Author Topic: Charring oak cubes  (Read 9973 times)

Offline andrew000141

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Charring oak cubes
« on: October 25, 2012, 07:22:01 AM »
Has anyone ever tried charring their oak cubes? I know it's what they do to whiskey barrels before use. How did you go about doing it?
Fermenting:
Cherry melomel

In Kegs:
Saison
Irish Red
Thanksgiving Cider
Rye Pale Ale
IIPA
Ayinger Maibock clone
Moose drool clone

Bottles:
Mead

Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2326
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 07:38:31 AM »
I did this with oak chips.  I charred them in a toaster oven.

I meant only to toast them, but the kids distracted me and they were charred and smoking.

I soaked them in bourbon and used them in a stout.  It came out quite well.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 09:54:07 AM »
I charred oak chunks on a propane grill.  They were slices from an oak 1x8.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2326
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 10:03:22 AM »
I charred oak chunks on a propane grill.  They were slices from an oak 1x8.

I like that approach.  You could also drill them out to be like the honeycomb product.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline andrew000141

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Charring oak cubes
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 11:23:06 AM »
I like that oak chunk idea, how much did you use and how much beer did it absorb? My plan is to make a big sweet mead with buckwheat honey and just oak-bomb it
Fermenting:
Cherry melomel

In Kegs:
Saison
Irish Red
Thanksgiving Cider
Rye Pale Ale
IIPA
Ayinger Maibock clone
Moose drool clone

Bottles:
Mead

Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2326
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 11:38:09 AM »
I wouldn't use buckwheat honey unless you really like the taste.  All of the sweetness from the honey ferments out and you get buckwheat flavor.

I made a buckwheat honey porter years ago and I could not drink it.  Other people liked it, so they got to take as much as they wanted.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline andrew000141

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Charring oak cubes
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 11:49:50 AM »
Ive actually never used it XD but I heard it has a big flavor so I chose it because of that, I may have to reconsider now
Fermenting:
Cherry melomel

In Kegs:
Saison
Irish Red
Thanksgiving Cider
Rye Pale Ale
IIPA
Ayinger Maibock clone
Moose drool clone

Bottles:
Mead

Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you

Offline Joe Sr.

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2326
  • Chicago - NORTH SIDE
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 11:58:46 AM »
It has big flavor.  I realized too late it is not a flavor I enjoy.

But like I said, other people really like it.  Try the honey first and see what you think.  My tastes are not universal.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5690
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 12:01:23 PM »
It has big flavor.  I realized too late it is not a flavor I enjoy.

But like I said, other people really like it.  Try the honey first and see what you think.  My tastes are not universal.

you should check out 'honeydew' honey, also sometimes called 'forest' honey. It's at least partially made from the 'nectar' that certain leaf scale insects produce. When plant based nectars are unavailable some bees will harvest this 'honeydew' from the scale bugs and turn that into honey. It's really intense and pungent. really really dark as well. not common though. It isn't produced every year because draught conditions have to be bad enough to prevent alot of the normal flowers from doing well.

EDIT: To show off my google fu. Looks like another possible interesting thing about honeydew honey from a mead standpoint is that it contains alot more complex sugars than 'normal' honey. I am thinking this might make it ideal for a sweet mead as there are actually sugars in there that yeast can't metabolize.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 12:04:38 PM by morticaixavier »
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline andrew000141

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 118
    • View Profile
Charring oak cubes
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 12:29:16 PM »
That definitely sounds interesting, I'll look into it. I'm amazed at the drastic flavor difference that the type of plant the nectar is collected from has on honey
Fermenting:
Cherry melomel

In Kegs:
Saison
Irish Red
Thanksgiving Cider
Rye Pale Ale
IIPA
Ayinger Maibock clone
Moose drool clone

Bottles:
Mead

Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you

Offline erockrph

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2415
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • Critical Tastings
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2012, 01:57:17 PM »
Have you actually used honeydew for a mead before? Ken Schramm says it's generally regarded as inferior in his book, but that's not to say that someone hasn't found a way to make a decent mead with it.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline punatic

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4582
  • Puna District, Hawaii Island (UTC -10)
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 05:01:38 PM »
I charred oak chunks on a propane grill.  They were slices from an oak 1x8.

Looking at oak available specifically for beverages, and then looking a oak available from the local lumber sales stores, the priceing difference is striking.  The big question is; has the lumber store oak been chemically treated?  I would certainly like to buy oak planks from the lumber store if they are safe for beverage use.

The degree of toasting, charring and the rest are all a function of what flavors you are looking for in your finished beverage.  From what I have read elsewhere, a propane soldering torch works quite well, burning the surface of the wood to the degree desired, while leaving the underlying wood unaffected.  More complexity of flavors that way.  Baking increases the depth the heat treatment penetrates into the wood, giving a more monolithic flavor profile.
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


AHA Life Member #33907

Offline hoser

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 755
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 07:28:38 PM »
I charred oak chunks on a propane grill.  They were slices from an oak 1x8.

Looking at oak available specifically for beverages, and then looking a oak available from the local lumber sales stores, the priceing difference is striking.  The big question is; has the lumber store oak been chemically treated?  I would certainly like to buy oak planks from the lumber store if they are safe for beverage use.

The degree of toasting, charring and the rest are all a function of what flavors you are looking for in your finished beverage.  From what I have read elsewhere, a propane soldering torch works quite well, burning the surface of the wood to the degree desired, while leaving the underlying wood unaffected.  More complexity of flavors that way.  Baking increases the depth the heat treatment penetrates into the wood, giving a more monolithic flavor profile.

This ^^^^^

I would be sure to make sure the oak is untreated if you are getting it from a lumberyard.

I approached this subject awhile back. I still am working my way thru the experiment, but my process (similar to what has been described thus far) is listed at the begining of the thread as well as a little bit farther down.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=7782.msg96804#msg96804

Hope this helps! Cheers!
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 06:16:42 AM by hoser »

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 12:08:51 AM »
The oak I got was a raw white oak board from a specialty lumber shop, not a big box place.  It was untreated.

I don't use it directly in beer, I soak it in liquor and then use the liquor itself.  it takes the guess work out of adding it.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline punatic

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4582
  • Puna District, Hawaii Island (UTC -10)
    • View Profile
Re: Charring oak cubes
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2012, 12:35:26 AM »
I soak it in liquor and then use the liquor itself. 

+1    ;)
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


AHA Life Member #33907