Author Topic: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes  (Read 3031 times)

Offline mblanks2

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Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« on: November 20, 2014, 10:19:17 AM »
I've seen a great deal of information on ageing with Oak cubes ranging from a couple weeks to a year. I'm brewing a 1.104 OG stout that I want to bulk age in secondary on medium toast French oak cubes. I will have a split 5.5 gallon batch with 1 ounce of cubes soaked in bourbon and 1 ounce soaked in Tawney Port.
Once the beer has been aged I plan to bottle, wax and condition for 6 months minimum. So how long should this sit on the oak?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2014, 11:14:56 AM »
It's all personal preference. You will need to taste from time to time see if it is where you like it or if it needs more time. I use chips and tend to go 4-6 weeks.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2014, 04:40:00 PM »
I think a year is crazy long.  I don't believe I've gone much past 10 days with chips, but cubes should take longer to impart the same oakiness.

Definitely you will want to start tasting samples after a week or so.  Package when you think it's where you want it to be.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2014, 06:59:54 PM »
I have good luck with oak spirals.  Not as easily attainable and perhaps more
surface area exposing itself to the liquid than cubes.   But to answer your question in the
thread title, I vote yes.  I had good luck with the medium toast spirals used in the
imperial bourbon barrel vanilla porter recipe from Denny.  Tho he is not big into the oak.
I put the spirals in a vac pack bag of the bourbon and let the bourbon marinate the oak
in that vac pack bag for a while.  Then I just add that heavily oaked liquid to the porter at secondary.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 03:03:14 AM »
I have one data point to draw from: I am drinking a Bourbon Barrel Porter now.  I soaked the cubes in Maker's 46 for a cpl weeks while the porter was in the Primary. Then, I added the bourbon and cubes to the secondary once I racked the beer. I left it for two weeks and packaged. It is outstanding IMHO.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 03:10:57 AM »
I have one data point to draw from: I am drinking a Bourbon Barrel Porter now.  I soaked the cubes in Maker's 46 for a cpl weeks while the porter was in the Primary. Then, I added the bourbon and cubes to the secondary once I racked the beer. I left it for two weeks and packaged. It is outstanding IMHO.

Sounds great!
Jon H.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 04:21:52 PM »
I have cubes sitting in mason jars with a number of different liquors that I leave aging until I need to use them. They are all about 1.5 years old. When I want to dose a batch (or even just a few bottles) I add some of the liquor to the beer and add some fresh liquor to the mason jars to keep it going. I haven't used any of them enough to need to add more oak yet. I usually prefer to add the liquor and let it meld into the beer for a month or two, partially to replicate the effects of time on barrel aging the beer.

One thing I have discovered through this process is that the oak going through changes in the liquor. There is a strange stage about two weeks in where the oak releases oils into the liquor and the texture is very unpleasant. The flavor also isn't particularly great during this phase. I think the cubes need at least a month or so to get past these early stages before they develop a more barrel-like smoothness.
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Offline Statsmats

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2014, 03:48:37 AM »
I've currently got a bourbon ale on secondary...soaked the cubes in a cup of Buffalo Trace for about two weeks (hope that was long enough based on others comments) before dumping the whole concoction into the secondary at racking time. Was considering a six month secondary (recommended on kit sheet) but now thinking I might like a taste for Christmas and would like to bottle mid-Dec, which would be about 2 months in the secondary.

My question is this: What will I change in flavor by bottling early and use bottle conditioning vs. more time in the secondary on the oak/bourbon?

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2014, 04:01:58 AM »
It's harder to extract more of the deeper oak flavors without more time. What is extracted by the time you bottle will continue to meld and integrate better even in the bottle.
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Offline Statsmats

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2014, 04:18:10 AM »
It's harder to extract more of the deeper oak flavors without more time. What is extracted by the time you bottle will continue to meld and integrate better even in the bottle.

Okay, that makes sense...what about the bourbon? I put about a cup in with the chips?

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2014, 02:48:47 PM »
It's harder to extract more of the deeper oak flavors without more time. What is extracted by the time you bottle will continue to meld and integrate better even in the bottle.

Okay, that makes sense...what about the bourbon? I put about a cup in with the chips?

If you put the bourbon into the beer, you don't need to extract the flavor from the chips.  The flavors will meld over time, though. 

One thing to consider is that the oak flavor from chips will be extracted more quickly than from cubes.
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Offline Statsmats

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2014, 07:27:13 AM »
Based on responses, I'm going to try the following: siphon 1/2 the brew from the secondary and bottle...then bottle the 2nd half in two months and compare the tastes...although I may have to perform this taste-test a few times to really get it right!  ;)

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2014, 12:00:34 PM »

Based on responses, I'm going to try the following: siphon 1/2 the brew from the secondary and bottle...then bottle the 2nd half in two months and compare the tastes...although I may have to perform this taste-test a few times to really get it right!  ;)

Now you're talkin. Better safe than sorry. You have to be sure with these things. ;)
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Offline David Lester

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2014, 05:45:43 PM »
I typically use one oak cube per gallon. Flash boil the cubes for 30 seconds (don't use the boiled water) and insert them into the beer, or use an acid based sterilizer. Pull the beer off the cubes based on taste, which can be 5 days to several weeks based on the beer. Keep in mind that the oak taste can be harsh at first and may need time to mellow. I typically count on 6-months.


Cheers,

Offline mblanks2

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Re: Whats the consensus on oak ageing with cubes
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2014, 12:26:22 PM »
My cubes have been soaking for 45 days in Bourbon now. I plan on racking on top of them in secondary then tasting after 4 weeks.