« on: June 16, 2010, 09:46:49 AM »
I've never felt the need to sanitize the oak cubes, you can just drop them right in. Many times I've added oak cubes and have let them age for many, many months with no problems.
Right...you probably don't need to sanitze them, especially if they've been whiskey soaked. If not soaked, and if it makes you feel more secure, you could steam the chips or cubes or even stick them in the oven.
I'd be more worried about contact time. I've tasted a lot of potentially great beers pretty much ruined by too much oak (especially where American Oak is used).
Of course, that threshold is something you have to determine for yourself by frequent tasting during the aging process. For me, the big beers are so complex on their own that while some oak character can add a nice dimension to the beer, too much oak can easily overpower the other flavor subtleties happening in the background.