infection. Sample a bottle of your beer every couple of weeks, if you're getting gushing bottles, thin body and off flavors, your beer is headed towards Lambic-ville.