Author Topic: Wee heavy and oak  (Read 1215 times)

Offline jamminbrew

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Wee heavy and oak
« on: March 02, 2013, 03:08:18 PM »
I am brewing a Scottish wee heavy tomorrow. I am kicking around the idea of soaking 2 oz of oak chips in single malt scotch and adding to this in secondary.
Two questions:
1. Has anyone else done something similar, and how did it come out?
2. Does adding the soaked oak chips put this into a different BJCP category?

I guess that's really 3 questions.
Thanks
Ben
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Wee heavy and oak
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 03:25:12 PM »
I have actually had a commercial oak aged wee heavy.  The oak was not overpowering, so I wouldn't leave it in too long.  The type of oak chips makes a difference.  American oak is very strong, Hungarian oak not quite as much and French oak even less.  Start with a week and give it a taste.  Check it at least once a week until you are happy with it.  It will change the judging category to 22C Wood aged beer if the oak is detectable.  I have oak aged an RIS before and you have to be careful or it can get pretty oaky.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Wee heavy and oak
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 05:24:29 PM »
I do exactly what you are proposing with porters and stouts.  I use bourbon, instead of scotch, and recently used rum.

If you can, put the chips into a bag when you add them to the beer and tie it off so you can pull it out.  Taste it every so often to see when you hit the oak level you want and then pull out the bag.

Alternatively, you could just add the scotch that has been oaked.  I typically add both the oaky bourbon and the chips.
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Wee heavy and oak
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2013, 05:46:32 PM »
Well, it's been one week in the fermenter. Checked the gravity. It went from 1.103 to 1.025. Still bubbling away. I think another week, and I'll rack it off and add the oak.
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Offline rjharper

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Re: Wee heavy and oak
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 09:03:39 AM »
My single malt oaked wee heavy just placed Gold in cat 22 at Drunk Monk, so it can be done. My wee heavy started at 1.100 but had finished rather sweet (but in style) at 1.040. The tannins, and scotch tamed it a little, and definitely added some depth.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Wee heavy and oak
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2013, 07:44:41 AM »
I have a hard time imagining the subtle flavors of a single malt scotch come through in a beer, especially a big beer, unless you're using something with a lot of smoky character. I think about the bottles of Macallan 12 and 18 I have and just don't see those flavors coming through as anything more than a dry whiskey flavor. If that's the case, it probably makes more sense to use a cheaper blended scotch or even a Canadian whiskey to get that drier whisky character. Just not sure it's worth the price of single malt scotch to upend the bottle into a beer.

I do agree that sometimes bourbon isn't the right kind of whiskey for a beer because it adds more sweetness and a scotch ale is one beer style that already has enough sweetness on its own. I have had bourbon barrel aged scotch ale and thought the barrel could have been better used elsewhere. I've had a rye barrel aged scotch ale and thought it worked well.
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Offline rjharper

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Re: Wee heavy and oak
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2013, 01:04:50 PM »
I have a hard time imagining the subtle flavors of a single malt scotch come through in a beer, especially a big beer, unless you're using something with a lot of smoky character. I think about the bottles of Macallan 12 and 18 I have and just don't see those flavors coming through as anything more than a dry whiskey flavor. If that's the case, it probably makes more sense to use a cheaper blended scotch or even a Canadian whiskey to get that drier whisky character. Just not sure it's worth the price of single malt scotch to upend the bottle into a beer.

I do agree that sometimes bourbon isn't the right kind of whiskey for a beer because it adds more sweetness and a scotch ale is one beer style that already has enough sweetness on its own. I have had bourbon barrel aged scotch ale and thought the barrel could have been better used elsewhere. I've had a rye barrel aged scotch ale and thought it worked well.

I hear you. I used a very peaty, but rather cheap malt that was kicking about the liquor cabinet. The brand is forgettable other than something I would never buy.  I also agree that bourbon is too sweet ( I think it's too sweet by itself!) to add to a strong, sweet beer.