Author Topic: Prepping oak spirals  (Read 1670 times)

Offline JT

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Prepping oak spirals
« on: August 06, 2015, 10:44:44 PM »
Looking for best practices here for oak spirals used in a secondary.  Does boiling make them lose potency?  Or more prone to extract harsh flavors? 
No bourbon/vodka soak solutions please.  Not looking for that in this beer. 

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2015, 10:52:26 PM »
I like to get medium toast and put it in the over at 400 degrees until I get the color I want. I like the vanilla character you get out of that dark of a toast. That's the best way to sanitize them too, if you are worried about that. I have also just thrown them straight in the fermentor with fine results (though I did get an infection doing that with chips once.)

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2015, 11:17:19 PM »
I've been looking into this too because its sour season for me. I'll end up with 4 batches, each getting a spiral. Im not sure what I'll do this first go around, probably just a quick soak in starsan. I might just give them 5 minutes in a steamer.

But I've been thinking of reusing my spirals the way sour brewers use barrels. Either I'll store them as is for a very breif time and let them help inoculate the next beer. Or I will rinse them off and store in a zip lock full of potassium metabisulfate and citric acid solution. Then rinse and use when I need them again.

Most likely the storage solution route...
« Last Edit: August 06, 2015, 11:34:08 PM by klickitat jim »

Offline JT

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2015, 11:39:20 PM »
I like to get medium toast and put it in the over at 400 degrees until I get the color I want. I like the vanilla character you get out of that dark of a toast. That's the best way to sanitize them too, if you are worried about that. I have also just thrown them straight in the fermentor with fine results (though I did get an infection doing that with chips once.)
I didn't think of the ole oven.  If they're already medium toast spirals, I'm assuming a bake at 250° or so wouldn't change that much? 

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Offline JT

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2015, 11:41:23 PM »
I've been looking into this too because its sour season for me. I'll end up with 4 batches, each getting a spiral. Im not sure what I'll do this first go around, probably just a quick soak in starsan. I might just give them 5 minutes in a steamer.

But I've been thinking of reusing my spirals the way sour brewers use barrels. Either I'll store them as is for a very breif time and let them help inoculate the next beer. Or I will rinse them off and store in a zip lock full of potassium metabisulfate and citric acid solution. Then rinse and use when I need them again.

Most likely the storage solution route...
I thought about reusing too, wonder how much oak character will actually be left after 4 months in a carboy of beer? 

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2015, 11:47:32 PM »
I like to get medium toast and put it in the over at 400 degrees until I get the color I want. I like the vanilla character you get out of that dark of a toast. That's the best way to sanitize them too, if you are worried about that. I have also just thrown them straight in the fermentor with fine results (though I did get an infection doing that with chips once.)
I didn't think of the ole oven.  If they're already medium toast spirals, I'm assuming a bake at 250° or so wouldn't change that much? 

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I would assume you would need at least 40 minutes at that temp, but I'm not sure exactly on the time for sanitizing, but I'm pretty confident that would work. Depends on what you want. Check this chart out though


Offline JT

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2015, 11:50:11 PM »
I like to get medium toast and put it in the over at 400 degrees until I get the color I want. I like the vanilla character you get out of that dark of a toast. That's the best way to sanitize them too, if you are worried about that. I have also just thrown them straight in the fermentor with fine results (though I did get an infection doing that with chips once.)
I didn't think of the ole oven.  If they're already medium toast spirals, I'm assuming a bake at 250° or so wouldn't change that much? 

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I would assume you would need at least 40 minutes at that temp, but I'm not sure exactly on the time for sanitizing, but I'm pretty confident that would work. Depends on what you want. Check this chart out though


Thanks, are there times that go with that chart or does it assume a constant time? 

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2015, 11:54:05 PM »
I go by smell, at 400 you will get some eye burning smoke so have some fans going. I have let it go as long as 2 hours before.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2015, 01:20:36 AM »
I've been looking into this too because its sour season for me. I'll end up with 4 batches, each getting a spiral. Im not sure what I'll do this first go around, probably just a quick soak in starsan. I might just give them 5 minutes in a steamer.

But I've been thinking of reusing my spirals the way sour brewers use barrels. Either I'll store them as is for a very breif time and let them help inoculate the next beer. Or I will rinse them off and store in a zip lock full of potassium metabisulfate and citric acid solution. Then rinse and use when I need them again.

Most likely the storage solution route...
I thought about reusing too, wonder how much oak character will actually be left after 4 months in a carboy of beer? 

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No idea, I guess it depends on what oak character we're talking about. Partly why I'm thinking of using it primarily as an inoculation source. Maybe oak tannin secondarily

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2015, 04:49:25 AM »
If the oak is going into sour beer then there's not much reason IMO to sanitize the wood. Whatever is growing on it will either die in the presence of alcohol or acidity or make a small contribution to the complexity of the beer. For a clean beer you should do something to try to reduce the population in and on the wood.

How you go about trying to sanitize or sterilize the wood depends in part on how much of the rougher oak character you want in the beer. Any liquid method is going to leach out some of the tannins and other compounds that will give you a more gentle oak flavor. That may or may not be your goal.
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Offline JT

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2015, 10:40:43 AM »
While there is Brett in this saison, sour is not the goal. 

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2015, 10:49:36 AM »
After about 4 months I don't think you will have much desireable character left in the wood. If you take a spire or cubes or chips and put them in a clear spirit you will notice that the spirit will darken very quickly for the first week or two then slowly darken more over time.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2015, 12:16:43 PM »
I wonder if oak aging Brett beers, sour or not, is a different think than oak aging regular beers. Perhaps some different long term outcomes are possible?

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2015, 11:54:27 AM »
For Brett I use a more neutral barrel generally and will go a lot longer. I do have a beer that I aged with a spire that is a brett and lacto/pedio beer that I aged in a carboy for years and it is less oaky that you would suspect so there may be something to that.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Prepping oak spirals
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2015, 12:04:42 PM »
For Brett I use a more neutral barrel generally and will go a lot longer. I do have a beer that I aged with a spire that is a brett and lacto/pedio beer that I aged in a carboy for years and it is less oaky that you would suspect so there may be something to that.
The way sour beer is booming I'll bet there's more info to come in the next few years. Me personally, im trying the spirals just to try it. I'm not wanting blam oak, actually I just barely expect a subtle intangible. At my scale im not going to bother with little barrels. I think that would be too much wood. And im not going to spend a week boiling up a full barrel just to do it... so that leaves spirals. I might try a batch timed at bottling day and use my spirals as the inoculation, just to see how it goes.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 12:11:12 PM by klickitat jim »