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Other than bourbon chips.....


Hello there,

Being my first post here I'll start out with an interesting one.  I have been brewing about 2 years now and in this time have acquired a position working for an alcohol distributor.  Thus, I began thinking more about soaking oak chips in spirits other than bourbon.  With that, I have a few questions:

1.  What is the best way to use chips to get an authentic barrel-aged feel?  I've been aging some oak chips in different liquors for a while now but do not want to just dump in liquor-soaked chips.  To me that seems like it's just the same as pouring in liquor and adding oak.  I was thinking of trying to dry them first, sterilize them somehow, and then add them.

2.  Has anyone tried using liquor other than bourbon?

3.  I was thinking of trying this in moderation with a belgian-style pale ale (as opposed to the traditional imperial stout that gets all the wood attention)...thoughts?


Hey, so thinking about things. Use beans not chips, much better.

1) The barrels used by brewers are typically sold "wet" so there's still a ton of spirit in the barrel and in the wood itself, so drying the chips/beans wouldn't be a fair replication of what's going on in the brewery.

2) Scotch, Rum and on hte non-spiritous side port, chardonnay and pinot noir. The spirits have all been aging for about 3 years. The wines are about 2.

3) Sure, but as with anything where you're going softer and subtler on your style, you'll need a much finer hand with your oak. I've done plenty of lower gravity beers with the oak and where you can usually pull a strong beer after a few weeks, you need to stay on it and check every few days since it's not a thick line between "interestingly oaky" and "I'm chewing on a 2x4"


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