Author Topic: Oak chip usage  (Read 655 times)

Offline dilluh98

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Oak chip usage
« on: July 15, 2015, 01:29:55 PM »
I just brewed a mild on Sunday and I want to put half of it on oak – I have 2.5 oz of medium toast American oak on hand. Anybody with experience using oak chips have suggestions for usage? Amount? Time? Preparation? This would be 2.5 gallons worth. Looking for a relatively subtle effect considering we're talking about a 1.035 OG beer.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2015, 02:03:52 PM »
I use 2oz/5gal soaked in bourbon for my imperial stout. For a mild, I would go half for my first attempt.

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2015, 02:12:18 PM »
How long would you put them in for? Is it similar to dry hopping (3-7 days)?

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2015, 02:37:36 PM »
Everyone has different opinions about how long you should oak.  It seems that the longer you go, the more depth of flavor you will get.

That said, chips won't give a whole lot of depth in my experience, but you'll certainly get oak and tannins.  I would treat it like dry hopping and taste it after a few days.  Pull them when you think the flavor is right.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2015, 02:44:27 PM »
Exactly. I let my imperial stout go about a month, but I would follow Joe's advice

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2015, 02:49:05 PM »
Thanks!

Will proceed accordingly.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2015, 02:58:30 PM »
Everyone has different opinions about how long you should oak.  It seems that the longer you go, the more depth of flavor you will get.

That said, chips won't give a whole lot of depth in my experience, but you'll certainly get oak and tannins.  I would treat it like dry hopping and taste it after a few days.  Pull them when you think the flavor is right.

+2.  I add the chips to a paint strainer bag, into the keg, and pull the bag when the flavor is where I like.
Jon H.

Offline stpug

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2015, 04:41:32 PM »
Less is more when it comes to unused oak chips in beer, IMO. Decide on the amount you think it right, then half or quarter that amount to actually use. Decide on the amount of time you think it right, then half that length and start sampling.

If it were me, 2.5 gallons of a Mild ale, I would opt for no more than half ounce and only give it a few days before sampling. If you haven't reached your desired level of oak within a week then consider adding a small amount more (eighth or quarter ounce maybe).

Offline hobbitfu

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 04:51:49 PM »
I would say it depends on the strength of beer and how bold you want it. I added 2oz of medium toast oak chips to 5.5abv stout for 7 to 10 days and was noticeable but pleasant. I'm aging 3.5 oz of cubes in bourbon for a future batch of imperial stout. Will age that longer (cubes take more time and will impart more depth of flavour).

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2015, 05:58:26 PM »
If you haven't bought the chips yet I'd suggest opting for cubes. Just as easy to work with but you'll get better flavor extraction.

0.5 oz. is probably the right amount. If you are using chips I'd think about giving them a boil first to pull out some of the tannins so you're getting a more balanced oak profile. Give them a few days in the beer and start tasting daily. Pull them the day the beer tastes right.

Oak chips are intended to produce a fast oak flavor that tastes like oak right away. That's why you get a lot of surface and little interior wood. It's the taste from the surface of the wood. Cubes and other thicker oak products will produce a more complex oak character because with time you can draw out some of the untoasted compounds and oils within the wood. It takes time to draw them out and to integrate well within the beer. But if you're just looking for that sort of woody oak character and the char/toast flavor then chips might be fine for what you need.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Oak chip usage
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2015, 04:19:27 PM »
Thanks all. I have heard on several occasions that it's really easy to go overboard with oaking. This is probably particularly so with a low alcohol mild. I'm just looking for a hint of the char/toasted quality. I think I'll go with 0.5 oz of boiled chips for 3 days and see where it's at.